7 Most Welcome New and Improved Things About Pokémon X & Y

1. Graphical Update

The first and most noticeable change is the graphical overhaul. No more sprites—Pokémon now has 3D visuals. The result? Battles are much more visually appealing; they’re similar to the Coliseum and Stadium games of old. The visuals also succeed at making the world itself feel so much bigger.


The 3D-capabilities of the 3DS are used sparingly (mostly in battles), and unfortunately, some users are reporting reduced frame rates with the 3D slider turned up. But the art style is gorgeous, and the new 3D-style helps to quell the desire (at least a little) for a true Pokémon experience (not a side game) on a home console. And the Pokémon now have wonderful idle animations during combat, and it’s easy to find even the most boring Pokémon new and interesting thanks to the art style.

2. Mega Evolutions

Yes, MEGA EVOLUTIONS are the new feature in Pokémon X & Y. They allow certain Pokémon to evolve temporarily into an improved form. Only one Pokémon on your team can transform, so it encourages you to build a team around that one Pokémon and decide when to have it evolve in a match. The Pokémon capable of these feats receive noticeable visual changes. For example, Blastoise gains a third cannon—obviously more cannons means better, right? Venosaur’s flower-palm-tree-thing gets bigger, and Ampharos grows a full head (and tail) of luxurious Fabio-locks.


Charizard is one of two Pokémon which can transform into two different mega evolutions based on game version (X or Y). In X, mega evolving a Charizard transforms its type from Fire/Flying to Fire/Dragon, which removes its weakness to water and finally makes Charizard into a true dragon-type. In Y, he retains his fire/flying type but gains the ability “drought”—a vital ability for certain team compositions in the meta-game, and one of only four Pokémon with the ability.


Basically, mega evolutions add another layer of depth to an already deep game. And they’re awesome.

3. Online Improvements

It’s now easier than ever to connect, trade, battle, and interact with other players when you’re connected to wi-fi. Through the Player Search System displayed on the bottom screen, you can see a list of your 3DS friends, acquaintances who you’ve interacted with, and passerby players who are also connected to wi-fi nearby. You can trade or battle any of these players, and as you do so with passer-bys, they will be added to your acquaintance list. Not quite the Pokémon MMORPG experience that many desire, but definitely a welcome addition.


Another new addition from the online-functionality is O-powers, which let you give and be given power-ups from other players connected to internet. These give a variety bonuses like increased experience point gain, increased capture rate, increased stats like attack power or critical hit rate, and many more. These boosts are temporary, and the more you use them, the better they get. Giving a boost to others costs less energy (something that gradually replenishes over time) than giving a boost to yourself, so the system encourages players to swap power-ups.