Review: Pokemon Sun and Moon

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Are you tired of the same old Pokemon game?

Does it annoy the crap out of you to see a child that hasn’t aged a year fight to become the “very best” when he hasn’t even mastered type advantage?

Still waiting for Pokebank to be released so you can have you special EV trained Gengar only to realize that it can’t be used and all that work and all that breeding was for naught?

Then sit back, relax and keep your eyes to the sky! This is Pokemon Sun and Moon.

It took me a very long time to properly collect my thoughts for how exactly I felt about this game and I have to say that I am glad I took my time.

Let me start by saying that there is no such thing as a perfect game. I am sure that many games have come close and this game is no exception to that. There are so many things to love about this game.

Like what, Mr. Gamer?

Glad you asked!

I love the story change up in this particular game. Without any spoilers, you can throw away the standard “collect the badges and beat the Elite Four”. There aren’t any badges. It’s not about that at all. It’s about the relationship with your Pokemon and how you grow together as a team.

For example, this game introduces “Pokemon Refresh”, which gives you the ability to feed your Pokemon “pokebeans” to raise its affection. It also gives you the ability to heal status conditions, except fainting of course. When your Pokemon’s affection gets to a certain level, it will be able to take a fatal hit and survive, land a critical hit, or shake off a status condition mid battle. The game gives some generic lines such as “Pikachu is bursting with enthusiasm for the battle!” or “Snorlax took the hit for because it didn’t want you to be sad.” …when being sad is the first thing I felt when my Pokemon was down to one HP because I didn’t want to waste a turn to heal it and it just was there looking at me with it’s big eyes, hoping that I love the hard work it’s doing for me…aaand I’m tearing up…

Like I said, it’s all about growth you share together.

In addition to Pokemon Refresh is “Poke Pelago”. It is an island getaway for the Pokemon in your box where they can participate in fun activities like berry harvesting, treasure gathering, and hot spring baths. There is even a chance that wild Pokemon will come to the island and, if you give them attention they will decide to stay. You can upgrade with the different islands with the Pokemon you’ve caught and the berries you’ve collected. This is one of the best features of the game. I found myself going to it every day to see what my Pokemon had found for me or what new creature I had on my island! It’s really nice to have Pokemon come to you instead beating them into submission and stuffing them into what seems to be cramped spaces.

I can’t forget to mention the Festival Plaza. They really did but a lot into this game aside from new Pokemon. The Festival Plaza is this game’s communication hub where you can participate in missions, trade and battle local players, and get free items daily like the elusive bottle caps and special meals that level up your Pokemon. When this game was still fresh with me, I would wake up and check my island and get my quick run through of the plaza before waking up my wife. As an efficient gamer, I didn’t want to waste any time and I wanted to get my items the moment that the in-game times refreshed. It just had that much of a hold on me.

Sometimes, the music is overlooked in videogames, especially in a handheld game, like Pokemon where the main focus is the battles themselves. But this game had one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard in a Pokemon game. The Kahuna Battle theme beats the Lavender Town theme by only a few points. I have the soundtrack myself and I have that particular song on repeat. Heck, when I get rid of this crappy iPhone, I will be making that someone’s ringtone!

I just fell in love the music. From the battles with Hau, to the Kahunas, and even the battles with the generic Team Skulls, the Team Rocket of this game; all of it was amazing.

Speaking of Team Skull, have you seen them?!

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They look like the best and worst of a thug/gang stereotype but done hilariously beautiful. Anyone want to take bets about how many of them will be a ACEN this coming year? But I digress…

The most important part of any Pokemon is of course the…

EV and IV potential of the Pokemon?!

No, shut up Billy.

It’s the battles. Now Pokemon has not changed their formula for battling in the game to a large degree but I will say is that it is much easier for people who haven’t played a Pokemon in a long time or even at all.

In Pokemon Sun and Moon, when you are battling a Pokemon that you have encountered before, not necessarily caught, you will see whether the moves your Pokemon has will be “Super Effective”, “Not Every Effective”, or have “No Effect” aside from the standard “Effective”. I love this addition to the game.

And to the people that say that this game is too easy and the game is holding your hand, not giving you a challenge…I urge you to sit down and shut up before opening that hole on your face where you attempt to make words and maybe sentences come out.

First of all, the EXP Share that you get very early in the game is an optional item that you don’t HAVE to use. I repeat. You don’t have to use it. Does it make the journey much easier because you don’t have to worry about only having one powerhouse of a Pokemon? Of course! But for the tryhards and nuzlockers out there, just turn it off. It’s that simple.

It needs to be understood that the game has a very, very large audience of casual and hardcore gamers. That means that just because you, as a veteran, know that Fairy, the newest typing to hit the market, is super effective against Dragon, doesn’t mean that every player under the Aloan sun will. If the game can be presented in a matter that reaches more and more, similar to “The Game That Shall Not Be Named”, then what do you think they’re going to do? More players equals more money, whether they just play with their friends or trying to compete competitively. This makes it easier for everyone to battle.

In the beginning of this review I said that there is no such thing as a perfect game and now here is the other side to that coin.

After you’ve defeated the final not-spoiling-anything battle and finish your side quest, you have the opportunity to fight in the Battle Tree for honor, glory, and the illustrious battle items.

I want to make something very clear. This variation of the Battle Tree is the hardest and most unforgiving set of battles you will ever have. The game makes a team to counter yours so hard, if you haven’t already EV trained a team to fight Pokemon teams that you don’t even know about, you’re going to have a bad time. I mean it. The level of hax and just ridiculous team composition in the Battle Team is through the roof and this is the knife that stabbed me in the back and left me bleeding.

Maybe it’s my age or maybe it’s because I can’t just invest all of time into one game but running into such a high wall of difficulty when most of the game was smooth sailing was disheartening. I suppose, I could have somehow slowly grinded the one battle that I could win until I got one of the several items you need to EV train your Pokemon and then wash, rinse, repeat. But as one woman once said…

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I couldn’t see myself putting that much time investment anymore after already beating the story and then some. I only have a couple of people that I would make a competitive team for but , again, I run back into the issue of time. I didn’t find myself having a reason to play after that.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The game is still amazing. I will say right now that if you haven’t already picked this game up, do it right now. You will have a blast…up until you want to EV train. Maybe for the competitive masochists, it’ll be a blast. There’s nothing quite getting your ass handed to you by a Pyukumuku in second battle of the Tree after the first kid that you’d probably give a swirly to almost mopped the floor with you. The postgame just isn’t my cup of tea. Everything else beforeit ? Aces.

If I didn’t like the team I had and had more time on my hands, I would do it over again. That’s how good this game is. I would still recommend it veterans and newbies alike.

Pokemon Sun and Moon – Say Aloha (not Alola) to the arguably the best gaming the Pokemon Series.

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