Saturday, October 12, 2013

Why I (Eventually) Decided to Buy X and Y

After a lot of thought, I decided to advance to the 6th generation and buy X and Y. This decision definitely took a long time, but why? In case you couldn't tell, I'm kind of obsessed with Pokémon. Then why would this be a hard decision to make?

From the beginning of this year, Pokémon revealed quite a bit of information leading up to the release. Most of X and Y's content was either a hit or miss for me. While I wasn't initially a fan of the legendary mascots, that didn't bother me. Besides, there are plenty of other Pokémon to catch. As more Pokémon were revealed, I started to get worried.

As the first Steel/Ghost type, Honedge was a huge disappointment for me. Its design lacked creativity. It's a floating sword that can unsheathe itself. Really? That's what qualifies as a Pokémon!? The worst part was that Game Freak thought the design was so good, Honedge deserved to be revealed before the game's launch. That's like using Muk to promote Red and Blue. You think anyone would have bought Red and Blue if their first impression was Muk? Many of the designs like Clauncher and Skrelp fell flat for me. I wasn't inspired by a good portion of the revealed Pokémon, which hasn't happened for me before.
From the people that brought you living sludge and floating ice cream cones...

They're changes in the battle system that I at first viewed as unwelcome. Horde battle is just outright stupid! Why would Game Freak even care about trainers who catch strong Pokémon to quickly advance through the game? So yeah, fighting five weak Pokémon instead of one strong one will force you to grind more. Talk about frustrating. Black and White reduced the amount of grind time you needed. Way to go backwards! I pretty much ran from any horde battle I encountered. And then there's Sky Battles where only Flying Pokémon can participate. What's the big deal? Is this mode so ground-breaking that you had to reveal it during E3? Granted, I haven't gotten this far in game, but the concept seems frivolous.

Great Psyduck, now you're giving ME a headache!

What have they done to you!?
Probably the would-be final straw was Mega Evolution. If you thought I was angry when I made my Mega Evolution post back in August, then you best prepare yourself for Primeape rage! Seriously, a part of me dies every time I find out about a new Mega Evolution. Half of them look like they went through the same horrific genetic splicing as Mewtwo. Apparently, Alakazam can heighten his skills with 5 spoons and Santa Claus' beard. Gardevoir can stand to lose a few pounds. And 10 points to anyone who can explain what the heck is going on with Heracross. The recent announcement that only one Mega Evolution is allowed on a team is a relief, but I still stand by that it's still as a gimmicky mechanic that makes the game needlessly complicated.

Obviously, I had a fair share of good reasons to buy these games. For one thing, while there are only 70 new Pokémon, some of the designs were spot on. I don't know why, but something about a cotton candy Pokémon seems so cool. Maybe it's the way Swirlix sticks his tongue out that makes it cute. I honestly can't wait to evolve it to Slurpuff. Maybe when they give it a Mega Evolution, it'll turn into the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Trevenant, Goomy and Pyroar are pretty cool to name a few. While I wish there were more, there were definitely some well designed Pokémon in the bunch. Just like any generation, it takes time to get used to the new Pokémon. 
It's so fluffy!...and quite possibly sticky.
When I first watched the opening cutscene, I knew that no previous Pokémon game could compare in respect to presentation. The 3D battles and animations puts X and Y ahead of even Colosseum and XD. My heart melted when I first encountered a 3D Pidgey in the wild. The towns are bustling with life and traveling from route to route is a seamless transition. X and Y overhauled the Pokémon battle cries. Pikachu literally says its name when it jumps out of the Pokéball! And of course, the music is amazing. Within the first few minutes, I was humming to Santalune City's tune! But I wouldn't expect anything less from Mr. Masuda, his work is phenomenal. Take a listen: 

The biggest push for me was that a good number of my friends planned on playing.  I apologize to those who had to listen to my endless complaints these past couple of months. It's been a humbling experience to listen to reasons why other trainers decided to buy the next installments, and I thank you for dealing with my stubbornness. I got caught up in all the battle mechanics and game changes that I lost sight of what Pokémon truly is. Pokémon is a shared experience with friends. No matter how competitive or casual you are, Pokémon is about connecting with people and having fun. So far, X and Y continues that shared experience the franchise is known for, and as long as it stays that way, it's worth the investment. Well done Game Freak. You got me in for another generation. 

Welcome back to the world of Pokémon!