Monday, November 11, 2013

Pokemon XY and Call of Duty: Ghosts... Because that totally goes together.

To catch up on what I've been playing recently, I'm going to do mini-reviews of Pokemon X(Y) and Call of Duty: Ghosts, both of which I was able to pick up on their launch days.


I liked the bird better so got Y...

Pokemon XY is the best Pokemon game I've played since the originals. The pacing is similar, the new amount of Pokemon is limited and actually feels interesting to find them (only a touch over 60 added, as opposed to hundreds), and the game has added a few things since the last gen.
Kirlia vs newcomer Fennekin

The new graphics are solid. I'm happy getting away from the 8-bit feel and adding some 3D. Every Pokemon and every move have personal animations, which I think is something we've been missing for ages and it is a HUGE addition for me, even if the overall battle system remains the same. I'd love for some other new RPGs using old school battle formats to follow suit (I'm looking at you, Shin Megami Tensei!).

The one change they did include for battling is Mega Evolutions. Instead of a permanent change, these are boosts you can use in battle that evolve your monster temporarily. As of now, it's a bit of a shallow system, but there is a lot of potential here. Charizard and Mewtwo in particular got two different options with the Mega Evolutions based on which version you got. The Y stones act mostly as stat increases, while the X stones actually add new types to the Pokemon (Charizard gains Dragon and Mewtwo gains Figthing). The more stones for a given 'mon, the more options. Instead of everyone rocking the final evolutions in battle, we could potentially see the same Pokemon with a VERY different setup. I'm not sure if that's how far they'll go, but for now I'm just happy to see some of my favorite Pokemon getting some new (mostly awesome) looks.
Mega Charizard Y and X.
Mega Mewtwo Y. X looks... stupid.

I honestly felt like I was playing Red again with the pacing of the game and the light touches of an antagonist group (even lighter than the originals, to be honest). There are enough minor changes (Friend Safari, continuous fishing, etc...) to make even the most veteran players happy, especially since the core game doesn't change at all (critics can be hit or miss on this one, I suppose).

The ONE area the game falls short is the post game. It has one series of side missions, access to two more legendary pokemon, and then... well... that's it. Other games allowed you to visit other continents and challenge more gyms. XY just kind of ends. I'm not really one for competitive multiplayer, so my game is kind of languishing. I have several friends who picked up the game, so I'll still get some mileage, but I'm really hoping they change their minds and throw some DLC our way...

Either way, fantastic game. 9/10.


CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS (Multiplayer)

Similar to Pokemon, CoD is known for using slight tweaks to their games to push a new edition regularly. While I'm enjoying Ghosts enough, this is the first time it feels especially forced. There are new maps, weapons, and kill streaks, but none of them FEEL new. I don't normally play campaigns for these games, so I can't say if they knocked it out of the park there, but the multiplayer is already beginning to feel stale.

I've read plenty of complaints about quicker deaths and disguised lag, but none of that has been a particular issue for me. The game is fun enough, better when playing with friends, but the game's aesthetic doesn't feel new (they went with a half-assed post-apocalyptic-ish thing that... well, doesn't seem different at all) and there is not a single reason I would suggest someone pick up Ghosts vs the last CoD (which at least had futuristic elements added -- there are none in Ghosts).
They DID add a partner-dog, I guess.

I don't know if next Gen holds any surprises for the title... I doubt it. I kind of wish the Battlefield 4 Beta hadn't turned me off so much from that game, I feel as if I'd have gotten more enjoyment out of it than I have with Ghosts.

If I'm able to get a PS4 around launch (unlikely), I'll update this mini-review. Until then, this gets a 6/10.



On a minor side not, my local GameStop had a PS4 set up. The console looks nice enough, but I was mostly worried about the controller -- I'm NOT a fan of the Playstation family controllers and honestly feel like the 360 is probably the most ergonomic design we've seen (argue with me if you must). That being said, I REALLY enjoyed the feel of the PS4 controller. The touch pad... well, it's in a bit of an awkward spot due to the fact that I'd have to remove one of my hands from their primary positions to get any use of it, so I'm hoping it's not a big game changer. The share and options buttons were also placed in a spot I didn't enjoy, but the primary play buttons worked well enough. I went through some of the demo for Knack -- not my style of game, but I got comfortable with the controller very quickly. I didn't feel Knack looked any different from a current Gen game, but maybe that's just me.

I'm talking to my local GameStop about letting an extra PS4 fall off the truck, but I don't think they're going to support my poor planning. Also, I kind of need to find a way to PAY for it...

More on that and Thor: The Dark World as we get through the week.


  1. Having an extra Ps4 fall off the truck sounds like a great idea to me! I've been a fan of the Pokemon games since they first hit US shelves, but Pokemon XY is the first time I haven't gotten the newest release within a few days of its release (due to not having a 3DS). The best since Pokemon red? I did really like Pokemon White/Black and it was my favorite since Silver/Gold/Crystal. I have a couple of friends who've raved about the new games (who've never been into the games) and I was excited by the new improvements added and the fact you got one of the original starters from the get go. I'm planning to get a 3ds this weekend and I'm debating between Pokemon X and Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Decisions, decisions.

    1. The only comment I have that might (possibly) push you towards Animal Crossing is that Pokemon has no real post game and, therefore, suffers dramatically in the replay-ability.

      However, if you really enjoy pokemon, I STRONGLY suggest getting X or Y. The pacing reminded me of Red and Blue (which have always been my favorites, though I enjoyed Black and White [but hated Black 2 and White 2], AND you also get a mega stone for your gen 1 starter, meaning they'll be one of the first in-game transformations you see).

      And the PS4 didn't so much as fall off a truck as much as come from waiting in line at Wal-Mart the morning after the midnight release and getting lucky, but I'll take it. Or, in fact, took it.