Pokémon X and Y are suitable improvements to their predecessors. On the surface, the 3D visuals are the main event; seeing a Charizard blast another Pokémon in three dimensions is a visual treat. The story is also darker this time and the player-to-player functions are quite impressive. In many ways, it takes the series to the next level.

However, the two most notable and major improvements that X and Y bring may have been missed by casual players and even some veterans. They’re hidden underneath the core experience but their inclusion help make Pokemon an easier game for newcomers. During the post-game, X and Y break free from the limitations of previous games by alleviating two hardcore forms of Pokémon guidance: EV and IV training.

EV and IV training are advanced methods of raising your Pokémon. Rather than raising your Pokémon to level 100 and calling it a day, players can choose to take a deeper focus on a Pokémon’s individual stats in order to raise the creature of their choice. EV training involves how a Pokemon evolves and improves while IV training is essentially breeding, but for specific stats. Both mechanics were introduced in the second generation of games and, over time, have become more apparent to the fan base.

They are each separate forms of advance training. EV training is the simpler system.

When a Pokémon levels up, they receive stat bonuses. The number of effort value points (EV) a Pokémon has determines how much each stat (Health, Attack etc.) increases. Since each stat is attributed to different EV points, a trainer would formerly have to go out and defeat only the type of Pokémon that grant EV points in the stat they want. It’s a tad confusing and cumbersome to get through, and since no game in the series has ever tracked the number of EV points a Pokémon has, a player would most likely need a pen and paper on hand to record them.

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Want that perfect Mewtwo? No problem!

Trainers no longer have to venture into the wild, tracking down specific Pokémon with a pen and paper at their side. X and Y have finally demystified the system by allowing trainers to directly raise EV points through a new mechanic called Super Training. With this new mechanic, trainers can participate in various mini-games — all of which involve shooting a ball through a goal — to delegate EV points in the skill of their choice.

The game provides a very helpful guide through the entire system and it tracks the exact number of effort points a Pokémon has, making EV training, at long last, a process anyone can implement. It can be done at any time and no longer requires any battling whatsoever. It may appear to be a small improvement, but I was able to raise my perfect team of six in a matter of hours. It is a major refinement and remedy to the series.

EV training was always relatively easy to follow. However, IV training is another story.

IV training refers to a Pokémon’s initial stats upon birth or capture. When a player acquires a Pokémon, their creature will have a specific IV value — ranging from 1 to 31 — in each stat; the higher the number, the better that stat will be overall. The stats cannot be manipulated, unlike EV training, meaning that IV training takes a large amount of control away from the player and requires blind luck instead.

A trainer can measure their Pokemon’s IV value at any time by visiting the Ace Trainer located in the Pokemon center of Kiloude city. He will mention that your Pokemon’s potential ranges from Decent to Outstanding and determine which of their stats is best. Expect to visit him several times in developing your perfect monster. There are methods to improve your chances of receiving a higher IV-valued Pokémon, such as breeding and using items, but it has always been a grind for players.

Thanks to X and Y’s new Safari, IV training takes half the time it normally would have. And I haven’t even mentioned what you can do with Poke Miles.

After the player has beaten the game and unlocked Kiloude City, they may participate in the Safari mini-game. This allows them to explore individual personalized safaris attributed to each player on their friends list. Different friends’ safaris will include different types of Pokémon and a total of three different creatures can be captured in each one. The major unseen improvement here lies in the stats of the Pokémon you are able to capture.

Every single Pokémon in the Safari will contain at least two perfect IV values. This means that a player can now easily obtain a highly valued mate for the Pokémon they wish to breed. Since Pokémon with higher value grant a better chance of a stronger offspring, breeding for the perfect Pikachu is now incredibly easy. Simply take two parents with impressive IV stats and the baby will follow suit.

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Make sure to make friends in Pokemon X and Y!

IV and EV training may seem like mechanics only suited for hardcore players who participate in tournaments, but that is not the case, especially with the new additions to the series. Now any player who wants to personalize their Pokemon can do so without having to spend days grinding for it. Want a Tyranitar that is formidable in attack and speed? It’s no longer a problem.

Because of these two important refinements, Pokémon X and Y are the most accessible and streamlined games in the series to date. During my time with Pokémon Soul Silver, it took me days just to breed the perfect Charmander for my team and train him in the stats I wanted. I accomplished the same task in hours with the 3DS sequels. It’s possible that these improvements slipped a player’s radar, but for those who like to take time to temper a Pokémon’s potential, these two additions — Super Training and the Safari — are a dream come true. Be sure to explore these options when playing the new games.

Written by Anthony Retondo

Anthony is a ginger. That should give you an idea of how much he’s worth. Despite this extreme physical limitation, however, he continues to write, and loves doing it. He may suck at video games (His favorite activity), but he has a strong passion for the lore and history of Nintendo’s franchises. When he’s not writing he’s saving the future in his flying Epoch, streaming and drinking Arnold Palmer.

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