Well, guys, welcome to another article in the series of Games You SHOULDN'T Buy! Based on comments addressed in the first two articles, a lot of you guys liked the idea but wanted to see more recent titles being discussed, which is a more than valid concern, as I just wanted to see how I could shape this series and bring it together. And so, up for discussion is Pokémon X and Y for the Nintendo 3DS. Why would I choose this title? Despite the critical acclaim the game has garnered from both the media and fans alike, the millions of sales that the title had earned, and the hype the games had generated, the title still falls short of actually moving forward the franchise and instead takes a few steps backward. So put away the pitchforks and torches, they're out of stock anyway at the local hardware stores. Let's jump into this animal, shall we? Pokémon X and Y are held dear to a lot of players' hearts. The title sold approximately four million in the first weekend if I recall correctly. The game had almost ten months to hype the players out, showing battles taking place with polygonal sprite models, with natural animations. The over world had fans crying for release. Everything about the title looked amazing. It finally looked like Game Freak was taking the game in the right direction. For the most part, the title actually did do some things right. Going in the right direction... For us readers here, who range from the casual player to the fiercely competitive, Pokémon X and Y catered to the majority of its player base. There were a number of mechanics that were streamlined to make the game more appealing. One of those mechanics was breeding and EV/IV training. In past titles, EV training was considered one of the most mundane jobs, involving the player chasing down thousands of the same creature to boost their creature's values to make them marginally competitive. This process could take dozens of hours for a single Pokémon, which resulted in a maxed out save file for the hardcore player. In Pokémon X and Y, with the introduction of the Super Training mechanic, EV training could be completed in minutes by playing mini games on the touch screen. There were items that were also useful for breeders to maximize the IVs a Pokémon had, which brought the process down to tedium, rather than luck. In addition, social play was an element that Pokémon X and Y emphasized on, which made the experience much more enjoyable. Social play always felt like a huge part of the franchise. The earliest games involved trading creatures with friends in order to have a sense of completeness with a collection. Now, with hundreds of creatures to collect, trading had become more streamlined, if not fun, with the addition of the Wonder Trade feature. There is a whole portion of the bottom screen dedicated to the Player Search System (PSS) feature. In the PSS interface, players could trade a critter and receive a random one in return, adding an element of community to an already community-related title. There were forums and sub-reddits dedicated to the trade of creatures, often left behind in the pursuit of a successful breeding session, to "pay it forward" to other players who may have been wanting to search for random creatures. I sometimes even saw legendary Pokémon in my trade sessions. Players could competitively battle anywhere and anytime without the need for the Pokémon centers, which was a huge step up. Visually, the games had stepped up from its predecessors, but that should be a given since it was the first title that appeared on the Nintendo 3DS, which had superior hardware to its DS predecessor. You'll be using this a lot here. It's actually a lot of fun here. Visually, the titles are the best in the franchise thus far. The overworld is three-dimensional, but not pop out three-dimensional with the 3DS effect enabled. Attention to detail was given to a lot of these environments. They felt natural and they belonged. The music of the game was also orchestrated for the first time (though some of these tunes are rather unremarkable, sad to say) which was a delight to some players, yet some tunes had been mixed in their reception, notably the Gym leader theme, which felt out of place in the title. Finally, player characterization in the title made the character unique and not some blank slate that had been provided in the previous titles. In Pokémon X and Y, customization was introduced to give characters a somewhat unique appearance. From the beginning, you were able to customize skin tones and early into the game, players were allowed to shop at boutiques to change up their wardrobe. I'm definitely going to say that I feel a bit of bias was given to the female character, who had a lot more stylish clothing than the male character. The male clothing was a bit distasteful for my standards, but that's a minor gripe in the long haul. It's a shame that males had very little hairstyle options... ...and then taking a few steps back - What makes these titles not a good purchase? These titles felt rather rushed. Personally, I would have appreciated it if Game Freak took a few more months of development as I felt these titles were rushed. Even though critics and fans hailed the titles as saviors and gave it critical acclaim, for me, it just didn't work out for me. First and foremost - the Pokémon themselves. The games introduced about 70 new critters to the franchise. The title was introduced on January 8, 2013, with a release of October 12th, 2013. In the ten months that the game had to develop, most of the critters were already introduced by the time the game had been released, through Nintendo Directs or by following the Coro Coro! magazines that released in Japan every month. When release day came around, most of them had already been shown, thus taking away the fun of really discovering what finding new critters in a new region was all about. A lot of the designs felt unoriginal, but even so, were much better than the Generation V counterparts. I also felt that Mega Evolutions, while they're a cool gimmick, took away from the evolutions that some Pokémon really needed. For example, Pinsir and Heracross. Competitively, the two are amazing to have, but they could have been given so much more in the form of a permanent evolution. And the idea of only Blaziken getting a Mega Evolution while Sceptile and Swampert are left in the dust really irks me. Hopefully with the release of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, that gets rectified. Furthermore, the difficulty felt reduced and much easier than previous generations. Difficulty is always hard to properly talk about in Pokémon titles. They're childrens' games, many say, but these felt a bit dumbed down, even with the Exp. Share item turned off. One stark example is the Elite Four of this generation, who each only held four Pokémon, and gym leaders, who restricted themselves to three Pokémon each. They felt stunted. The culmination of the training felt like a waste as I easily struck them down. Not to mention the Champion was a bit underwhelming, as I used to like struggling against the champion in a rather epic battle. This game, I was spamming the same moves on my Greninja non-stop and stopped the Champion in her tracks within minutes, without using items. And since we're talking about the Elite Four here, what happens after beating them? Way too easy this generation... Sadly, the answer to this question is not much, assuming we are talking about new content here. There could always be things to do: breeding, completing the Pokédex, competitive battle, but for new content, it felt stark and empty. The post game felt extremely lacking in this game. It's a fact that most Pokémon games that aren't based in the Johto region would have a relatively meager post game, but the 3DS titles felt empty for such a large region and file size. Legendaries were few and far in between to capture, with the mascot legendary, Mewtwo, Zygarde, and one bird that depends on the starter chosen. Also, usually the end game introduces a new city, island, or some other type of location to explore. X and Y introduce Kiloude City, a rather dull city with a dull Battle Tower and by far one of the weirdest Safari Zone variants of the series yet, which forces you to play and actively search for people to get Pokémon that can sometimes only be found here. The post game introduced a few randomly small side quests with Looker, but the story is a bit silly and anticlimactic, like the story itself. Don't make me force myself to play with friends! Pokémon titles always had a weak storyline. They're meant to be kid friendly and teach very basic lessons. But this one was very dull and just didn't do justice. The storyline turned into the world's ending from a crystal laser looking device that would go off unless the player stopped Team Flare. But hold on, I have to take a picture of myself in front of the doomsday device to complete my photo album. Selfie, anyone? Lysandre himself also felt like a flamboyant villain. He reminds me of Zhang He from Dynasty Warriors. He gets this cool backpack with cyborg arms coming out of it, but it doesn't even do anything. It was a terrible letdown. The story pace is also jarring, with several hours of space between the first two gyms, followed by a huge surge of gym leaders from there on. If this game needed to learn something, it was that consistency matters, which brings me to my next point: the 3D visuals being inconsistent most of the time. The 3D effect for the title was not fully enabled for many areas of the game. In battle, it caused frame rates to drop noticeably. In the over world, the 3D effect was only used in a few areas, like caves or notable locations in the Kalos region. When I played a title like Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, the 3D was there throughout. I also won't forget to mention that only one Pokémon of almost 800 got voice acting. Pikachu may be the series mascot, but come on, give the others a similar treatment. It felt unfinished, like a lot of the other side characters the game forces upon the player. Pokémon X and Y gives the player a few child friends to play with. They are quite possibly the worst written characters of the game, with almost no trace of ambition, save for the rival male/female counterpart of the player. Their plot lines felt shoehorned in, and it turns out by the end of the fun, they're out not doing much. I get that the series wanted to make the game social for the player, but including scenes of "dating" on a castle and watching fireworks was too mundane and kind of awkward when the butler gives the Technical Machine for Protect. Hurry up and get to the point already! Pokémon X and Y tried too hard to be something that catered to too many fans. It did things right with the visuals, social play, easier breeding process and character customization, but it was also too easy by a Pokémon game standard, and the aspect of adding social features to the game crept in and created forced relationships with players that had little significance to the overall plot of the game. That, combined with inconsistency in the visuals, lack of new Pokémon, a severe lack of post game content, and rather bland music made a title that brought forth the franchise a little bit but took some steps backward. Having said that, I will add Pokémon X and Y to the list of Games You SHOULDN'T Buy. If you wish to offer feedback/commentary, you are more than welcome to do so. Please keep the comments clean. If you wish to submit an article to this series, please feel free to send me a PM of your completed work. I will most likely perform some minor edits and have it ready for the portal. I do however reserve the right to deny any submissions.