1 – Pokemon X & Y (Nintendo 3DS)
The main series Pokemon games made their grand debut into full and vibrant 3D with Pokemon X and Y. With 3D came new mechanics in spades: mega evolution, 70 new Pokemon, trainer customization, the Fairy type, PokemonAmie, Super Training, and more. Coupled with a gorgeous soundtrack, more online connectivity than ever, and (at last) the ability to “Catch em all!” without having local access to friends with every other version of the game, Pokemon X and Y shone not only as new installments, but as true revitalization of a franchise growing stale. They appropriately combined nostalgia with an all-inclusive spirit that welcomed both veterans and newcomers alike.
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DLC in the form of exclusive Pokemon and items became easier to obtain than ever before, no longer requiring players to be near a certain store chain to participate. They told a story simple on the surface, but with hidden depth that would be furthered in future titles. And they brought families and friends together who had once sat across from one another trading Pokemon via link cable, now able to connect from miles away. It’s only down point is its rather weak antagonists. Given the fluffy nature of Pokemon games in general, this is easily overlooked, especially in light of characters like AZ.
Ultimately, X & Y (and ORAS with it) mark a dramatic shift in direction for the series, both in plot overtones and gameplay styles. The key will be continuing to move forward, as X/Y did so brilliantly, rather than stagnating in the way the titles around 4th and 5th gen did. X/Y’s appeal both to die-hard fans and newcomers alike shows that Game Freak knows their audience well; they strike an appropriate balance of goofy, light-hearted memes and “power of friendship” themes, and depth. X and Y restored my hope for the series. Wherever the next installment takes its trainers, a world of dreams and adventures with Pokemon is sure to await.