I’m clearly still on the fence about Pokemon X/Y. Now Nintendo has introduced a new feature regarding evolutions of Pokemon: Mega Evolutions.
Based on information provided, there will be a new hold item that will evolve a Pokemon to its Mega Evolution during battle. I would guess that the Pokemon must be at its normal maximum evolution before it can use the item, but that’s just my guess. It is not known if this is an item that must be triggered, or if it is consumed as part of the process. It is also unknown if all of the different species have a Mega Evolution (assuming an average of two evolutions per species, that could be a whopping new 350+ Pokedex entries from Mega Evolutions alone). So far, 7 species have confirmed mega evolutions.
Upon evolving, many changes could occur – one Pokemon, Ampharos, has been confirmed to change its type to Electric/Dragon. A few are confirmed to have increased stats, and a few have been confirmed to change their ability. Basically the same potential changes as a regular evolution.
What This Changes
For casual players like me, not much. You’re going to play through the fairly easy story, see it happen a time or two, then the game will be shelved as always. Pokemon is probably not going to be particularly social for a lot of players in the U.S. until a game comes along that makes it a lot easier and entertaining to interact with people over long distances. In Japan, if you are walking downs busy street you are probably on the same street as a Pokemon trainer. That’s not something you can say for the U.S. I can go several months without finding someone using StreetPass on my 3DS, and I have it with me most of the time.
For competitive players from previous generations, your established teams need to be rethought. Chances are, your team isn’t built around one among them using their Mega Evolution, nor is it prepared for when your opponent uses one against you. Even if you could just make one of them mega evolve, you could find your strategy isn’t nearly as effective anymore with more powerful Pokemon taking it on.
My Take on the Change
I just don’t get it. The system is plenty complex as it is, with 649 potential members of your 6 Pokemon team, each having one or two of 17 different types to form the most intricate form of rock-paper-scissors I’ve ever seen. And many of these Pokemon have multiple ways they can be used to benefit their teammates or compensate for their weaknesses. Each of those 6 Pokemon on your team can learn up to 4 of the currently 560 different attacks, some of which can be used in different ways, while some of them might be there to be part of an unexpected strategy to surprise an opponent. Are there really players out there hoping for more complexity?
I like to play this series mostly for the adventure. I look at it as a puzzle, and each gym, cave, or encounter with Team ABCXYZ that has an agenda that I disagree with are parts of that puzzle that in several of the recent iterations have meshed together quite well. For example, it was exceptionally awkward for me that in Pokemon Emerald I went from saving an entire city from disaster courtesy of some furious legendary Pokemon, right back into my quest for eight badges. I appreciated the change in Black/White where, after the Elite Four challenge is interrupted by impending disaster, the match with the champion is delayed; however, I feel it didn’t go far enough. I feel like everyone should have set aside arbitrary structures and formalities completely when they were faced with what Plasma was putting everyone through.
Competitive battling is a bit of a mechanic on the side for me, if you haven’t noticed. I do enjoy trying it out here and there, but my main experience will always be the main story. That is how it is for many, many people with this series. I have had thoughts of becoming well versed in all strategies and becoming a decent trainer, but with every iteration of this series making the competitive game even more complex, to the point of even having to toss out some of what you’ve learned from previous games, the task has become extremely daunting. I guess I’m just doomed to be a worse Pokemon Trainer than Ash Ketchum.