Currently celebrating its 20th anniversary year, Pokémon is amongst the best game franchises on earth. With around 380 million games sold, it consistently outdo both Call Of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. And therefore was before Pokémon GO. The summer’s new wave of pokéfever has elevated the pocket monsters’ pop culture credentials more than ever, which new mainline 3DS sequel is poised to make best use of the improved attention. So it’s a great job it’s the best Pokémon game ever.
For people who have only ever played Pokémon GO, the pokemon games might not be quite everything you imagined. Although they were originally aimed only at kids they’re vastly more advanced compared to the app’s simplistic touchscreen gameplay. The essential idea is still to capture ‘em all, but the mainline Pokémon titles are essentially open-ended role-playing video games. Think a household-friendly version of Skyrim, though with turn-based combat featuring an army of friendly monsters as your means of defence.
Sun and Moon are sold separately, but they’re essentially the same game and you’re not expected to buy both. Together they may be basically Pokémon 7, with all the minor differences between your two releases – primarily a few unique pokémon in each – merely meant to encourage trading between players. Capturing your pokémon is only the beginning you can see, as you train and evolve your critters to fight through the game’s story and in the end other human players.
Each pokémon you capture posseses an elemental type (everything from grass to ghost) and can learn four moves at the same time to work with in battle. These have similar kind of alignments and quite often various adverse reactions, like paralysing an enemy or lowering their accuracy. This generates a highly complex web of vulnerabilities, defences, and bonuses, where even pokémon that are several experience levels below their opponent have a chance if they have the correct abilities.
Matching attacks off to the right clicker games online, and breeding and training increasingly useful creatures, quickly becomes an obsession. Especially after you realise that you have several layers of complexity underneath the basic stats of each and every creature, should you choose to go down that exact rabbit hole. That may be entirely up to you though, and when you don’t would like to explore the intricacies of Effort Values, Natures, and IV training then you’ll never even know they exist (except we merely mentioned).
Even back into the Game Boy days Pokémon was always an effective open world game, enabling you to go wherever you need and put off of the main story so long as you enjoy. There have always been a couple of story barriers from time to time, just because there is in Grand Theft Auto and everything, but Sun and Moon are filled with them, and feel much more restrictive than usual to the first a few hours. Which includes the possibility being frustrating, because just like all Pokémon games the story is basically inconsequential and incredibly not the main objective by any means.
But although we worried that the prosperity of Pokémon GO might suggest that Sun and Moon will be dumbed down and simplified for the wider audience that’s untrue. The restrictions initially might upset the ones that wish to run off instantly but they’re an intelligent enough precaution to be sure the game can be as accessible as possible.
During battles the overall game also now indicates which moves are most effective, after you’ve battled that same kind of pokémon once, but even as veterans from the series we found this useful. Indeed, the video game does its best not to hide any information during a fight, and this is only able to be viewed as a positive thing.
Additionally, there are notable changes on the structure from the game, with traditional gym battles being ditched in favour of ‘island trials’. Sun and Moon are set on the group islands inspired by Hawaii, as well as the idea would be to travel across them and take on all the head kahunas as well as their captains. It’s still not too different to the thought of gyms, nevertheless it does permit more variety than simply fighting your path through a line of higher level pokémon, as you collect cooking ingredients or help with science experiments (whilst battling pokémon, naturally).
Also gone for your game are HMs, which means you don’t need to teach a pokémon a move like Cut or Fly in order to use them from the game world. Instead you bring in specialised pokémon that you could ride on the back of, so that you will no longer need to fill your party with otherwise useless pokémon that you’re just keeping around with regard to their special abilities.
Surprisingly, the mega evolutions from Pokémon X and Y were also taken from the primary game, and even though it can be done to use them eventually they’re replaced in importance by Z-Powers. As soon as you collect the relevant elemental crystal by beating a captain, these could be given to your pokémon so they can perform one super powerful attack per battle – probably the most elaborate of which seem like Final Fantasy style summonses.
As ever there are a large number of new pokémon to find, with a few impressively weird ones which also have very distinctive powers. Rather than just as a different collection of stats there’s critters like the fish Wishiwashi that can school together in to a giant whale-like form, or maybe the bird Oricorio which changes form dependant upon which nectar it’s been sipping. Although the game also does well in mixing the newest pokémon with all the old. Especially with the latest regional variations of traditional creatures, which often use a fresh look, type, or abilities.
In reality, the overall game does very well over-all in reflecting the very best ideas from the series so far and building to them, like the Nintendogs style pampering of your pokémon following a battle. At the beginning this seems a pointless novelty, but not only can it remove status ailments after having a battle nevertheless it improves your relations with the pokémon to the point where they’ll start avoiding attacks more or hanging through to their last pip of health in battles.
But even these are only the most notable level changes therefore we haven’t got the room to correctly discuss Poké Pelago (a set of single screen islands where you may send idle pokémon to teach up or hunt for treasure), Festival Plaza (the principle online interface where you can battle and trade with other individuals), the enjoyment new Battle Royal multiplayer mode (essentially a four-player Pokémon deathmatch), the Poké Finder photography mini-game, or maybe the huge range of new items which can be held and used by the pokémon themselves.
With regards to flaws you can find few surprises, with the biggest issue being the possible lack of artificial intelligence when fighting ordinary enemies. The moves are clearly being chosen at random and therefore can spoil the jubilation of any difficult win when you know it absolutely was only since the stupid computer opponent missed an evident opportunity. Anything beyond that is certainly just nitpicking, but it’s a shame that to keep the frame rate the only part of the game that’s in 3D is flappy bird game, although the graphics are extremely good that’s very easy to forgive.
Even script is preferable to usual, and although it’s never anywhere near as funny as Nintendo games such as Paper Mario, there are far more when compared to a few good lines in there in order to avoid dextpky49 saccharine storyline from becoming an excessive amount of to deal with. We particularly enjoyed the amusingly pathetic wannabe gangsters from main bad guy group Team Skull.
Any qualms about the initial linearity can also be quickly forgotten once you realise precisely how expansive the final game is. For most players, a Pokémon game doesn’t even begin properly until you’ve spent the dozen roughly hours needed to complete the tale, after which you can dedicate you to ultimately training and breeding, and also pursuing the newest Ultra Beast creatures and taking on the particular highest level computer opponents.
We’re trying to avoid spoiling a lot of secrets here, because Sun and Moon are absolutely bursting along with them, and purely in terms of good value the games are away from the scale. It’s rare a sequel in a long-running series can please both veterans and newcomers in equal measure, but Sun and Moon achieve that balance almost perfectly. The final result is not only the very best Pokémon game ever, but one of the best games ever produced.