Pokémon’s Sixth Generation marks the main series’ first foray into a fully 3D game — is this jump in perspectives handled as well as it should be?
By Liam Evans
Published Jun 07, 2021
Pokémon X & Y?were incredibly anticipated releases. Finally, fans would receive the mainline, fully 3D?Pokémon?RPG?they had dreamed of for years. Eventually released to the world in 2013,?X & Ywere initially well-received by most fans, yet?more negative responses to the games seem to have become more commonplace over the years.
With such a dramatic shift in perspective, the titles had much to prove. How exactly did these games handle the jump? And how does the sixth generation hold up today, far removed from the hype of its launch window in 2013?
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Pokémon X & Y?introduced the fewest new?Pokémon in the series with just 72 new additions. This small number of creatures makes sense and becomes much more forgivable when the context is considered. For one, X & Y?introduced the fan-favorite concept of Mega Evolution, which adds 28 additional forms for existing monsters, many of which would likely have been brand new evolutions if the mechanic of Mega Evolution did not exist. This brings the total to a respectable 100 additions.
The second key piece of context is that the jump to 3D necessitated creating brand new 3D models for?Pokémon, and unlike Sword & Shield,?X & Y?contains every creature that existed at the time of their release. 721?Pokémon exist in the game in total, each with a brand new model. This is a rather impressive feat considering the current state of the series. These new 3D models are rather flat and lifeless in many cases but were very impressive for the time and represented a good starting point for the series in 3D.
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Pokémon X & Y?are considered the easiest games in the franchise, and it’s not hard to see why. Many trainers in X & Y?don’t even use four moves on their monsters, and even elite four members neglect to use full teams of six or even the traditional five. The sixth generation marked a change in direction for the series, which it still struggles with today. While?Pokémon?was never the hardest game series in the world, previous entries offered some genuine challenge for players that was utterly lost with the jump to 3D.
The story of X & Y?is also pointed to as one of the weakest in the series. The evil Team Flare is entirely undeveloped, and the main antagonist Lysandre is a?weaker repeat of the fourth generation’s Cyrus, a character that was already without much intrigue or depth. The addition of the Mega Evolutions plays a minor role in the story and ultimately serves as a fun new mechanic. Mega Evolution is one of generation six’s strongest aspects, showing some much-needed love to many often overlooked?Pokémon (and, of course, Charizard.)
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One of X & Y’s?most glaring weaknesses is its post-game or lack thereof. Barring the rather barebones Battle Maison (A revamped version of the original Battle Tower) that does indeed offer some enjoyment on an initial playthrough, the games offer nothing to players who wish to continue journeying with their team outside of shiny hunting and PvP battles. Fans had hoped this lack of post-game would be remedied by the sixth generation remakes, Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire,?given that the third generation introduced the beloved Battle Frontier.?However, this proved to be untrue, and the game contained the same Battle Maison as X & Y?and a small model of the Battle Frontier. This is yet another example of Game Freak’s shift in design philosophy for generation six, opting to exclude fan-favorite content that not every player would use instead of filling the games to the brim with things to do, as in HeartGold & SoulSilver.
Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire are competent enough games. On the whole, they feature more difficulty than X & Y?simply by nature of being remakes of the third generation games. The remakes included 20 brand new Mega Evolutions, including ones for Hoenn’s most popular monsters, such as Rayquaza. Outside of quality of life updates such as the now-standard physical and special split and Mega Evolution, there is little reason to play Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire?over Emerald?today.
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Overall, the sixth generation handled the jump to 3D rather well. The creation of over 700 brand-new models for games running on new hardware for the studio can’t have been simple, yet the resulting games are entirely serviceable. Many of the issues that began with X & Y?have?only grown over the years and have retroactively made the sixth generation a less enjoyable experience for some players. The rather lifeless models, lack of challenge and absence of post-game could all be somewhat justified at the time due to the leap the series was taking in regards to technology, and fans assumed they would be fixed in future releases.
Examining the games as fans did at the time, they are certainly rather impressive. Some fans champion X & Y?as the best 3D entries in the series, and, given future releases from Game Freak, there is certainly an argument to be had there. Despite its shortcomings, players can certainly have fun with the sixth generation of?Pokémon.
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About The Author
(85 Articles Published)
Freelance gaming writer for CBR. Passionate about pop-culture in all its forms, with an emphasis on comics, television, film and, of course, gaming.
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