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Pokemon franchise offers big changes

Laurel Delany, ‘Doah Contributing Writer
November 20, 2013

’DOAH PHOTO COURTESY OF POKEMONXY.COM Unlike previous games, ‘Pokemon X’ and ‘Y’ offer a new visual style as well as a number of other difference which give fans of the series a refreshing change.

’DOAH PHOTO COURTESY OF POKEMONXY.COM
Unlike previous games, ‘Pokemon X’ and ‘Y’ offer a new visual style as well as a number of other difference which give fans of the series a refreshing change.

“Pokémon Y” is the first Pokémon game I have played in the franchise since “Pokémon Silver.” There are 12 installments in the Pokémon handheld canon, leaving me about eight games behind. But the latest installments, “X” and “Y,” have overhauled the design so significantly that I decided it would be worth checking out.

I stopped playing the games because I found them repetitive and virtually interchangeable aside the addition of new Pokémon. “X” and “Y” have broken my 14 year vacation from the franchise with the introduction of completely rendered polygonal 3D graphics.

While I adhere to the philosophy that the graphics don’t make the game, the refreshing visuals in “X” and “Y” have breathed new life into the franchise and given it the rebirth it desperately needed. “Pokémon X” and “Y” still play like any other installment of the franchise, but the greatly improved graphics, adorable and addictive mini-games and integration of the Nintendo 3DS’ features easily make it one of the best– if not the best– game in the handheld canon. It used to be a nightmare to try to play co-op with friends on Pokémon. But the 3DS’ StreetPass, FriendPass and Wi-Fi capability connects you to friends instantaneously and saves the player tons of frustration.

Even though “X” and “Y” are the 12th installment of the series, newcomers to Pokémon could play them without having to play any catch up. Every handheld Pokémon game has virtually the same difficulty curve and objective; the player collects badges by defeating Pokémon Gym Leaders and tries to catch all the different types of Pokémon. “X” and “Y” take that beloved but repetitive structure of the past games and marries it with updated graphics that excuse the need for any innovation when it comes to the game play.

Games like “Pokémon,” “Harvest Moon,” “Grand Theft Auto” and “Assassin’s Creed” are defined by their distinctive styles, but are often criticized for producing the same game over and over again with updated graphics. But all of these games have developed cult followings that insist that the game play is perfect, and all the developers need to do is slap a fresh coat of paint on the same game and they would still buy it. “Pokémon X” and “Y” satisfy veterans of the series while drawing in new fans and disgruntled former fans with a brilliant overhaul of the visuals.

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