Pokémon is one of those franchises that seems to have been around for as long as I have been a gamer. I can still remember the first time I played Pokémon Blue on my Game Boy. Fast forward several years and I find I am reliving that same excitement again with Pokémon X. Sadly, where the game invokes fond memories of years past, the strategy guide sparks emotions of irritation.
As I have not played a game in this series in something ridiculous like ten years, I spent a bit of time with the beginning of the guide. Here the basics of the various capture balls, training, new touchscreen controls, and battle systems are covered. There is quite a bit of info here that helped ease me back into this fantastic world.
Once I was comfortable that I had a grasp of the complexities that this game contains, it was off to embark on the main story and this is where the guide excels. Those who are looking for an optimal route to becoming a Pokémon Master will find a generous amount of maps thanks to the dust jacket, two-page spread in the beginning of the book, and a pull out map. This does make navigation fairly painless and gave me no excuse as to not know where I was going next.
I found the various routes and cities detailed enough to tackle with a bit of planning. The different Trainer Battles were certainly easier as their Pokémon were clearly on display so I knew what to expect before deciding to take on a fight. It almost felt like cheating as I was able to plan, and level a specific party composition to conquer the more difficult duels.
The road to masterhood fills the bulk of this guide with the last few pages going to things such as super training, photo points, restaurants, and berry farming. These give players some good info for when they need a break and want to tackle a few of the other aspects of the game.
Now to touch on the things that really drag this guide down, such as a complete lack of post-game content. Those who realize there is more to this game than just becoming the supreme master will need to turn to other sources for things like collecting unique Pokémon, special unlocks, or mystical places to explore. As these tend to make up a fair amount of time, their lack from this guide is fairly disappointing.
One of the hardest bits to swallow is the complete lack of a Pokédex. Players wanting that info, along with the missing post game substance mentioned above, need to acquire a different guide. While I can appreciate these guides being under $20 USD/guide, that equates to having to lug around two books while traveling, navigating two books while playing, and twice the inconvenience. To me, this is just unacceptable when you realize that prior Pokémon guides included this information. This is further compounded by the lack of information on legendary or special Pokémon or any real meat to Mega Evolutions. As these all play a role in even just the basic experience of the game, this lack of content is hard to swallow.
Finally, a minor nitpick is that this is a smaller form factor guide. While I appreciate this as it packs into bags a lot easier, it also means the book does not lay flat while I was using it. This made for some awkward yoga positions while playing and trying to use the guide. When you’re playing in four to six hour stretches, this becomes a major drag.
This guide is great for the main story walkthrough and getting old players, like myself, caught up and primed for hundreds of hours of gameplay. However, this book is only half completed and needs a secondary purchase to be truly useful, and is thus receiving a rating to reflect this blatant money grab. Maybe we will see a better, more comprehensive, guide come out down the road, but as of right now, skip this and use Dr. Google to get ya through this complex game.