3. Pokémon X and Y (Generation Six)
Its pretty remarkable that three games are ahead of Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum on this list when I didn’t speak poorly of generation four at all. That speaks to the quality of the top three (or four for that matter. I love you Pokémon Pearl, and Platinum! #palkiaoverdialga #giratinaoverboth), including the most recent generation of Pokémon, generation six, introduced in 2013 in the games Pokemon X and Pokemon Y. X and Y brought with them an immense amount of change, and I am not just talking about the ability to change the protagonist’s appearance. Immediately recognizable is the transition from semi-sprite graphics and 2D to full 3D graphics (not to be confused with the 3D effects of the Nintendo 3DS!). Featuring fully-animated Pokémon, exciting attack animations worth watching, and short cutscenes, the result of the jump to modern graphics (which could have debatably happened earlier) is a more cinematic and thrilling Pokémon experience gorgeously realized on the 3DS. Pokémon’s online experience is also massively expanded with the sixth generation. Its never been easier to find other players, specific trades, battles, and much more that was probably never anticipated, like the sharing of trainer PR Videos, where players can create and edit videos about their in game trainer. I don’t know why its in the game, but its fun! Even more fun are Wonder Trades, often called Trade Roulette by fans, where players can trade a Pokémon in return for a totally random Pokémon. While this can result in some undesirables (which can then be re-rouletted if that’s how you want to be. I’m not judging, I’ve done it.), more often than not it results in some cool rare Pokémon, including version exclusives, Pokémon not available in game, and some even more unexpected gems!
Playing Pokémon has never been as convenient as Pokémon X and Y. The sixth generation makes it easier to be a competitive player by allowing players the ability to see EVs, super, hidden stats, and allowing players to build these stats through Super Training without the hassle of defeating specific Pokémon over, and over, and over again. That’s just hardcore players. Both hardcore and casual players benefit from Game Freak’s solution to transferring Pokémon between games and storage space, which is the Pokémon Bank, a great 3DS app for a reasonable price. Or even finding rare Pokémon is much more convenient with new areas like the Friend Safari. Not to mention the changes made to the in-game tool Experience Share, which generates experience in generous amounts for the entire party when turned on, making for the smoothest, quick, and clean Pokémon experience to date. And while it might seem like a bigger deal to competitive players, casual players also benefit from adjustments to balance, abilities, and in-battle effects, including limited weather effects, certain elements being resistant to certain effects, and type effectiveness adjustments.
Speaking of types, generation six is the first generation to introduce a new type since Gold and Silver in 2000. Many of the newest generation’s Pokémon fit in to the new type, Fairy, including X’s cover Pokémon, Xerneas, while several classic Pokémon have been seamlessly adjusted to fit in to the new categorization, making some old match-ups strikingly different. While X and Y boast only sixty-nine new Pokémon (or seventy-one if you include Hoopa and Volcanion), they are also the first to feature Mega Evolution, a fun new mechanic that allows a Pokémon to impermanently transform and transcend its previous limitations. Just as generation four made many evolutionary lines relevant again by introducing some cool new monsters, the six generation gave us twenty-seven Mega Evolutions, making some fan favorites more viable competitively, more powerful, and it’s a fun way for the designers to toy with some very classic Pokémon designs. It’s no surprise that the two most popular Pokémon, Charizard and Mewtwo, already have two Mega Evolutions each. And this on top of some brilliant, entirely new Pokémon that rival some of the best designs from the beginning. With all of its brilliant changes, adjustments, its advancements to modern graphics, its smoothness and accessibility, on top of its overall world class design, Pokemon X and Y are the quintessential post-modern Pokémon games and a fitting place for rookies and youngsters, like Ben, to start. I like shorts too, Ben. Though fair warning, after X and Y, going back might be hard. Maybe you should start at the beginning.