PAX Prime 2013: Pokemon X and Y Impressions

Lowell Bell spends some hands-on time with Pokemon X and Y.

by on 3rd Sep, 2013

Pokémon X and Y promise to be the most significant change the Pokémon games have ever seen, and this has many fans more excited than they have been since the glory days of Gold and Silver in 1999. As a Pokémon fan from the beginning, I've held my own judgement until I could get hands on. I wasn't sure about the transition into 3D―I like sprites a lot―and the remodel of the battle system, so I put aside a significant amount of time to play through the X and Y demo at PAX Prime 2013 to address my concerns. To make a long story short, X and Y warrant getting excited about.

But you're (probably) not here for the short version. The demo opens in an enclosed space full of Pokémon running about, characters to talk to, and a Skiddo to ride. Before I began battling, I tested out the three-dimensional movement. For the first time, X and Y allows players to move diagonally. Like the other games, the D-pad allows you to run about the map, but the circle pad allows you to use roller blades which speed things up a bit. Riding Skiddo speeds things up much more, so it seems there won't be a lot of wasted time getting around in Pokémon X and Y.

I was greeted by a Pikachu when I stepped into the long grass, whom greeted me with a “pika pika!” reminiscent of the television shows. This might be a bit concerning to those who appreciate consistency  because it appears other Pokémon do not say their own names, but rather maintain the franchise's ambiguous creature noises. 

Watching the preview videos of X and Y made me nervous that the game's battles would look barren, but I found that not to be the case. Pokémon looks better than it ever has; however, it's the different camera angles and dramatic cuts during each fight which work the real wonders. It's hard to explain, but the reality of holding the game in my hands on a 3DS rather than seeing it in preview trailers convinced me 3D is the future for Pokémon and there's no need to ever go back.

The demo allotted me seven minutes to mess around in the small playground full of trainers and grass to battle Pokémon in. I fought a trainer with a Gabite and used Slyveon, the next Eevee evolution, to take him down with the brand new fairy type moves. I also faught Shauna, an excitable pigtailed girl wearing a hot-pink shirt and one of the player character's friends/rivals in the game, and caught two adorable new Pokémon called Bunnelby and Dedenne.

To close out the demo, the flamboyant Professor Sycamore gave my character a level 100 Mewtwo and challenged me to a battle. Mewtwo came with one of the new mega stones and transformed into Mega Mewtwo. The point of this part of the demo was to showcase how powerful Mega Pokémon are, and it's safe to say they're powerful. I took down Sycamore's level 100 Crobat, Chandelure, and Dragonite with ease, and I'm a bit concerned if this might make Pokémon more unbalanced than it already is.

The X and Y demo eased some of this Pokémon fan's fears, and I can't wait until its release in October. If Nintendo and Gamefreak can implement some more new features as well as they have made the transition into 3D, X and Y might just mark a new beginning and much needed revitalization for the  Pokémon franchise.

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