Well, you might have seen this one coming from a mile off. Because I love playing on my handheld, I was ,of course, going to play Pokémon Sun and Moon. Well, I choose to play Sun. Also, I played on the old-school 3DS. Because I haven’t bought a New 3DS just yet. I might do that next year when I have a bit more budget. In any case, it’s time to take a look at one of the biggest games from Nintendo this year. Is it any good or is it a failure? Is this game worthy enough to start a whole new generation of Pokémon or should we all shout to Nintendo to stop? Here is my opinion on the matter. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or this article in the comment section. One little note: I have written this review as spoiler free as possible!
Childhood of Pokémon
I have been playing almost every Pokémon game from the very first Pokémon games. I owe a lot to the Pokémon series.But, let’s not go into a whole personal story about how this series influenced my life. That story is for another time. Speaking about stories, usually, the story in these kinds of Pokémon games is pretty generic.
The start of this game is almost the same as all the other Pokémon games. You move to a new place and you meet the Professor of that area. He gives you your first Pokémon and you go on a quest. But it doesn’t take long before new and fresh story ideas get introduces.
To avoid spoilers, I’m not going in-depth about the story of this game. Honestly, I think that the story could be been written better. I can’t put my finger on why, but the story didn’t pull me in like other games can. I have a theory, though. This game tried to do something new with the Pokémon-francishe. They tried to stay away from the usual “8 badges, defeat evil team, capture legendary and defeat elite four” story. Yet, various story elements make a return.
I think that the story would have been better if some main characters referenced the older games. It would have been interesting if the Professor said: “Gyms, we don’t have that here. Here, you do various trails to earn Z-Crystals.” Something I truly like in the writing is that it’s variable. The reactions after a big battle can differ if you have used something or not. Like characters can get impressed if you defeat them without using any Z-Move.
But that’s enough talk about the story. Since otherwise I might go into spoiler territory. Let’s keep it at: “It’s a decent story that could have been polished a bit more.”
The visuals of this game are pretty good on the New 3DS. I have seen various people on the train playing the game on the New 3DS, and concluded that the visuals on the old 3DS take a pretty big hit. I honestly think that some parts of the game look a generation behind on the old 3DS. If you want the best visual experience, I think it would be for the best that you play this game on the New 3DS.
The visual presentation of this game is pretty well done. Everything looks pretty colorful and pops out. It’s clear that the developers have put a lot of care into the visuals, which brings me to another reason why I recommend to play this game on the New 3DS. The frame-rate. I’m under the impression that the game sometimes slows down more on the old 3DS systems than on the New 3DS systems. I had several times where I had to wait before Pokémon started attacking each other, which is why I’m really gl ad Nintendo didn’t implement any 3D in this game! Otherwise, this game would go in the single frame-rate digits. Which it sometimes comes pretty close too. Especially in double battles for me.
Just a bit too much…
This game adds a lot of new mechanics. It also upgrades some old mechanics to create a whole new experience. The clothing customization is back from Pokémon X and Y, and it’s still as expensive as in those games. The Pokémon Riding mechanic is also back, but now with a twist. You can page Pokémon in. These replace the HM’s from the previous games. Yes, HM’s aren’t in this game anymore, and no HM returns as a TM, so these moves can’t be learned in this game.
The Pokémon petting mini-game returns, and you have a Festival Plaza to manage. You can also take pictures from hidden Pokémon and receive likes for them, as well as maintaining an island in Poké Pelago, or fight in a Battle Royale. So, with all these distractions, don’t forget you have the main story to complete. Oh, and let’s not forget that Pokémon can call for backup during battles. (If only you can bring in a second Pokémon at that stage…)
There is so much to do in this game, which is a positive in my book. While I can understand that it maybe overwhelming for some people, where by some mechanics get glanced over, but I think overall it is handled pretty well. The only nitpick I have is that the new features, and mechanics are introduced too quickly. You barely learned about the “picture taking” mechanic, then ten minutes later, you learn how Pokémon Rides work. It can become a bit too much sometimes…
Which brings me to another point. In my honest opinion, there is sometimes just too many animations in the battles. Opening doors now require you to press “A”. You go into an animation to open the door, the screen goes to black, and it shows you entering the building while the screen fades back in, and that isn’t the worst of it.
I wish they added a feature where you can easily skip the “Z-moves”. I stopped using the Z-moves since they take way too long to play. Here is an idea, what if after you have seen the animation one time, you can skip it the upcoming times.
More so than my other nitpicks, what bugs me the most is the amount of menus and visual flair you get when capturing a Pokemon, though interesting and all, sometimes I’m frantically pressing “A” to try and get back into the action.
Some familiar features also get a downgrade. The new fishing feature is lame in my opinion. You can only fish at a few spots. And sadly enough, some features like a Safari Zone and triple battles are absent from this game. Also, double battles are barely present, and hordes are surprisingly absent in this game.
So, I’m going to come out and say it. This game isn’t too challenging. I was able to get to the end-game without being defeated once. Sometimes there is no challenge. Once or twice, a fight got pretty dicey since I forgot to heal my Pokémon, and something I dislike a whole lot is that most trainers you meet in the routes don’t have more than three Pokémon. Not even the bosses. That’s such a shame. It’s improved when compared to the previous games (OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire) but not enough.
This could have been easily fixed. Introduce difficulty modes in Pokémon. One for newcomers to learn the mechanics of the game and enjoy it, and another for long time players like myself where everything is much more difficult.
The game has too much hand-holding in my opinion. These things wouldn’t happen in the harder difficulties either.
One feature I love a whole lot is that now you get the result of an attack before you do it. So, you don’t have to remember which attack is effective to which Pokémon. The catch here is that you had to do the attack at least once against that opponent. So, when you do attack X to Pokémon X… you won’t see the results if you use attack X on Pokémon Y. Unless you have used attack X on Pokémon Y.
As for the controls in this game, they are pretty great. Apart from some minor menu issues, I never had any problems with them. Speaking of the menus, I love how you can choose the order of the buttons yourself. This way I can finally choose in which order I want my buttons. I love customization like this! If only the “B” button worked every time I pressed it. Yes, sometimes the “B” button didn’t cancel an option, it rather didn’t do a single thing.
The music and sound design in this game is amazing. While it’s not the best soundtrack in a Pokémon game, in my opinion, it’s one of the better ones. The sound design is pretty well done. I love the ambient noise in caves. You can sometimes hear Pokémon chirping in the background. It adds so much atmosphere to the game.
So, I said everything I wanted to say about this game. It’s time to wrap this article up.
I’m somehow certain that this is an unpopular opinion but here I go… I think that this game is a step in the right direction for Pokémon games, but there is so much missed potential. The game tries to please everyone. It adds so many new features to please longtime players but they make the game easy and accessible for newcomers.
The game could have been so much better if there was more content aimed towards the long time fans. Since due to the easy difficulty, this game is over pretty quickly.
Also, I think I’m going to buy a New 3DS to play this game again with better visuals and performance, since that’s something that really brought the game down for me.
I recommend this game to anybody who loves Nintendo, Pokémon and 3DS games, as well as a lot of other people, since it brings old and new fans together. Which is something that makes me overlook a lot of the shortcomings of this game.
The game is great, but not perfect. The game could have used some more polish, but what we got is an amazing fun time, and a great way to end the year. I’m so looking forward to what the Nintendo Switch port will bring.
So, that was everything I wanted to say about this game. Thank you for reading this review and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article, but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day!
Guest writer note: If you enjoy this article and/or like to read about retro games and such, feel free to drop by my blog! Where I talk about all the games I have played, been playing and will play.
Editor note: This review has been altered a bit to fit our website. For those that may be interested in reading it in it’s original format. You can fin it here: Link