Currently celebrating its 20th anniversary year, Pokémon is among the best game franchises worldwide. With around 380 million games sold, it will continue to outdo both Call Of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. And this was before Pokémon GO. The summer’s new wave of pokéfever has elevated the pocket monsters’ pop culture credentials more than ever, and also this new mainline 3DS sequel is poised to make the most of the improved attention. So it’s an effective job it’s the best Pokémon game ever.
For those that simply have ever played Pokémon GO, the pokemon games will not be quite the things you imagined. Although they were originally aimed limited to kids they’re vastly more complicated compared to app’s simplistic touchscreen gameplay. The essential idea is still to capture ‘em all, nevertheless the mainline Pokémon titles are essentially open-ended role-playing games. Think a family group-friendly version of Skyrim, although with turn-based combat featuring an army of friendly monsters for your way of defence.
Sun and Moon are offered separately, but they’re more or less a similar game and you’re not anticipated to buy both. Together they can be basically Pokémon 7, together with the minor differences in between the two releases – primarily several unique pokémon in each – merely designed to encourage trading between players. Capturing your pokémon is only the beginning you can see, as you train and evolve your critters to battle through the game’s story and eventually other human players.
Each pokémon you capture has an elemental type (everything from grass to ghost) and might learn four moves at any given time to make use of in battle. These have the same form of alignments and often various negative effects, like paralysing an enemy or lowering their accuracy. This results in a highly complex web of vulnerabilities, defences, and bonuses, where even pokémon that are several experience levels below their opponent are able should they have the right abilities.
Matching attacks on the right clicker games online, and breeding and training more and more useful creatures, quickly becomes an obsession. Especially as soon as you realise that we now have several layers of complexity beneath the basic stats of each creature, should you choose to decline that specific rabbit hole. That is entirely under your control though, of course, if you don’t wish to look into the intricacies of Effort Values, Natures, and IV training then you’ll never even know they exist (except we just informed you).
Even during the Game Boy days Pokémon was always an appropriate open world game, allowing you to go wherever you desire and placed off of the main story as long as you want. There have always been a number of story barriers here and there, just while there is in Grand Theft Auto and anything else, but Sun and Moon are filled with them, and feel far more restrictive than normal for that first several hours. That has the opportunity to become frustrating, because like all Pokémon games the history is essentially inconsequential and really not the main objective by any means.
But although we worried that the success of Pokémon GO might suggest that Sun and Moon would be dumbed down and simplified for the wider audience that’s not the case. The restrictions in the beginning might upset those that wish to run off right away but they’re an intelligent enough precaution so that the game can be as accessible as you can.
During battles the video 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 game does its best not to hide any information during a fight, which are only able to be viewed as a a valuable thing.
There are notable changes for the structure from the game, with traditional gym battles being ditched in favour of ‘island trials’. Sun and Moon are positioned on a group islands inspired by Hawaii, as well as the idea is usually to travel across them and carry out all the head kahunas in addition to their captains. It’s still not really that different to the idea of gyms, but it really does enable more variety than merely fighting your path through a collection of high level pokémon, as you may collect cooking ingredients or assist with science experiments (as well as battling pokémon, naturally).
Also gone for the game are HMs, so you don’t ought to teach a pokémon a move like Cut or Fly in order to use them in the game world. Instead you call in specialised pokémon you could ride on the back of, and that means you not any longer must fill your party with otherwise useless pokémon that you’re just keeping around for his or her special abilities.
Surprisingly, the mega evolutions from Pokémon X and Y have been pulled from the principle game, and though it is feasible to make use of them eventually they’re replaced in importance by Z-Powers. As soon as you collect the appropriate elemental crystal by beating a captain, these could get to any pokémon to allow them to perform one super powerful attack per battle – the most elaborate which appear like Final Fantasy style summonses.
As ever there are a large number of new pokémon to find, with a few impressively weird ones which have very distinctive powers. As opposed to just as being a different assortment of stats there’s critters including the fish Wishiwashi that may school together in to a giant whale-like form, or perhaps the bird Oricorio which changes form based on which nectar it’s been sipping. However the game also does very well in mixing the new pokémon using the old. Especially with the latest regional variations of old school creatures, which frequently possess a change, type, or abilities.
In fact, the game does well all round in reflecting the best ideas of the series up to now and building on them, like the Nintendogs style pampering of a pokémon after a battle. At the beginning this seems a pointless novelty, but not only will it remove status ailments after having a battle however it improves your relations with all the pokémon to the level where they’ll start avoiding attacks more or hanging on to their last pip of health in battles.
But even these are merely the top level changes and that we haven’t got the room to properly focus on Poké Pelago (a pair of single screen islands where one can send idle pokémon to coach up or seek out 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 even the large range of new items which can be held and utilized by the pokémon themselves.
Regarding flaws you can find few surprises, with the biggest issue being the absence of artificial intelligence when fighting ordinary enemies. The moves are clearly being chosen randomly and this can spoil the jubilation of a difficult win when you are aware it was only as the stupid computer opponent missed an obvious opportunity. Anything beyond that is certainly just nitpicking, but it’s unfortunate that to keep the frame rate the only part of the game that’s in 3D is flappy bird game, while the graphics are incredibly good that’s easy to forgive.
The script is preferable to usual, and although it’s never anywhere near as funny as Nintendo games for example Paper Mario, there are far more than a few good lines in there to stop dextpky49 saccharine storyline from becoming too much to bear. We particularly enjoyed the amusingly pathetic wannabe gangsters from main bad guy group Team Skull.
Any qualms concerning the initial linearity can also be quickly forgotten as soon as you realise exactly how expansive the final game is. For many players, a Pokémon game doesn’t even begin properly until you’ve spent the dozen roughly hours necessary to complete the storyline, after which you may dedicate yourself to training and breeding, as well as pursuing the new Ultra Beast creatures and dealing with the particular highest level computer opponents.
We’re seeking to avoid spoiling a lot of secrets here, because Sun and Moon are absolutely bursting with them, and purely regarding good value the games are off the scale. It’s rare that a sequel inside a long-running series can please both veterans and newcomers in equal measure, but Sun and Moon reach that balance almost perfectly. The final result is not just the most effective Pokémon game ever, but among the finest video games available.