By: Dylan ; Student
Warning: There will be slight plot and game-play spoilers in this review. If you want to avoid them don’t read this.
I’ve always hated the attitude Game Freak has had when it came to fixing the problems Pokémon has had for the past 20 years. That’s why I’m really happy to say that Pokémon Sun/Moon has finally ended that streak.
Right from the start things are a little bit different than the usual pokemon affair. You play the role of a kid moving to the, somehow not discovered nor mentioned in any past game until now, new region of Aloha from Kanto. Well OK it isn’t really breaking any new grounds in terms of beginnings for pokémon. After moving in, talking to various characters; including your pokemon professor cousin Kukui, your new friend Hau, and a couple others, and rescuing a strange pokemon for a mysterious girl named Lillie. You get your starter pokemon and continue your adventure from there. As it goes on, various obstacles–ranging from dealing with the hip-hop obsessed members of the new evil gang ‘team skull’ to figuring out the mystery behind the strange pokemon mentioned earlier–will try to stop you from completing your ‘Island Trials’, this game’s version of Gyms.
Speaking of trials, let’s talk game-play. It’s the standard turn-based combat affair inter spaced with the exploration of routes, caves, etc. But there’s so many great additions and changes to this formula, yet it still has that pokemon feel. One example of these great additions is after defeating a pokemon for the first time, every subsequent encounter with it you’ll see how effective your pokemon’s moves will be against it. Another great change is the introduction of new Ride Pokemon, but unlike X and Y these ride pokemon can be called anywhere that’s outside at any time by a simple press of the Y button. They serve as a replacement for HMs, which means no more “HM slaves”, the bicycle, and a couple of other mechanics.
In terms of graphics and performance Sun looks pretty good for a 3DS game; it has some improved textures, more diverse camera angles during dialog, and better character animations. However because of this the game’s frame rate can tank on older 3DS models whenever there’s more then two pokemon on screen at once. But other than that the game runs fine pretty much everywhere else.
When it comes to difficulty, Sun can be a fun challenge at times. The pace at which your pokemon level up will usually leave them about 5 – 10 levels higher than most trainers with the exception of bosses. And most of the trainers won’t use any real complex strategies until the end game, but even then a there are some that can pose a considerable threat.
Sun/Moon soundtrack is pretty great. There are so many memorable battle tracks and route themes that it reminds me of the days of FireRed and its soundtrack.
So all in all Pokemon Sun/Moon is a pretty great entry for the series and has become my new personal favorite pokemon game. It has lifted off the old and rusty chains that were pokemon’s dated mechanics and has turned into not just a good pokemon game, but a great RPG.