To be honest, Sun and Moon
might be my favorite in the series so far, tied with Black and White
I loved B&W for it's story and characters. Same with ORAS and I adored all the new features and improvements from their predecessors and it hit right at home with me since Sapphire was my first PKMN game. But Sun and Moon
...these games may actually have the darkest story in the series. Are these games perfect? No. But let me tell you, they are a HUGE improvement over X and Y
. So I wanted to share my thoughts on these games and how much I freaking adore them and I wanted to share some things that bugged me. SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T PLAYED THE GAMES OR HAVEN'T FINISHED THEM YET. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
What I liked about the recent games, starting from B&W,
Game Freak based their regions off of places that aren't tied with Japan. Nothing wrong with Japan at all, it's just nice to see something different. As one in Tomodachi Life would say, "a change of scenery is always nice." And it's nice to see them tie something in from that specific place into the game. With Black and White
and their sequels it was New York and New Jersey what with New York City's grand buildings and bridges and Jersey's...umm...poisonous air? I mean there IS a poison gym there... X and Y
was based off of France with it's Eiffel Tower and other historical landmarks (not to mention the gratuitous French). This time, Sun and Moon
is based on Hawaii. And they went all out. I can tell Game Freak visited the place for inspiration right down to the animals that are and were native there. Even nearly all the main characters are named after plants that are native in Hawaii.
The Alola region is separated in islands much like Hawaii. It's great as it gives the game more room to flesh out certain places, but I do find myself getting lost at times and I forget where some places are. Thankfully the Rotom Dex serves as a map. But I was disappointed that they left out what was in ORAS; flying to routes. Heck, just flying on Latios/Latias in general. In Sun and Moon, you have to page Charizard to fly you to the Pokémon Center nearest to your location since there are NO HMs. That's fine, but I miss the convenience from the previous game. Not to mention I constantly opened the Pokémon menu looking for my flying mon. XD It's something I have to get used to. I'm surprised that there are no HMs as I mentioned before. I'm actually happy about that, but again, I keep opening the menu to find someone on my team who flies.
Damn you, muscle memory!The Pokémon
Anyway, let's talk about the Pokémon. I'll get to the features and story in a bit. I don't hate any of the new ones. Okay there are a few designs I'm not a fan of, but for the most part, I don't hate them and I LOVE the Alolan forms! This game made me want to have a Muk on my team. Muk is a TANK. Alolan Raichu is just adorable and I'm glad Game Freak gave more attention to Raichu. I always loved that little guy more than Pikachu.
And Alolan Exeggutor is so derpy and OP. Memes aside, it is a good Pokémon. There are plenty of good Pokémon to choose from! Also, is it just me, or did Bug types get a boost in these games? Right down to their stats and attacks! Leech Life used to do, what, 20 damage? Now it does 80! Like, wow!
The starters are all great, and their final forms have reasons for looking that way. Decidueye is based off of trees that lost their leaves as well as Stilt Owls that were once native to Hawaii before they went extinct, hence the Ghost typing. Incineroar is based on Heel professional wrestlers, villainous ones. That explains the Dark typing
I still think its an excuse to not call it a Fighting type but that's just me I still like it.
Finally, Primarina is based on Sirens and Mermaids that are in fairytales, which explains the Fairy typing. Some of the new Pokémon I love are Mudsdale (it's a HORSE you can ride), Wimpod/Golisopod (for obvious reasons that I'll get to later
), Decidueye (I just adore the Rowlet line and Decidueye's typing), Toucannon (it's a FUCKING TOUCAN and it's shiny form has the bisexual color scheme
), and Tsareena (that design omfg) just to name a few. The Features
There are some nice features that help with gameplay and some that are...eh. Well, they brought back Pokémon Amie: it's now Pokémon Refresh. You still feed your Pokémon food (beans instead of poke puffs) and now you can groom them after a battle and even get rid of those annoying status effects. That's great! They got rid of the mini games which I don't mind since they were a chore to get through just to increase the heart gauges and I would only play the puzzle one.
They also kept the EXP. Share as it was from X and Y
which makes training easier since the game can get difficult as hell very quickly
. Other features I love are the Trainer customizations (though they can be limited, maybe we'll get more via DLC?) and you don't have to WEAR A HAT, and Pokémon Pelago. If you want to get more beans for Refresh you go there and you can raise some stats and can even find some evolutionary stones and other rare items. The only down side is that you have to wait about every 12 hours for the outcome which can be annoying. And to get certain evolutionary items, you have to look up a guide because to find most of them, its convoluted as hell. Like, to get a Metal Coat and a Razor Claw, you have to have the Compound Eyes ability and the move Thief
and use it in battle with a Magnemite (metal coat) and a Jangmo-o (razor claw). Seriously, who would have thought THAT? To make things worse? They only hold one about 5%-10% of the time. What was Game Freak THINKING?! I spent HOURS trying to get that Razor Claw. And I found a shiny Magnemite while finding a Metal Coat.
I'm not a huge fan of the Battle Tree (then again I'm never a fan of those Battle Tower/Frontier parts in the games anyway) and I don't care for the Battle Royal. What bugs me is that they got rid of Pokémon leveling up in the Day Care (I used to abuse the hell out of that) only because people were annoyed by their Pokémon leveling up and forgetting certain moves that they wanted them to keep. That's understandable, but they could've made that optional. It can be jarring seeing my Ditto not leveling up.
Again, something I have to get used to.The Story and Characters
But first, a recap on all the main games' stories with my opinion on each. Because this story is way
different from the others.
Usually, a story in a Pokémon game can be an after thought. At least, the first few gens had that feel, though I could tell they at least tried to put effort in a story. Gen 1 I can forgive since its the first one and we had no idea where it could go from there. It was your basic "catch 'em all" and trading game. No one had any idea that this simple game would later go on to become the highest selling franchise in Nintendo history. So Gen 2 came along and their story was also pretty simple, but the interesting thing was that it was a SEQUEL, something in the series that didn't happen until Gen 5. And...that's pretty much it. There's some interesting lore and you do stop Team Rocket, but that's it. HG/SS
at least improved some of the story and Silver has a character arc, but...there's not much going on there.
Also it's overrated as hell
. Gen 3 had more of an edge to it and had beautiful color schemes and a nice environmental message and feel to it, but again nothing new. At all. No character development, heck none of them are even vaguely interesting. This is why I ADORED the remakes not from a nostalgic viewpoint, but it improved so much that the originals had issues with. There's a bigger story, the region felt MASSIVE, the characters are more interesting, even the BAD GUYS were interesting and I love how they each had their own personality. They made WALLY likeable for me. He had potential in the originals and they wasted him, but in ORAS
he shined through and went from being frail to having courage and even mastered Mega Evolution
! If that's not character development, I don't know what is!
Gen 4 was...okay. At the time, it was better than RSE, at least. They also made Team Galactic threatening, but it's safe to say Platinum definitely was the better out of the three. A better story, everything came together, some of the characters were a bit interesting, and Cyrus was complex as hell. Cynthia contributed more to the plot and Barry was also a decent rival, especially in Platinum! And the region itself was interesting as it was separated by Mt. Coronet and the mythology got my attention.
Gen 5...OH BOY. Where do I begin? I just adored these games for their story. It was much darker than the previous ones, the fact that Ghetsis wanted all Pokemon for himself and it was implied he could've killed N off when he was done using him. Team Plasma may have been a bit annoying but I understood their intentions; to protect Pokémon from abusive, neglectful Trainers. Heck, it made ME question whether or not capturing Pokémon from their habitats and making them fight was a good thing or not. That's great that it makes the players think about their actions. Yeah it was all lies by Ghetsis, but I enjoyed that take on the series. I loved how both games were different depending on which one you play (dare I say Black is superior due to N's ideals to the players' truths?). Sure the whole "gen 5 Pokémon only" turned a few people off, but it made for a great challenge. A Nuzlocke challenge,
if you get my drift.
Oh yeah, I have a comic to finish, don't I?
Anyway, the characters are great! Not perfect, but better than the previous gens! We got characters that actually have emotional moments and question their purposes. Cheren wonders if he'll become a stronger Trainer and a stronger person, Bianca wants to figure out what she'll do with her life, and N found out most of his life was a lie and a set up and he wanders off trying to figure himself out. These are very mature moments even for a Pokémon game! I was happy that Bianca left her home, I was glad that Cheren kept trying to strengthen his team, and I cried when N left with Zekrom/Reshiram to find his purpose and to see other Trainers. When all the sages tried to take out the player before the grand finale, who should arrive but the big damn heroes, the Gym Leaders! I was so happy the Gym Leaders actually DID something!
Now about their sequels...talk about a giant step backwards. Right down to the villain we already had, Ghetsis. Colress really isn't anything special (even with his awesome theme music and his weird Internet Explorer haircut), there aren't many new characters and even if there were newer ones they were pretty forgettable. I did like Roxie's design and her gym, and I liked the Hollywood-esque minigames, and the part where N has his own Big Damn Hero moment, but that's about it. So basically the beginning and the end are the best parts. It's just...bland. Gen 2 at least had some good moments and even their remakes were better with their added material and I miss walking with my Pokémon! Sure some of the new music is awesome, N is just great, I liked Champion Iris and her theme song even though I question how the hell SHE became Champion of all people (was it ever explained?), and I liked where Cheren and Bianca are now with their lives (Bianca is just adorable), but that's it. It was pretty much a waste of time for me. Sorry to people who liked these two games, but they did nothing for me.
And, finally on to Gen 6. It's not any better. Actually I take it back, it's much better over Black 2/White 2
in terms of gameplay, graphics, a more open environment, Super training was a GODSEND, Pokémon Amie was cute, and I honestly liked the newer Pokémon a little better than the Gen 5 ones, not that I hated them. Mega Evolution I questioned at first, but it was needed for some Pokémon including some in ORAS
. So those are the good things. The bad things? Well, not bad, more like...mediocre. The characters were the most forgettable out of the entire franchise. I can't even remember most of their names! I can't remember any of the Gym Leaders, either! The players' friends, save for Shauna, were so bland. I'm pretty sure they have a following, but I'm not part of it, sorry.
Shauna may be the only one out of them that went through SOME development. Even if it was little. As disappointing as Team Flare was for me (I still love them for being the fashion police), Lysandre was sort of complex. Not as complex as Cyrus, but close. When I saw him shed a tear at the mention of him killing all life and thus killing all Pokémon, it made me think that maybe there's a soul in him. I know the game wanted us to care about AZ and his lost Pokémon, but...I didn't care. He contributed so little to the plot that I forgot he was even in the game! I didn't think there was enough build up. Speaking of, the pacing near the end was rushed as hell. Right to the part where you have to stop Lysandre from summoning the giant weapon everything felt fast at that point. Then when it stops it's like, "well that just happened, back to Pokémon". Yeah, I was not a fan of this story. Sorry. There's a reason why people love the Looker after game story way more than the main one. Now keep in mind, having a weak story doesn't mean that the games weren't enjoyable to me. It's still Pokémon. I'll love it no matter what.
And if you don't agree with me, that's fine!
Phew! Okay, long rant aside, now I can finally talk about the story in Sun and Moon
. What do I like about it? First off, you're a kid starting a Pokémon journey while battling other Trainers to become the Champion. Sounds familiar? But get this: No Gyms, no Gym Badges, no HMs, no HM Slaves, and the story stands out as its own from the rest of the series. I love how different the game is from the rest of the series. As you can guess this is a deconstruction of the Pokémon genre and mechanics. Not to mention a sort of deconstruction on the basic plot. I love when stories do stuff like that. Take something that's been done before, and make it something that people don't expect. An example would be Madoka Magica, a deconstruction on the magical girl genre. It takes the concept and makes it more twisted and tragic in contrast to other magical girl shows that are mostly cute and rarely tragic. Back to Sun and Moon
, speaking of twisted and tragic, there is a bit of tragedy in this game. Again, I'm warning you if you don't want to be spoiled.
Okay, so instead of Gyms you have island challenges, and they can be actually challenging! I'm not kidding, this game can be hard at times! The Kahuna Battles can be pretty hard or easy depending on how you play, but the Totem Pokémon. Oh my God. They're geniuses. Their strategies are amazing. This is such a nice breath of fresh air! I've always wanted more of a challenge in the series, especially since X and Y
was so EASY. So while you're completing this challenge you meet this boy named Hau. A lot of people either love him or hate him. Love him for being a sweet goofball reminiscent of some one like Steven Universe. Hate him for being just that and that he's not an ass hat rival like Blue/Green or Silver. I can understand that, but I really love Hau as a character. Even he went through a development and loves and cares for his friends while at the same time wishes to become the Champion. Also, MALASADAS!!! Then there's Lillie who I have to say, is one of the best female characters since Bianca (even better than Bianca!). Her character growth is astounding and slightly familiar to that of Wally from ORAS.
She started out frail and afraid to touch Pokémon, and later overcame her fears and stood up to others who harmed her and her friends. Later on we meet Gladion, who also goes through a character arc, but I don't think it was as strong as Lillie's. Maybe it was subtle. He goes from despising the player and others to being a decent rival or at least the ass hat rival people wanted. You can understand why he's so upset and angry all the time as the story progresses. I'm not a fan of his design, though.
Every time I see him I hear "Crawling" or something.
Eventually, the players, as well as some Trial Captains come across Team Skull. Oh my god I could talk about this team all day.
Aside from the story, Team Skull made this game for me.
Not only were they hilarious to the point I actually laughed out loud, but they have motivations that I understand. They're not out there to harm Pokémon, they're not crime lords, they're not going to summon some legendary God Pokémon to vanquish the world, kill everyone, set fire to the sun and steal the moon and bring forth a black hole that will consume the universe. No. They're just some gang of misfits and bullies. Most of the grunts are Trainers who either failed the island challenge, were kicked out by their parents, or were abused. They only want to get by and they treat one another like a family. They genuinely care about what happens to their higher ups. This is something I've never seen in a Pokemon game other than ORAS
. Plumeria, their admin, is great too. She's basically the straight man of the gang and she has an arc. Not a big arc, but it's good enough.
Their boss- oh I'm sorry, the hated boss who beats you down, and beats you down, and never lets up: Big Bad Guzma is one of my favorite Pokémon characters. Not only for...umm...obvious reasons...
but he has a tragic backstory. Heck, most of the characters have tragic backstories! From what we could tell from that one house on Route 2, his childhood home, Guzma may have been a child prodigy. He dreamt of becoming a Trial Captain but never achieved his dream, saying he failed the challenge. He was a skilled Trainer, but never brought home the gold, perhaps the gold that his father wanted. While it was implied that his father would abuse him, in the original Japanese version, he said he had beaten him black and blue.
Guzma couldn't take it and ran away but not before getting back at his father. Guzma left without telling anyone, he wanted to prove himself, he wanted to get back at Alola because he could never win. This is why he started Team Skull, to get failures like him to join his gang to take their revenge. Yeah, yeah Freudian Excuse, but I love tragic villain backstories. Oh wait, did I say villain? Guzma? The villain? Ha..ha...hahahahahaha.....ehhh...
The REAL bad guys are The Aether Foundation. And absolutely no one saw this coming. At all. Nope. No one. Not a single soul. I hope you spotted my sarcasm. Yeah, Game Freak built them up to being the secret bad guy team that was using Team Skull as a red herring or something...even though they showed them in the intro running after Lillie, and one of the grunts had a slasher smile. Even Lusamine had a slasher smile at one point later on. Game Freak, who the hell were you fooling? Turns out the Aether Foundation was financially supporting Team Skull making TS do their bidding. Now, what was AF trying to do? Well, it's complicated. Lusamine, the president of AF, had a husband who studied Ultra Beasts (basically Eldritch Abominations) and wormholes and he went through one and never came back. He was presumed dead. Lusamine, understandably distraught by all this, tries to find these Ultra Beasts and doing so made her lose her sanity. Her children tried to save her but no one could help. So her kids took off with two Pokémon that would help her capture the Ultra Beasts. Gladion took Type: Null and Lillie took Neb- I mean Cosmog. So, what is Lusamine trying to accomplish? She wants revenge on the Ultra Beasts and maybe finish what her husband could not complete; research them. But, staying in contact with a certain one made her lose every last bit of sanity she ever had. She became manipulative, violent, and downright evil
and wanted to unleash these monsters on Alola and quite possibly the rest of the world. Thankfully the player and Lillie can stop her in one of my favorite final Villain Team battles EVER. Also her design at that point was...well. It was gross. It was cool, but gross. Lusamine was a great villain and she might be the most evil out of all of them.
After that whole fiasco, you head to the Pokémon League, fight the Kahunas again, and fight the one man who started your journey, Kukui. Then you're Alola's first Champion! And you can fight challengers who want to take your title! I love this addition! This was needed!
Now, what did I not like about this whole story? Well, the story itself is fine, the pacing as great; it doesn't try to rush itself, the morals are good, the whole meaning of the game being about family (Ohana means family!) was emotional, and the characters are believable and I get wrapped up in their drama, it all came down to some annoying mechanics as I mentioned way above and the build up of the Aether Foundation. Like I said before, Game Freak tried to fool us, but...come on! We all saw it coming! There was no way
Team Skull were the villains. They tried to steal a BUS SIGN and kidnapped a Donald Trump mongoose at worst. I mean okay, I wouldn't mind them being a secret bad team if it was KEPT A SECRET. I'm not talking about the early leaks in Hong Kong because that was stupid, I'm talking about the slasher smiles and Lusamine's clearly unhealthy obsession and all that. If you want to make them a surprise plot twist, then keep it that way! Don't drop obvious clues! Aside from that, I don't care about them as villains. Their designs are...kinda lame and they look a little off in the art work in terms of human anatomy.
Their shoes are so big they wouldn't look out of place in a Kingdom Hearts
game. I know not all of the employees are evil and genuinely want to help out the environment and Pokémon and that's great, but...wow. As a villain team they're lame.
I didn't enjoy them NEARLY as much as Team Skull. I did like Wicke though and Faba got like one laugh out of me. Finally, I wish we saw Lusamine after what had happened just for some closure, but apparently she and Lillie are off to Kanto to speak with Bill about Pokémon and human fusion. Maybe we'll see them again in a sequel? Or in the inevitable Gen 4 remakes? Or maybe in future DLCs?
Or Gen 1 remakes?
Overall, I enjoyed these games. It's Pokémon, of course I'll love it. I love the Alola region, it just seems like a feel-good place to be. Team Skull is interesting, Guzma is amazing, the characters are great. It has its faults, but it doesn't stop it from being a great game. I look forward to what Game Freak will do with the next installments. By the way, Ghetsis and Lusamine are tied for the award for being the worst parent ever. At least Lusamine got better, but still! TL;DR
I loved Sun and Moon
, but even I'll admit there are a few faults, but they're not big enough to detract from one of the best games in the series.What are your thoughts on these new games? Comment if you'd like! I'm curious!