Pokemon Legends Z-A has the chance to redeem one of the series’ most disappointing entries
5 mins read

Pokemon Legends Z-A has the chance to redeem one of the series’ most disappointing entries

Sorry to those of you that look back fondly on the sixth generation of games, but Pokemon X and Y were not that good. Don’t get me wrong, I do actually have a soft spot for them as they helped me bond with my friends back in the day, but it was the friends element that was the most important part, not the quality of the games.

They also felt unfinished, with several mysteries left completely unresolved, and a half-baked story that ends just as it’s getting interesting. And then, lo and behold, The Pokemon Company finally does the unthinkable 10 years later – it announces Pokemon Legends Z-A.

Whispers and rumours of a supposed Pokemon Z flitted about for the longest time, but it never materialised, with the series instead just moving on to Generation Seven with Sun and Moon. Everyone was convinced that all those little things teased in X and Y would finally be expanded upon, but a decade has passed since they were released (god I feel old), and rather than being a case of a game filled with classic Pokemon secrets, it just felt like regrets.

Sure, X and Y brought some fresh life into the slightly dwindling series with the shift to 3D, but it seemed like titles in the vein of Emerald or Platinum – which often expanded their predecessors – were dead in the water, as they never sold all that well (making Ultra Sun and Moon a bit of an oddity).

Cover image for YouTube video[UK] Pokémon Legends: Z-A releases simultaneously worldwide in 2025!​

Here we are, though, with an announcement that we’ll be heading back to Kalos in Game Freak’s new mainline series Pokemon Legends, presenting an opportunity to redeem some of X and Y’s biggest mistakes. For one, there’s the story. To be honest, I don’t actually think there’s that much that you can do with Team Flare; they weren’t all that interesting as villains, they’re certainly no Team Skull, so I’m happy to be done with them – even if I suspect there’s more to come.

No, what I want to know is what the hell is up with that big guy, AZ. You remember AZ, right? The tall fella who is somehow 3000 years old, and has a special Floette that’s impossible to acquire through legal means? That AZ! Seriously, what was going on there? He was referenced in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire too, but past that point, there’s nothing else on him. Again, it’s one of those things that was less mysterious and intriguing, and more “why are you setting up this character and doing literally nothing with him?” Looking at the name of the game, though – Z-A, AZ, get it – I think I’ll get my wish.

There’s also a lot of room to improve Lumiose City itself – based on the limited descriptions The Pokemon Company are offering, it’s sounding like the whole game will be set in just Lumiose City, which in the the original X and Y is obviously a bit rudimentary by today’s standards (though is honestly still more fun to explore than literally anywhere in Scarlet and Violet).

AZ, the 3000-year old giant of a man from Pokemon X and Y, holds his special Floette in his hands, in an image treated to look like sepia.
AZ does it. | Image credit: Nintendo

Where Pokemon Legends Arceus let us explore the various wildernesses of Sinnoh, Z-A will hopefully let us travel around a massive, modern city, an equally exciting concept. The thing it really needs to capture is the energy of Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (the movie, not the game), with Pokemon taking part in everyday life, going about day-to-day activities, helping with jobs, maybe even just scurrying about like a fox (or Vulpix) in the night.

X and Y are a generation of games that conceptually feel hard to go back to. They’ll never live up to my memories of them, because my memories aren’t really about them, and they don’t have the stories of games like Black and White or Sun and Moon. There’s potential in the region though, and it does have one of the best Pokemon ever made – Slurpuff.

Of course, there’s also that final tease of the return of Mega Evolutions, the gimmick introduced in generation sixth that everyone hated at the time, but miss dearly now. This might be the biggest thing Game Freak needs to get right, as fans will be expecting new evolutions, in particular for ‘mons that are fan favourites that never got them (I’m looking at you, Flygon and Eevee). There’s so much that can done to make Kalos a region worth returning to, a region I want to return to, so let’s hope Game Freak can use some of its magic to make that happen.

Pokemon Legends: Z-A is an “an ambitious new entry” in the Pokemon series, and due to release in 2025.

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