The release of Pokémon X and Y is upon us and I managed to get a sneak peak at the game before launch. Unfortunately it was a demo build so I couldn’t get a look at the early story; instead I got a chance to try out a few features, including Mega Evolutions.
The biggest change to the series is of course the upgrade in graphics from 2D to full 3D. It’s hard to understand how much this simple change affects the game until you try it for yourself. Immediately seeing the protagonist and the other characters as 3D models, along with the high grass and looming Pokémon Lab in the distance, is rather strange for a moment. Once you adjust, the graphics feel more natural and you realize that the art direction and bright colors still betray the inner spirit of the series.
Moving along, when you encounter a wild Pokémon in the grass, that Pokémon appears briefly on your screen in full 3D glory (in my case it was the adorable Pikachu). The trainer also gets his own 3D animation while sending out his Pokémon to battle. Battles themselves follow the same Rock-Paper-Scissors format of previous iterations, which is definitely not a bad thing for fans. The top screen shows the battle in full while the bottom has all the commands to choose from.
Trainer battles run on a similar vein and each trainer gets their own 3D animated eye-catch as well. Naturally when the protagonist wins, (s)he gets a victory animation while the opposing trainer animates in defeat.
Finally, we get to the Mega Evolutions. This type of evolution is not permanent, unlike normal evolutions in the Pokémon series. In order to have access to Mega Evolutions, the trainer must be outfitted with a special bracelet called the Mega Ring (that looks strangely like transformation bracelets in Sentai shows), and you must have the Pokémon’s corresponding Mega Stone, which is named after them.
With these two components, your Pokémon can now Mega Evolve. I got to try out a sweet Mewtwo in a battle against Professor Sycamore. The process of activating Mega Evolution is very simple. When the conditions are met, an emblem at the bottom of the moveset screen appears, which is labeled Mega Evolution. Hit that button and then choose an attack.
The Pokémon will transform in a very brief sequence and lo and behold, we now have a Mega Pokémon. It was a very simple mechanic and I personally can’t wait to see how it’s used in competitive battling.
As a note, I actually tried out the 3D effect for the game, and even though I’m normally very sensitive to the effects, it didn’t bother my eyes at all. The 3D itself looked very natural on the game and gave it a very cool sense of depth that made battles even more exciting.
To end it on a light-heartened note, riding Pokémon in the game is quite simple and very fun. The drawback I had was the fact that I couldn’t run up a small flight of stairs while mounted for some reason. That’s a very odd limitation to have, especially since it greatly restricts where the Pokémon could go in the field. Hopefully that issue will be remedied by the release.
Pokémon X and Y will be launching globally on October 12th for Nintendo 3DS. You can check out all our news here.