So, it's now officially here, the global release date for Pokémon X & Y; in fact, it's likely that many of you that read this are either in possession of or preparing to acquire a copy for yourself. For some it's the continuation of a long-running gaming passion, and in a few cases may be a first dabble with the franchise — whatever the case, this feature aims to give you a basic outline of the key facts and details, spoiler free.
There are plenty of spoilers out there, which can easily be found, but we'll stick to officially confirmed details that were intended to reach your eyeballs ahead of release. We can't and won't cover every nitty gritty detail that's been revealed — this would be the longest article of all time if we did — but hopefully enough to tantalise you; we have also taken the liberty of breaking down the online battles and trading, because that's what we all want to do, right?
So, let's begin.
Meet Xerneas and Yveltal
Our Y legendary creature, phonetic spelling ee-VELL-tawl.
Our X legendary creature, phonetic spelling ZURR-nee-us.
In an exciting change of pace for the series, you'll have the opportunity to select two starters. Beginning with the new creatures that you choose from courtesy of your in-game friends, we have Fennekin the Fire type, Chespin the Grass Type and Froakie the Water type. All three will naturally evolve twice, though we'll only give you the middle evolution — the final evolutions are supposed to be a surprise!
- Fennekin evolves into Braixen
- Froakie evolves into Frogadier
- Chespin evolves into Quilladin
Generation One Starters
In these new games Professor Sycamore gives you a Gen 1 starter to choose from, which means you can have one of Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle. Even better, when you evolve them into Venusaur, Charizard or Blastoise you can prompt a Mega Evolution, though it's not that simple...
At the end of this article you'll see a list of confirmed Mega Pokémon. These are powerful evolutions that will give you an edge in battle, but don't come easily. Trainers must track down a bracelet called the Mega Ring, which works together with the Pokémon's Mega Stone to kickstart the Mega Evolution.
Top be clear, each Pokémon needs its own special Mega Stone, so you've got plenty of hunting to do.
A new region, Pokédex and ways to explore
These fresh entries take you to a new environment called Kalos, which draws some inspiration from France in particular. Your new Pokédex for this land is split into three sections — Central Kalos, Coastal Kalos and Mountain Kalos.
Exploring the land is a little more fun than before too. There are ride-able Pokémon, which is sure to be popular — two examples of these are Gogoat and Rhyhorn. Before the 1st gym you also receive rollerskates to get around a little quicker, with skate ramps dotted around the map. Later on you'll also pick up a bicycle, which is available in green or yellow.
An all new Pokémon type
X and Y introduce the Fairy type. These are super effective against Dragons, and several existing Pokémon have been reclassified under the type — Jigglypuff, Marill, Gardevoir and newcomer blue-eyed Eeveelution Sylveon will be among the first to show off the new abilities. Bug, Fighting and Dark types are not effective against Fairy.
Super Training & Pokémon Amie
As the first of the above terms suggests, there are new ways to quickly improve and boost your 'mon's stats. These touch screen mini-games can be undertaken at any time and do not raise levels, but can nevertheless be a useful way to buff up your team.
Pokémon Amie, on the surface, may bring the interactions from Nintendogs to mind. Again using the touchscreen, in this mode you bond with your creatures by petting, feeding and playing with them. As a result of these interactions your 'mon will dodge attacks more often.
Sky and Horde Battles
There are two additional battle types for which you'll need to prepare, which are sure to influence how you assess the construction of your team.
Sky Battles — They are exactly what they sound like, in which Flying and Floating-type 'mon do battle; these may surprise as some 'mon that can levitate, such as Ghost-types, may be capable of taking part in these battles.
Horde Battles — These are an effective way of boosting your stats quickly, as five wild Pokémon will suddenly appear in a group. The idea is to represent the creatures in their natural habitat, and encourage you to observe each one's unique behaviours. These don't boost XP a great deal, and you attack the entire field rather than individual 'mon.
Kalos is home to a new villainous team looking to cause trouble, the rather extravagant Team Flare. Driven by a team of fashion-conscious scientists, Team Flare are easily spotted by their red-getup, futuristic sunglasses and obsession with the Pokemon Mightyena. When they're not taking over the local electricity plant, you'll most likely find them trying to make the world “a more beautiful place".
Long gone are the days when you would have to trawl back and forth to the Pokemon centre or attach a link cable in order to connect, trade or battle with another player. In Pokemon X & Y a feature known as PSS (Player Search System) is readily available on the lower touch-screen to help you link-up with the outer world.
PSS is divided into three sections; Friends, Acquaintances and Passerbys. The top Friends section shows which of your friends who have been registered on your 3DS are online, Acquaintances are those you've linked with online, although have not swapped friend codes with and Passerbys are complete strangers who are currently available to duel online.
Using the PSS system you can Battle, Trade, Game Chat, Share Trainer PR Videos, use and giveaway O-powers, send Shout Outs and check your Holo Caster.
While you can click on any trainer online showing up on your PSS and invite them to an ordinary Battle, you can also select Battle Spot to take part in random match-ups or online battle competitions. To take part in a Rated Match you will need to register with Pokemon Global Link, although Free Matches are available to every trainer. Battle Spot will then connect you to another player, however the system does not always match you to a trainer with close levels, so be prepared to take on some tough challengers.
Trading is also made easier using the new PSS system. If you know that someone else online has a Pokemon you wish to trade for, you can select that trainer on your touchscreen and invite them to trade with you. However there are also two other trading options; Wonder Trade and the GTS (Global Trade System). Wonder Trade is a new system, where you select a Pokemon you wish to trade and then are linked with another player from anywhere around the world. The other player will then send you their Pokemon in exchange, however the exciting part is that you don't actually know what Pokemon you're going to get until the trade is complete, so make sure you are completely happy with giving your chosen Pokemon away!
GTS is an older system, where you can search for a specific Pokemon, find trainers who are willing to trade that Pokemon in return for a Pokemon of yours that they require. For example, we searched for the new Rock/Ice Fossil Pokemon Amaura, and found a trainer in Australia willing to trade one in exchange for our Tyrunt of a similar level.
Finally, StreetPass and SpotPass information is received using your Holo Caster, also accessible using the PSS screen. By regularly checking your Holo Caster you can obtain data about special Pokemon events or giveaways, such as the Torchic with Blazikenite Mega Stone event, where you must connect to the internet before January 15th 2014 in order to download this special distribution. Any information gained from StreetPassing other Pokemon X and Y teams will also be recorded here. When you receive a notification your Holo Caster will glow blue, and news is presented in a cool hologram style complete with a holographic news reporter.
New and confirmed Pokémon, not inclusive of those deemed to be "spoilers"
New and confirmed Mega Pokémon, not inclusive of those deemed to be "spoilers"
- Mega Ampharos
- Mega Absol
- Mega Charizard X
- Mega Charizard Y
- Mega Mawile
- Mega Mewtwo
- Mega Mewtwo X
- Mega Mewtwo Y
- Mega Kangaskhan
- Mega Lucario
- Mega Blaziken
- Mega Venusaur
- Mega Charizard
- Mega Blastoise
- Mega Garchomp
So those are some basics that may be handy as you start off on your new adventure. Let us know how you're getting on with X and Y in the comments below but please, keep your posts spoiler free.