Genre: RPG | Players: 1-4 | Developer: Game Freak
The main lineage of Pokémon games all have the same structure; It’s unavoidable. You collect pokemon and grind them up jrpg style to defeat 8 gym leaders, the Elite 4, and then the Champion. The last few generations have all instituted sweeping social gaming innovations, however, and the changes for the 6th gen can be found here (navigate via the right sidebar). I generally avoid that sort of thing, so I won’t mention them further.
The biggest change this generation falls to the graphics. Being able to walk in all directions is cosmetic, admittedly, but the animations for each pokémon and their attacks are a sweeping, legitimate upgrade that drew me in FAR more than I would have ever expected. On top of that, I personally feel that this generation does the best job of providing a cross-section of pokes from the series’ exhaustive history. It’s cool to have an entirely new set, but it also runs the risk of alienating those for whom the majority fail to appeal. I’m looking at you, Gen 5.
There’s also attention paid to providing evolutions in the wild that normally require trades and/or special items. It may take a bit more work to catch them, but it’s worth it for the sense of self-reliance afforded. I’ve heard complaints about the EXP share now leveling all the pokes in your party at the same time, but… Wait, are people actually complaining about not having to grind as much? o_O
In terms of the story, I genuinely like my rival, which is a great change of pace compared to either detesting them or not caring at all. I feel legitimately awful that the items necessary for Mega Evolution can’t be given to them when I don’t care for that mechanic at all and have never used it outside of trying it once for the one pokémon I like that can actually do it. As someone who doesn’t battle other players, it’s a mostly visual change that’s the definition of temporary.
I didn’t foresee my return to the franchise being successful, but it was, as the atmosphere and world are just as charming and the graphics and unique story elements are utilized in the service of that end as opposed to simply providing a new set of pokes and nothing more.
If you play for the journey, don’t skip out on this leg of it. It’s quite possibly the best.
Buyer’s Guide: It’s a 3DS exclusive.
4 Self-spun Tales of a Boy Named Grump out of 5
I do not have binocular fusion and are thus incapable of experiencing 3D.
Don't ask me how it looks here, or in any other 3DS game.