The long awaited release of Pokemon X and Y for Nintendo 3DS on Sunday, October 12th will mark some interesting milestones in the now 15+ year old franchise. For the first time in the series, X and Y will be the first Pokemon titles simultaneously released in Japan, Europe and North America. For the first time, fans worldwide will be able to experience all of the new landscapes, new characters and (most importantly) the new Pokemon together, instead of months apart.
The game has been completely revamped, both from a visual and gameplay perspective. For the first time for all of the portable games, the graphics have been redone completely from top to bottom. While graphics have cleaned up a fair bit over the years, much of what you've seen has been pretty similar over the years, evolved for whichever system it was on. X and Y takes a different approach. You instead experience the gameplay you've become used to, but graphics and presentation (especially in battle) look a bit like what you've come to expect out of the Pokemon cartoon series. You finally see your Pokemon physically doing their moves in-battle, and you watch more dramatic sequences when attempting to capture wild ones. You can even customize the way your Pokemon looks through outfits and accessories scattered throughout the entire game.
With this being a new generation of the series, Pokemon X and Y also introduces new Pokemon - 30 in all. Your starter Pokemon are Chespin (Grass-Type Pokemon,) Fennekin (Fire-Type Pokemon) and Fraokie (Water-Type Pokemon.) The game's cover mascots are the two new Legendary Pokemon, the Fairy-Type Xerneas (the X) and Dark Flying Yveltal (the Y.) Xerneas is a bit of a key here, as Fairy is a new "type" to the series. Some previous Pokemon, such as Marill and Jigglypuff have also been retconned into the Fairy grouping, meaning you can look at an all new plan of attack for (as well as defense against) them. As with the previous games in the series, certain new Pokemon can only be obtained in either title, meaning you'll have to buy both (or make friends with someone who has the one you don't) to trade back and forth to fill up your Pokedex. Nintendo has been slowly releasing details about the 30 new Pokemon, but everything is still yet unknown. Details about some evolved forms, and some pre-evolved forms exist, but you'll probably have to follow along with Nintendo's updates until release for more information.
The base premise of Pokemon X and Y is the same as with the other games. You are an aspiring Pokemon trainer who sets out to become the world's best trainer. Doing so will require you to capture eight gym badges, as well as defeat the Elite Four and fend off an evil alliance (Team Flare in this game) while trying to build your ultimate team of Pokemon.
However, new to the experience are a few additions. Pokemon-Amie is a bit reminiscent of Tamagotchi-style gameplay. You can interact with and feed your Pokemon to help strength its bond with you, thereby increasing its performance in battle. Doing so does everybody from increase its capability for critical hits, as well as increasing resistance to effects in-battle.
Sky Battles are also introduced for the first time, along for mid-air fights between Flying Pokemon. Much like Animal Crossing, you can blindly streetpass fellow Pokemon gamers, and if you participate in the Wonder Trade system, you can silently trade Pokemon with fellow opt-ins.
Lastly, and most important for battle, Mega Pokemon is introduced for the first time. You can evolve some of your old favorites like Charizard, Mewtwo and Blastoise into a huge form if you have and are holding the right items, and you can battle with them like never before. Picture an 8 foot tall Bulbasaur on your side and think of the possibilities.
If you're a fan of collecting Pokemon in general, you can do so like never before too. You'll have to wait until closer to the New Year, but Nintendo will be introducing a Cloud Storage service called Pokemon Bank, where you can deposit up to 3000 of them for a small annual fee. It's not 100% clear how much it will cost outside of Japan, but if their regional pricing (around $5 US) is any indication, it won't be that expensive.
It truly will be a release of Mega proportion when Pokemon X and Y comes with Best Buy and BestBuy.ca for launch on October 12th. You can pre-order copies your now, and don't forget that the Nintendo 2DS also releases the same day. If you can't wait to get your hands on something related to Pokemon X or Y, there will be new specially branded Nintendo 3DS XL consoles available September 27th, and don't forget your strategy guide! Links to all are below.