Another Smash, another disappointment. Well, not for me at least, I learned to keep my expectations in check. Just all be patient, new info will likely come around the time of E3, which is around next week Tuesday. In the mean time, enjoy this article by me about XY being released on the 3DS. Enjoy!
Poor 3DS. The system has come a long way. It got some pretty bad reception from the market in general, which resulted in lackluster sales. Main problems were a high price point, and a lack of games. Nintendo quickly fixed the former, with a hefty price cut only months after release. The games took a long time though. While some pretty good games were released, the absolute killer games remained absent. Two new mainline Pokémon games were put on DS, a system that was on the way out and flooded by pirates. The sales of BW2 are the lowest in the whole (mainline) Pokémon history.
Nintendo must have known this and this year you can finally say that you’re proud to own a 3DS. I can pull up a giant list of heavy hitter games that all will release this year, but the one where we on this site are most interested in is obviously Pokémon XY. The games are a new generation on a new handheld, featuring a new region, new Pokémon, a new type ( 😉 ) and new mechanics. Today I’d like to focus on the design choices made because of the game being on 3DS, as well as choices they can probably make. Let’s begin!
The Pokémon series is known for its grid based overworld. Everything is sliced up into tiny squares, and you can only go up, down, left and right. This played nice with the fact that the DS (and all the Gameboys before it) only had a four-directional D-Pad. The 3DS however, features an analog input called the circle pad, allowing 360° movement. Gamefreak must have finally decided that this is the perfect excuse to remove the four-directional movement from the game, replacing with being able to walk diagonally. And I am personally quite satisfied with the way they implemented it. While there is no more ‘grid’ for movement, the basic layout of the overworld still implies a grid-like structure. Look at the separated bushes, or the way the trainers stand. I wouldn’t like it if they did away with it altogether, because a Pokémon game without a grid isn’t a Pokémon game to me. That is just my opinion though.
I’m going to be blunt here: I do not care for the autostereoscopic, or “3D without glasses”, effect on the 3DS. That is, I like to have it, but it isn’t an important factor in the handheld for me. Nintendo probably realised that many people think this way, as the 3D effect rarely gets marketed anymore. The 3D in XY will probably be some slight depth, like all other 3DS games. The things that will profit the most from it are most likely the text boxes. And I’m fine with that. I sometimes put the 3D effect on when playing Fire Emblem just to see some pretty text :). Don’t expect anything groundbreaking done with it for Pokémon, and that’s why I won’t discuss it further.
This is something all of us have been waiting on for years: 3D models for Pokémon Battles. The 3DS isn’t all that powerful, but it has a big boost in power compared to the DS. It ca n finally output simple 3D models together with dynamic animations, similar to the stuff we say in Pokémon Stadium, a game for the N64 released 13-14 years ago. I say simple because the models lack advanced textures and still have jagged edges. That shouldn’t put you off the game though, as the models are still beautifully done with the limitations of the 3DS in mind. I really like to see the models for each Pokémon, as they did a good job on all the Pokémon revealed so far. One of the biggest reasons to be excited for XY, if you ask me!
I don’t see much use of the gyro controls outside of mini-games. Maybe there will be a Pokéathlon-like structure that has some uses for it. I could also see the local Poffin variant using it, that is if Contests return. Maybe they bring back the underground and you use your 3DS like a metal detector? I just hope core gameplay will remain intact. Sitting on the bus waving around with your 3DS can be a little awkward, not to mention that it is hard to keep your 3DS steady. Uses like the rumour a while back saying that you need to hold your 3DS upside down to evolve a Pokémon are too gimmicky and should be left out. things I think are just not fit for evolution methods. Sorry if people took offense at the word ‘gimmick’, I was not talking about the gyro itself.
DLC & Spotpass
Nintendo has made clear that they will not employ DLC in the way other publishers are doing now. They said that some franchises are not fit for DLC, not because they can’t make DLC for it, but because they don’t want to lose the trust of the customers. Nintendo said they wanted to be committed to releasing games that feel like a complete game. Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a good example of this. The game did not get paid DLC in Japan, although you could extra furniture for free at certain places. I believe they will use the same approach for this for XY. In the past, ‘hidden Pokémon’ had to be hardcoded in the game, and all you did when you downloaded it, was unlocking the event on your DS. Now with the modifiable data structure in the games, they could easily hold them back and release them as a free update for your game. They could make it so that if you wanted to be battle online or locally, you just have to download the update from the internet or other 3DS’. They could sell costumes for your characters however, or a series of “very strong trainers”, modelled after their appearance in past games, to battle. I would be fine with all of those as long as they don’t go milking the game, but I don’t think this is something Nintendo really wants to do.
As for spotpass, they could put out some fun stuff like occasional special swarms. I also see it as a way of efficiently distributing ‘normal’ event Pokémon, like Jirachi for example. Not everyone keeps up with Pokémon news, and it would be sad if you missed out on a such exclusive Pokémon just because you don’t frequent the internet a lot. Just a blue blinking LED that makes you happy!
As for the green LED I see a small amount of things they can do. First is some sort of ‘battle box’. You put your favorite team inside of it, along with some info about your trainer (badges, greeting, things you like,…) and you give out your battle box to everyone you cross with your 3DS. You can then battle the trainers you met with your own team, maybe even earning you some sort of score to impress your friends with. Fire Emblem does this, and it is such a shame because nobody has Fire Emblem around here :(. Second is some sort of item trading, like getting a berry from everyone you pass. Whatever they do, it must keep the game balance, especially early in the game.
That’s it for now, the article was getting quite lengthy already! Thanks to Freedom for the article hint! I’m always excited to hear your opinions, so tell me if you liked what I proposed, if there was something you wouldn’t want in the games and things you want to see that I didn’t mention. Start commenting already! I will be back in a few days with another Daely Snack for you to enjoy (or hate).