It’s too late to go back. Granted, that hasn’t stopped me; I need to prepare for the Pokémon Bank, after all. Still, it’s such an incredibly drag to go back now. I have to grind before gyms, strategically swap the Lucky Egg and Exp. Share, stock up on so many potions and revives.
All of that joking and jest about how Pokémon X and Y made things easy seems so silly now. Their accessibility features have changed the series for the better.
Let’s start by addressing one of the stranger additions to the game: roller skates. Yes, it’s an incredibly odd thing to have in a Pokémon game. Yes, it’s incredibly frustrating at times to maneuver with them. Still, it’s so handy having these to speed up the entire process. There’s no denying the fact that the game moves along at warp speed. Did you finish everything you need to do in a city? Good, now scram; go on, get moving; you have so much more to see and do. Heck, truth be told, you’re probably in a hurry to reach the end-game anyway. In fact, if you’re one of those people, you’ll enjoy the ride when you play through the other copy of the game.
It doesn’t stop there, though. The improved Exp. Share completely removes the monotonous grind from the game. It’s damn near impossible to bear the grinding through the games in the past. Sure, additions like the Lucky Egg and the original Exp. Share made things easier. Yet in the face of the current Exp. Share, they pale in comparison. It’s hard to throw away the new item as “dumbing down” the game when it doesn’t dumb down any part of the end-game. Does it help your competitive team? No. Does it help you complete your Pokédex? No. Sure, it helps make some of the game’s gym battles and Elite Four an absolute joke, but so would endless grinding. Exp. Share cuts out the busy work and lets you focus on what matters most: actually playing through the game.
Speaking of playing through the game, defeating the story gives you access to the Friend Safari, where you can find a wide variety of familiar Pokémon faces. Yes, this seems like an incredibly cheap way to bolster your Pokédex numbers, but can’t the same be said about people who buy multiple copies of the game so that they may trade with themselves? Furthermore, you still have to go out and meet people before visiting their Friend Safari. The old-school concept of finding and trading with people is still there; the direct trading has just been removed.
One of the bigger, yet quieter, changes is the addition of Destiny Knot, allowing IVs to stay with Pokémon as you breed them. Combined with the fact that there’s a higher chance to find perfect IVs in the Friend Safari, competitive breeding just became a hell of a lot easier. No more spending dozens upon hundreds of hours hatching eggs for that 1% miracle Pokémon. No more countless days and nights wasted. Instead, you can spend more time, you know, actually playing the game.
As I’ve gone back to the older entries in the series, there’s so much that I miss it’s not even funny. Grinding out Pokémon in Heart Gold is a gigantic pain. Slowly walking through the starting areas is frustrating. I’m thankful I’ll never have to experience these things again. I’m thankful for the things I often joked about when Pokémon X and Y launched. I’m thankful the game is now much more accessible.