Well wouldn’t you know! The long-awaited seventh generation of Pokemon has finally graced us here in the UK! Aiming to shake up the formula of Pokemon as a whole, how does Pokemon Sun and Moon fare against it’s preceding generations? Let’s find out!
Now, one thing that should be noted is that Pokemon Sun and Moon, whilst being conventional Pokemon games, do not follow the same form of structure from past Pokemon games – With the new Alola region, Gyms have been removed completely and have been substituted with the new Island Trials, small missions that you undergo to collect Z-Crystals, which now replace Gym Badges – These Z-Crystals can then be given as held items to Pokemon to utilise extremely powerful Z-Moves, most of which will deal an abhorrent amount of damage to your target.
Going back to the Trials, they all vary in their objective and theme, with the first having you hunt Yoongus’ (Yoonguses? Yoongeese? Yoongui? Yoongai?) within an ancient cavern where they had made their dens. Upon finishing a Trial, you’re then faced with something very new for Pokemon – A Totem Pokemon; Totem Pokemon instantly gain a random stat boost in one stat, have a higher chance of calling for help from other Pokemon and often employ tactics like using their summoned allies to lower your stats or boosting up the stats of the Totem Pokemon to effectively sweep your team. One small detail that I personally loved was that, for Pokemon Sun and Moon, the first Totem Pokemon was completely different according to what version you were playing – Moon got Alolan Raticate, and Sun got Gumshoos.
This leads me to what I deem to be one of the best changes made in Pokemon Sun and Moon – As long as you’re not grinding or abusing Z-Moves, this game is more difficult than a lot of the previous Pokemon games that came before it; Totem Pokemon rightfully feel like bosses, enemy trainers have Pokemon appropriate to your level according to where you are, and Wild Pokemon have a much wider array of levels that they can appear from. This is definitely a breath of fresh air given the extremely easy campaign of Pokemon X & Y, where every trainer was easy to defeat, and offered no challenge.
The new region of Alola is also a step in the right direction for Pokemon, given its’ heavy focus on culture, tradition and nature, Alola tries its’ very hardest to show off a wide variety of locales, environments and sights for Trainers to experience; and, to be honest, it pulls it off bloody well! Some islands will be covered in snow, some at the foot of a volcano, others on rocky cliffs and wastelands; there sure is a lot to see here in Alola!
The new Pokemon too have been the subject of debate as of late, with 79 new Pokemon (80 if you include the unreleased Mythic Pokemon, but I’ll refrain from talking further about it due to spoilers), there sure are a lot more to love…And some to hate. Personally, I’m not a fan of Pokemon like Beware, Minior or Crabominal, however I do generally approve of the majority of the design choices made here.
Now onto the main conflict of Pokemon Sun and Moon, the enemy Team Skull – I, initially, gave them an incredibly bad rap (Haha…Geddit…?) given their unclear goal, silly rap moves, battle music and overall style, I thought they were nothing more than another non-serious Team Rocket ripoff…And, whilst some of that may be true, I have to say that Team Skull are some of the most charismatic, charming, yet intimidating Pokemon villains to date. I won’t spoil their leader, Guzma’s plans due to some amazing spoilers, but rest assured, they mean business.
Speaking of their battle music, this has to be one of the points I highlight most – The OST for Pokemon Sun and Moon, in my opinion, is the best in the entire franchise, out of all generations; highlights include Team Skull, Team Skull Admin Plumeria, Guzma, and the three spoiler themes from the end of the main story which are just simply amazing, with every other piece of OST inbetween being equally as brilliant.
A lot of other minor, yet brilliant changes made to Pokemon as a whole include a wide variety of ‘quality-of-life’ improvements, which include submissions on routes, quicker navigation, the removal of HM moves, and improved mobility – Everything finally feels up to date with the modern gaming world, leaving behind the rustic control format of previous games, and leaping into the dark of a whole new era of Pokemon.
Pokemon Amie also has seen a big improvement, being able to be used after battles to improve happiness quickly, boost up a Pokemon’s stats, and to even heal status effects! A new feature too includes Pokemon being able to survive 1-hit-KO moves from enemy Pokemon (Not online, thankfully) if your Pokemon’s happiness is maxed out, which helps out a lot more than it sounds like it would!
So, on a closing note, what do I think of Pokemon Sun and Moon, having played every single entry in the main franchise?
All I have to say is that I love Pokemon Sun and Moon, and has now wormed it’s way as one of my favourite generations of Pokemon; I look forward to the innovations Game Freak will eventually bring with Generation 8, or even with the Diamond and Pearl remakes that everyone basically know are already confirmed at this point.
I would rate Pokemon Sun and Moon a 9 / 10.