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Pokemon Sun & Moon Review

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Pokemon Sun/Moon is the long-awaited 7th generation of Pokemon games. Is it any good? 

The Great:

The Starter Pokemon:

The first thing you do in any Pokemon game is choose your starting Pokemon. For many trainers, including myself, your starter is your most important Pokemon. It’s going to be your companion for your entire journey while you try to build the perfect team. Pokemon Sun/Moon have excellent starting Pokemon. My favorite of the three is Rowlet. It starts off as a Grass/Flying, but evolves into a Grass/Ghost at level 34.

I was really impressed with the starting Pokemon in this game. I haven’t liked every starter since Ruby/Sapphire with Treecko, Mudkip, and Torchic.

Graphics:

This is the best looking Pokemon game to date, but it does have a few issues. The 3DS struggles to run this game on many occasions. I was repeatably impressed with how well everything looked in this game. Every town, Pokemon, cave, and character model looked fantastic in this game, but at the cost of performance. The day/night cycle is back and is reversed this time around. Instead of it being nice in sunny in the morning when I wake up it’s dark outside. I actually love this because I do most of my gaming at night and I get to run around during the day which is when you get to catch the most Pokemon.

Story:

Pokemon games have been more plot focused over the last few years and this one is no different. X&Y had a pretty decent story, but it pales in comparison to what this game offers. From the moment you start Sun/Moon you’ll be invested in the story in this game because it’s actually a part of the game from the moment you start playing it. Instead of seeing your professor give you a wall of text about the world of Pokemon you start off face chatting him on your computer and that’s where you get to choose your gender, skin color, and hairstyle.

I enjoyed meeting my new companions, going up against Team Skull, and stopping a psychopath from trying to destroy the world using ultra beast. Lillie, who I didn’t care much for at first, was the best part of the story. I enjoyed getting to see her grow from a weak, scared little girl into a strong-willed aspiring Pokemon Trainer by the end of the game. The way the plot unfolded near the end of the game was good and I wouldn’t be surprised if we got a Sun/Moon 2 in the near future.

Gameplay:

This is a Pokemon game. You know what you’re doing by now. You see a Pokemon and try to catch it by using various different kinds of Pokeballs. The turn based battle system is roughly the same as it’s been since it was revamped a few games ago, but the animations are much better. They’re actually excellent and I got a better experience battling in this game than I have in any other Pokemon game ever made.

The HM system that has plagued Pokemon since 1998 is finally gone. Instead of giving us HMs they were replaced by a taxi system of sorts. Instead of teaching your Pokemon rock smash or fly you can simply press the Y button and call Tauros or Charizard to clear the way or fly you to your destination. It’s a neat feature and it’s one that I wish would have come to Pokemon much sooner.

I really like how I never felt powerful in this game. These are easily the most difficult Pokemon games ever made. I thought I was ahead because my team was level 43-45, but I wasn’t. I was actually under-leveled and I ended up losing my first battle from a level 48 Mudsdale. Pokemon trainers didn’t have 6 Magikarp or a team of Caterpie and Weedle. Most trainers have less Pokemon, until the end game, but they’re a lot stronger now and they actually used their best moves against me.

There are also some new features added in Sun/Moon. Pokemon Refresh, Poke Pelago, and Festival Plaza give us things to do besides the main story.

Pokemon Refresh is my favorite of the three features. After battle you can bond with your Pokemon by cleaning it up or using some medicine to remove a status effect that it could have. You can also pet them and feed them to make them happier. This isn’t a useless feature because it pays off in battle. My Decidueye had maximum affection towards me and it survived hits that should have knocked it out of battle. The text would read “Decidueye held on so I wouldn’t feel sad.”

Poke Pelago gives us something to do with all of the Pokemon that we catch and never use. It gives them a home to live in on multiple different islands and we can do varous different activities with them. I enjoyed it somewhat, but I ended up ignoring it when I got further into the game. It’s still a neat feature and I even got some new Pokemon from it and I might end up going back to it once I’m done trying to catch all of the new Pokemon in the game.

Festival Plaza was a huge waste of time for me. It looks like something out of a Disney Movie and I just hated going there. Since it’s optional and doesn’t affect the gameplay it doesn’t really factor in to this review, but I thought I should mention it anyway.

Trials:

Gym Leaders are gone from Pokemon. For the very first time since Pokemon was invented we have no gym leaders. At first I was really confused because I didn’t understand what we would be doing, but once I actually played the game I fell in love with the new trial feature and I prefer it over gym battles. I still love my gym battles, but having something new to do besides battling gyms is refreshing. I fought a giant Raticate as my first trial boss and it almost wrecked my entire team. Some trial bosses are pretty hard while others are easy. It depends on your team and what Pokemon are in it. I tried to be balanced for my first playthrough, but I plan on doing a pure Ghost/Grass team in the near future.

Sounds:

Gamefreak nailed the tropical setting in these games and the background music matches it perfectly. The battle music is awesome, the encounter music is awesome, and various different Pokemon cries are awesome, and I could even stand still and hear different Pokemon cry out in a forest, the ocean, or even in a cave. I can use my ears to help me determine if I’ve caught all of the Pokemon in an area or not and that’s really neat in my opinion. I have no complaints with any of the sounds in this game. Team Skull has the best battle music by the way.

Pokedex:

The Pokedex is now a living thing. There’s a Rotom living in my Pokedex and it talks to me throughout my Pokemon adventure and even has a minimap attached to it at the bottom of the screen. It even shows me where I have to go next for my next main story mission.

If you’re new to Pokemon and you encounter something like a Haunter you probably won’t know what it’s weakened by. The Pokedex fixes that little problem by analyzing any Pokemon we come across and giving us info on the Pokemon we encountered. That means that the next time that pesky Haunter comes around you’ll know that’s weakened by moves like bite, and shadowball. It’s a really neat feature and Rotom is one of my favorite Pokemon and having one with me always was a fantastic experience. I want all of my Pokedex’s to be a Rotomdex now.

The Pokemon:

We got a bunch of brand new Pokemon in Sun/Moon and they’re all pretty great. They’re designed well, and are pretty unique. I really love the bug Pokemon that were added in this generation. Vikabug is a beast of a Pokemon and I really love Araquanid too. The only downside is most of the new Pokemon that were introduced are pretty slow when compared to Pokemon of previous generations. There also isn’t enough fire type Pokemon in this game. I felt really restricted with that Pokemon type in this game. We have plenty of Electric, Grass, Bug, and just about every other type though.

The Good:

The Alola Version of Kanto Pokemon

I love the new Sandslash. I love its new type, movepool, and it’s fucking adorable too. What I hate is the new Exeggutor. I trained one up from a level 1 to a level 55 and it had some of the worst stats I’ve seen for a dragon Pokemon. It had a monster special attack, but it couldn’t take a hit at all. I’m not too crazy about the new Geodude evolution line either. Most of the new Alola Pokemon are designed very well though. It’s just those two that I didn’t like. And where the hell is my Alola Growlithe, and Gengar! That’s a big missed opportunity Gamefreak! I can totally see Gengar becoming some sort of hybrid Ghost/Dark type Pokemon. 

The Bad:

It Never Stopped Holding My Hand…

You expect some form of hand-holding in every new Pokemon. They serve as an introduction to newer players in the series as well as trying to please the veteran players too. This game never let up with the hand-holding. I don’t mind the new focus on storytelling or all of the cutscenes that most people complain about. What I do mind is that I could never just go off and explore without something getting in the way of that. It’s not until really late in the game that I was given the freedom to do what I wanted and go where I wanted.

Fps Issues:

This issue will sadly never be fixed. Pokemon Sun/Moon push the 3DS to its very limits. It doesn’t even have 3D support because it can’t even handle being in 2D right now. Every double battle, keep in mind that I played on the New 3DS, lagged. Some times the lag was so bad I had to wait a few seconds for it to become stable again. Even in some single battles it lagged. When I used my Z move for Desidueye I would get some lag at the start of the move.

Running around and exploring was perfect. I never got any fps drops or stutter like I would in double battles or in some of the end game battles.

You can find my review of Pokemon Red & Blue by clicking here, my review of Gold & Silver here, my review of Ruby & Sapphire here, and my review of X & Y here. I also wrote my a list of my top 10 least favorite starter Pokemon. You can find that here. If you want to read my top 10 favorite starter Pokemon click here

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The Verdict

Pokemon Sun & Moon are fantastic. I love region of Alola, the new Alola variants of Kanto Pokemon, and new Pokemon that were introduced this gen. The best feature is the removal of HMs. They're finally gone and I hope they never come back. I got tired of using that one HM slave that took up a slot on my party. Those days are finally gone! Team Skull is fantastic, the story is really good, and I love Lily. She's an awesome companion that grew as the game progressed. Sun & Moon are making a serious case for best Pokemon games ever made and I can't wait to see what the next generation of Pokemon brings to the table.

10
Final Score:
10

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Mr. Panda
    Dec 12, 2016 6:05 pm

    Nice review! I’m so happy that HMs are gone and replaced by a feature that still performs a similar function in the most fun way possible. I’m also surprised by how much I enjoyed Pokemon Refresh after almost never touching Amie in X/Y. PokePelago and Festival Plaza aren’t perfect, but I find myself there a lot. Both help immensely with competitive training, power leveling, and gathering important items like bottle caps. They’re also not too time-consuming, especially PokePelago which does all these things even while you’re not playing. Anyway, glad you enjoyed Sun/Moon!

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