If it aint broke, don’t fix it right? After Game Freak perfecting their gameplay mechanics on their first outing, they have managed to finally change the landscape that everyone has loved for the past 20 years.
Game Freak has managed to make something we’ve all loved even better by finally realizing how to get us off a grid based world. Gone are the days of only maneuvering in four directions and a welcome hello to a full-on 3D world. Pokemon Sun/Moon feel like a modern take of a home console JRPG for Nintendo’s ultra-popular Nintendo 3DS family of handhelds. Beautiful graphics and an amazing soundtrack add to the home console feel experience that Pokemon fans can almost feel the grasp of their first real Pokemon adventure on a home console. Don’t let that stop you from playing what rivals Game Freak’s best, Pokemon Gold/Silver and of the year’s best games.
The Pokemon formula is finally gone. Having to gather 8 gym badges and challenge the elite four are finally in the past, to an extent. Trials are now your main focus before challenging the elite four. Taking pictures, finding items, to battling island Kahunas will now be your source of accomplishment when playing the latest Pokemon game. These range from simple tasks to difficult boss battles that are a welcomed addition to the ever easy series. Never have I struggled in Pokemon battles until now. This game can get tough if you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing and I loved it. Hopefully Game Freak/Nintendo sees that they can add a little challenge to their kid-friendly series and still be deemed enjoyable.
The same strategy based gameplay involving the rock, paper, scissors elemental weaknesses continue to rule the way you play your game. No new types were added this time around, but Z-moves were. Z-moves are the equivalent of a super move from any fighting game. These moves count as a 5th attack to any Pokemon holding a Z-crystal that corresponds to their attack types. By having a compatible Z-Crystal you can raise Hell on your opponent once per battle to keep the competitive scene balanced of course. The animations to the Z-attacks are gorgeous and makes me wonder how Game Freak managed to pull off such animations with the 3DS’s lack of power.
Gameplay is good, check. Graphics and sound are their best, check. New gameplay mechanics are enjoyable, triple check. What about the actual Pokemon you may ask? Well, they are probably my favorite bunch in any generation. Alolan Ninetails, Alonan Exegutor, Mimikyu, Decidueye, the legendary/mythical Pokemon, and even the Ultra Beasts are all amazing. These are just a few, but almost the entirety of the new Pokemon look phenomenal and I welcome Game Freak’s newfound creativity when compared to the last two generations. Now can we finally make Missingno. into a legitimate Pokemon by making him into an Ultra Beast for long-time fans?
Pokemon Sun/Moon adds just enough to make the game feel fresh once again that I can only find one true fault. The game never lets go of your hand. Exploring new locations always feels limited, but not limited enough were you are bored with what you’re given. Despite such a small feature, Pokemon Sun/Moon never gets boring with its story and discovering new monsters to catch and train. Hopefully Game Freak notices what fans loved and disliked on their latest so their inevitable 8th generation gets even better.