Pokemon X & Y: New yet disappointing features?

PokemonXYWebsitePokemon X and Y popped onto the scene only a few weeks ago and it seems like everyone and their mothers have bought the latest generation of the classic series.

I was five when I got my first video game. There it was, a red cardboard and wax box with a picture of what I would learn was a Charizard, with the bright yellow word POKEMON printed across the top. I was ecstatic and continued to be through the better part of a decade. The first three generations were a large part of my childhood. America had a blooming Pokemon society at the time. Children and adults alike would spend hours lost in the pixelated wonderlands of Kanto, Johto and Hoenn.

We all wanted to be the very best, like no one ever was.  To catch them was our real test, to train them was our cause.

Though it was budget-crushing to a 12-year old boy, I had no quarrels with the cost of the third game, even when I included the necessary system upgrade that came with the first appearance of the Game Boy Advance in the Pokemon world. It was totally worth it in every regard, all the gratification from earlier gens rushing up to me.

I skipped the first three DS generations. The DS was too expensive, and from what constrained experience I had,they felt extraordinarily similar in every way except art that degraded more with every generation as original artists retired from the projects.

It started two decades ago. Now it’s 2013 and I can’t go a day without seeing someone walking down the street with their 3DS playing X or Y. Yes, for some reason colors weren’t good enough to title this generation. I haven’t heard this much about the games since the very first gen released in America and I was intrigued. Not enough to buy the expensive system and game, but enough to borrow my roommate’s copy regularly. My verdict? How did we come to this?

Before I complain, let me say the Mega Evolutions are really cool.

Some of the new features are fantastic. The idea of horde battles is stupendous but sadly seems to fall short in implementation. Thank you, but I prefer not to have to fight five hoppips every 10 steps. And why aren’t there more five-on-five trainer battles? The story itself is actually quite immersive compared to previous generations and events take on a cinematic effect with the impressive imagery of the newest Nintendo handheld. But in every way, it does not feel like Pokemon to me.

The world is stunningly more rounded with the advent of new technologies, though I still say there’s something to good old pixel art. The Pokemon for the new generation just do not look like Pokemon. The artists who started this game off right have all fallen off the map and since have been largely replaced with people who have no legacy whatsoever with the previous versions. They’ve lost the cute-and-casualness of the older pokemon and adopted this I’m-the-edgiest tough-guy artistic style.

Maybe it’s the rose-tinted glasses I’m wearing right now, but as cool as this game is, I don’t intend on buying it until I find it in bargain bins at Goodwill in 50 years.