Pokemon has been an "on again, off again" game for me. The only Pokemon games I got after the first 5 games released in the U.S. were the GBA remakes and the Nintendo DS remakes. After that, I just lost interest. Then I found out Gamefreak was going to make this game 3D, with actual models instead of just sprites. I was actually excited they were doing something different. I can easily say out of all the games, this one is the definitive way to play Pokemon.
As always, you start out in your hometown, and can pick from 3 Pokemon, (cough, pick the fire type, cough), and travel the Kalos region to raise it and catch more Pokemon. You also get access to choosing from the first 3 starters of the series (Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle). You have to defeat 8 gym leaders again and the Elite Four. Instead of Team Rocket/Plasma/Galactic, there is now Team Flare, basically Ginyu Force level villains as to how easily beatable they are.
Much has been changed, mostly for the better. Just like the Black and White series, Pokemon Centers have the Pokemarts within them and not in a separate building. Also, you can fight 3 on 3 now, which is awesome. The menu screen is now much improved and you can use all of the vitamins and items on your Pokemon extremely quickly. Another improvement is the save function. The save feature takes literally one second to save your entire game. They've introduced Pokemon-amie and Super Training; a couple of fun, addicting, game modes to train your Pokemon and is also a great way to increase a Pokemon's affection. Pokemon-amie is a way of interacting with each of your Pokemon. You can pet them, feed them Pokepuffs, and participate in mini games in order to increase its affection towards you, the trainer. What's great is that if you max out a Pokemon's affection, it has positive results in battle. With Super Training, you can increase your Pokemon's EVs (Effort Values), without having to buy expensive vitamins. It takes more time though to max out your EVs this way though. You can also make a lot of money in battles, so affording Pokeballs and other essential items will not really be a problem. What's even better is that upgraded Pokeballs, such as Great Balls and Ultra Balls, now have a random chance of catching a Pokemon without fail. They've added a feature in wild battles; if you catch a Pokemon, the ones you used in battle still get experience points (they finally got it right after 6 generations, yay). Also, catching legendaries is a little easier now, you don't need a status effect on them in order to capture them. They've introduced a new type of Pokemon, the Fairy type, to most likely balance out how broken the Dragon type is, which was way overdue. The AI has also been slightly tweaked, meaning trainer battles are a little more challenging. The one thing that has been completely perfected is the Trading System (TS). Now, no matter where you are, if your 3DS detects someone near you or around the world using the Player Search System, you can simply ask them to trade without having to go through the trouble of the two trainers having to find a Pokemon Center. What's even better with the TS is now you can trade Pokemon that are in the PC boxes and not just in your party. The painstaking task of exiting the TS and withdrawing Pokemon you want to trade is now a thing of the past, thank goodness. Finally, they've introduced hordes, meaning you can encounter 5 Pokemon at once in the wild, which is a nice touch.
However, even with all the positives, the game isn't without its share of problems. First and foremost, the frame rate. When so much stuff is on screen (mainly in hordes), the frame rate slows down a lot, and it takes the game up to 3 seconds to register for you to run away. Also when encountering hordes, you can't just catch any of the 5 Pokemon, you have to defeat 4 of them and leave one to catch, which unnecessarily drags out wild battles. What makes this concept worse is that sometimes in hordes there's 1 different Pokemon along with 4 of the same kind. The 4 sometimes attack the one that's different, and if you can't defeat the 4 identical Pokemon in time to get the different one before it faints, you're s**t out of luck. Next is the Friend Safari. Long story short, if you don't know a lot of people or have their friend codes, you won't really be able to catch many Pokemon there. Finally, the battle tests and battle towers. This helps you get Battle Points (BPs) to get items and other goodies. Once again, you can't use legendary Pokemon during these events, which sucks. But the real ball buster is that no matter how much you've trained all of your Pokemon, they get nerfed back down to level 50, which is incredibly stupid. I honestly don't see the point to why they keep making it like this. Why the game developers are extremely biased towards the CPU trainers in this part of the game I will never figure out. It's the CPU for crying out loud, it's not an actual person you're battling against. I can understand making level restrictions and forbidding legendaries as optional rules for battling against actual human players. But, completely banning them from participating against CPU trainers in these events, along with downgrading your Pokemon to level 50 is a dick move. Heck, Nintendo has promoted the legendaries on their game covers since Generation 3 and you can't even use them in certain events. NOT COOL!
Aside from its flaws, it is still a solid game worth owning for both experienced players and others that are just getting into the series. I'm giving it an 8 out of 10. Magikmike39 out.