Pokemon is one of those franchises that is consistently excellent! The games always deliver with a ton of content and it’s just a lot of fun. One can always debate which series handles the turn based combat the best, Pokemon or Final Fantasy. I personally tend to think that Pokemon has it perfected, but it’s a close battle. This is the kind of game where grinding is fun and trying to catch em all feels like a real accomplishment. Especially since the game has hundreds upon hundreds of Pokemon to capture. I’m still waiting for the game that has every single Pokemon in it. Ideally that’s what will happen for the upcoming Switch game.
The game follows a kid named Terry who is determined to be the very best trainer that there ever was. He is so good that he gets two starters. Naturally I went with both fire starters to kick things off since you really can’t go wrong there. If you weren’t afraid of fire before then you soon will be! Of course it does make the team a little less balanced, but that’s just how it has to be sometimes. Rounding out the team that ended up beating the Elite 4 was Yveltal, Steelix, Pelipper, and Lucario. (The two fire starters were Charizard and Delphox) A pretty solid lineup I’d say and one that works wonders.
You have a childhood friend who also wants to be the best and she has plenty of fights with you as the game goes on. You can’t help but feel bad for her as she tries everything but simply can’t catch up to Terry. Surprisingly she isn’t even the champion at the end as a different character gets that role this time. I think a good way of subverting the trope in this game would have been for Terry to sit down after beating the Elite Four when she walks in and challenges him. Sort of the reverse of the original Pokemon games. Then the credits roll and after that it is heavily implied that you lost but vow to challenge her again someday. Still, whether she won or not the main heroine was pretty solid. Probably one of the better ones from the games and maybe even The best. I was glad that she was always eager to fight.
The main plot involves Team Flare who are trying to destroy the world. They plan to use a machine to wipe out all of the Pokemon and over 99% of humanity. Terry quickly shows up to stop them but the villain organization is massive so this task won’t be as easy as it sounds. I think the villain plot got a little less screen time than in some of the other games, but it was enough to be satisfying I suppose. Lysandre makes for a good main villain. His final form was super cool and naturally his theme music was really good as well. Ultimately the group may not have been much of a threat to Terry but then again who is?
One area where this game really excelled is in the music. It may not be a stretch to say that this game has the best soundtrack in all of Pokemon and that’s saying something since all of the games are already so good. In particular, I enjoyed the main Gym Leader theme and the one that plays when you fight the successor in the Lucario battle. Most of the battle themes were quite solid though. Til now the best soundtrack would probably go to Omega Ruby but I have to give this one the edge even though Omega has the single best track in all of Pokemon.
The graphics are really nice as well. I haven’t played a Pokemon game since Diamond so the series has certainly come quite a long way since then. Soon I’ll be playing Pokemon Sun so we’ll see if that game steps it up even more. The characters are 3D animated now instead of sprites, but it’s in a style that should still feel familiar for long time fans. It’s all very easy to look at. From a gameplay perspective the game also shines here as you won’t get lost very easily since the towns all look rather distinct. The map is really helpful with how detailed it is and your normal walking speed is quite fast. There really aren’t any inconveniences to be found here which is great.
Going back to the gameplay, it’s already been perfected so there’s not much more that this game needed to do. It brings you the classic type system as launching attacks that have a superior element to the opposing Pokemon will result in massive damage. Meanwhile you can now Mega Evolve which was a big feature for this game. I wouldn’t say that it seems to affect your stats all that much, but it does come attached with a really cool visual that makes the game that much more hype. The gameplay is fast and you are even able to turn off the attack animations to streamline the process even further. I definitely don’t see how they can improve on the gameplay even more, it’s just so good. Sometimes the simpler battle styles end up being the way to go. Make no mistake though, while it’s easy to play it’s hard to master.
The Elite Four also do seem to be quite a few pegs above the Gym Leaders which is good. In the final battle they got me down to my final Pokemon and he was nearly out. Steelix had to handle 4 opponents all by himself and that’s considering that my whole team was stronger than the champion’s by a range of 5-10 per Pokemon. These Pokemon were no joke and yet the Champion was able to one shot a few of them. I also did like how we got a bonus fight at the very end of the game right when you think the credits are about to roll. This game did a nice job of throwing in surprise fights around every corner. Of course, I wonder what would have happened if you lost to that guy. I feel like it’s unlikely since he is a little weaker than the Champion and only has 3 Pokemon so it’s a fight that you are definitely meant to win.
The base game should take you around 30 hours. That’s already a really sizable chunk of time and after that you’ve got a ton of bonus content to get through. Catching Mewtwo and Zygarde will likely be your first steps, but then what? Well, you can go after the 3 Birds, head to the Battle Tower, and catch the 200+ Pokemon that are still out there. It’s the game that keeps on giving so if you end up trying to do it all then it’ll likely take at least 50 hours or maybe more. It’s easy to see why I spent about 100 hours on most of the Pokemon games back in the day. These really feel like AAA titles.
I’ve been going on and on about how great the game is, but that’s because there really isn’t anything wrong with it at all. The game is pretty much as perfect as you can get. I also did like the EXP system in place here where everyone in your party gets some. It’s a great addition to the game, especially since you will want a strong party of 6 by the end. This prevents you from just powering up the top 2 for a while and then having to power the others up later. You can turn it off at any time as well so it’s not like it ever forces you to use it.
Overall, Pokemon Y is an excellent game. I think I would probably say that it is the 3rd best Pokemon RPG game behind Pokemon Ruby and Pokemon Fire Red. I’d put it above Pokemon Diamond as well as the various spinoff games and big console versions. I’d highly recommend checking it out whether you are a Pokemon veteran or a newcomer to the franchise. Just be warned that once you start the game up you won’t be able to bring yourself to leave it very easily. It’s a real page turner from start to finish.