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AnimeFan Game Reviews - Pokemon Sun Version (And Moon Version, I Guess)

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avatar AnimeFanFTW
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Level 54 : Grandmaster Senpai
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Hello everyone, AnimeFanFTW here, and today, I review a game that has been hyped up for most of 2016, and a game that celebrates its 20th anniversary since the series started: Pokemon Sun/Moon!


It has been a bit of a while since I last posted content here, but I have the excuse of playing Pokemon for the past couple of weeks or so. After getting a 3DS for Christmas (Thank you, Snowy! <3), and enough money to buy the game, I've been playing basically non-stop. I bought Sun version, and have been glued to my 3DS for ages. Now that I'm somewhat away from it, I have decided to talk about the game, and see if even after 20 years, Game Freak can still make a fantastic world, filled with fantastic creatures.

As a side note, the version I played was Sun version, I have beaten the main story, have done most of the post-game, I've tried out the multiplayer features and have filled my Pokedex in the game to 90% at the time of writing this, so I've pretty much experienced what this game has to offer. I won't throw any punches, and will give credit where its due, and where its not due.

So with that, let's begin!

WARNING: PAST THIS POINT HAS MINOR SPOILERS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
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Introduction

It's been 20 years since Pokemon Red/Green was released in Japan, and the popularity it got was insane, especially when it released outside of Japan. Gameboy sales went up by 300%, and it became one of the best selling games for the portable console. And as the years have gone by, Pokemon has been growing, even when the popularity dropped below insane, and became simply known as a well known and liked series. But 2016 has given the series a second wave of massive popularity, not seen since the 2000's. The release of Pokemon GO for mobiles have shown the world the majority of the population still love Pokemon. And coupled with the fact Generation 7 was announced, and information about the game was drip-fed to us, the hype Pokemon was getting was palpable. Then finally, in November 2016, Game Freak released Sun/Moon. It became the most downloaded 3DS game of all time, and brought the total amount of Pokemon to 810. The game was met with very positive reviews, with scores ranging from 7/10 to 9/10.

Story and Characters - 9/10

For the most part, the story in Sun/Moon is very good and well written. In terms of story, it's just what you would expect from a Pokemon game: You're a kid, you met professor, you pick starter, you fight your rival, you have to beat powerful trainers, and try to become champion and you win. Except that Sun/Moon change it up a bit. The game has no gyms at all, instead replaced with Trails, which are challenges that task you with various tasks, most involve "Totem Pokemon": powerful wild Pokemon that you must defeat to beat Trails, and "Trail Captains": who are basically Gym Leaders, but without the Gym part. The new evil team, Team Skull, got back to the roots of the first game, and were basically Team Rocket, but had no plans to rule the world, would generally cause mischief, and would walk like they were rapping all the time. There is also a mysterious organization called "Aether Foundation", a group with the goals to cure hurt Pokemon, but also have secrets under their foundation. And during the second-half of the main story and most of the post game, you're introduced to new Pokemon called "Ultra Beasts": incredibly abnormal Pokemon that traveled from another dimension.

Basically, while pretty similar to the other main Pokemon games, Sun/Moon adds quite a bit of unique things to it. After all, it is the first ever main series Pokemon game to have no gyms at all. The characters are pretty fantastic as well. Your rival, Hau, is basically a friendly rival. Team Skull's leader, Guzma, is one of the most memorable evil team leaders I've ever seen, Professor Kukui was funny and unique compared to the other professors, the trail captains are cool, but the star of the show is Lillie, a girl who I won't spoil too much, but was a very likable character that developed very well. While not exactly perfect, the story and characters are very solid, and I have no major problems with it.


Gameplay and Controls - 8/10

I really want to say that the gameplay and controls are near flawless, and while they are, there is two really big flaws that, while doesn't ruin it, definitely hurt it. Let's start with controls. Pokemon Sun/Moon is the first game in the main series to have a full range of motion. You no longer have to go on a set path of up/down/left/right/diagonal, you can now walk freely, which feels like a dream. Heck, you can even spin in a literal circle if you want to. So the controls are great. But the gameplay has so much to offer, so please bear with me, because I'll be discussing alot of it. My most favorite part about the gameplay, is how unexpectedly difficult this game is. I consider myself a pretty good player, and very rarely blackout during the adventure (Heck, my playthrough of Black/White had me never blackout.) But in Sun/Moon, I blacked out over 10 times. Every major battle actually felt like a challenge, and I felt that if I wasn't that good a player, I would have most definitely have blacked out at least 30 times. The Totem Pokemon and Elite Four/Champion are easily the most challenging fights in the game. (Heck, one of the Totem Pokemon alone made me blackout 6 times). Playing a Pokemon game that was actually challenging was so refreshing to play.

One of the new mechanics introduced is "Z-Moves", a type of attack that can only be used once per battle, and can do insane amounts of damage, which can turn the tide of a battle. And I personally really like this feature. Z-Moves have saved me in several occasions, and having to plan when to use it early on, or saving it for later, adds a bit of unpredictability. It also introduces "Poke Pelego", an island where the Pokemon in your boxes can go hang out, plant and grow berries, collect Poke Beans to feed your Pokemon in Pokemon Refresh (a feature which was in Gen 6), and also where you can find items by sending them inside caves. It's a neat little feature that really makes use of the Pokemon in your boxes that usually do nothing in previous games. Then there's other stuff, like a new metagame called "Battle Royals". where 4 people can fight in a free-for-all, the Battle Tree, which is basically a Battle Frontier, Trainer Customization makes a return, Mega Evolution also makes a return (No new Megas, unfortunately) and the Festival Plaza, which is basically a place to do all the multiplayer stuff. Heck, they even got rid of HM's, for the "Poke Ride": a service where you can ride Pokemon to do various tasks. (Just the fact HM's are removed is a cause for celebration! No more trashy moves! No more HM Slaves!) Overall, all the new features are fantastic.

But as I mentioned, 2 major flaws exist. The first flaw is lag issues. While new 3DS's will have next to no trouble with lag, people with older 3DS's will notice plenty of lag issues, especially in Double Battles. While it's an issue that has some excuses to exist, it still kinda sucks. Personally, I've had little issues, but that's just me. But the second flaw, which is easily the worst part of the game, is the incredibly slow start, and very long tutorial. The first moments in this game are sooooooooooooo damn long. It's slow, and pretty frustrating, especially if you're a player that already knows how to play. It took around 20-30 minutes for me to even pick my starter, and the opening towns and routes just feel the need to tell you everything at once, which can get annoying very quickly. After around an hour, it does get less annoying, and by then, the game really picks up, and becomes very fun, but I would completely understand if people drop the game entirely because of the slow start. But even with these flaws, this game's gameplay is very strong.


Graphics (And the new Pokemon designs) - 9/10

The graphics, much like X/Y/ORAS, are fantastic. The 3D models of the people and Pokemon look great, and there is not really much to add to it. The only differences worth nothing is that they look more smoother and nice compared to X/Y/ORAS, and trainers can now throw different kinds of Pokeballs, instead of the regular ball, which is a nice touch. Other then that, not much to point out. So instead, I'll talk about the new Pokemon designs. Gen 7 gave us 81 brand new Pokemon, and 18 "Alolan Forms": which are existing Pokemon (all from Gen 1), with brand new designs, bringing the total amount of Pokemon to 810. And personally, I think the new Pokemon and Alolan Pokemon are fantastic. While there is some designs that I don't like (*cough*Alolan Persian*cough*), there are a ton of awesome designs. All 3 starters, and their final evolutions all look awesome, nearly all the Alolan forms are a cool re-imagining of existing Pokemon we all love, and the Ultra Beasts look very weird and other-worldly. Much like every other generation, Gen 7's Pokemon designs are very solid.

Sound - 9/10
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The sound in this game is, not surprisingly, brilliant. Sounds like entering new routes, healing at a Pokemon centre, or going through menus, still uses the old, nostalgic sound effects from the series, which is good. And the soundtrack, while not the best in the series, is incredibly well made. Songs like the Kahuna FIght Theme, the Elite Four and Champion Themes, And Guzma's Theme, match the fights very well, being cheery when it needs to, or tense when it needs to. I cannot tell you how much I got Guzma's Theme, and the Elite Four Theme got stuck in my head. And as a nice little touch, whenever you're in the Battle Tree, or in Multiplayer battles, you can set whatever song in the soundtrack you want to play before the match, which I think is a fantastic idea. Overall, the sound is fantastic.

Enjoyment - 9/10

I'm just gonna go ahead and say it: Pokemon Sun/Moon are the greatest Pokemon games ever made. There, I said it. While the game does suffer from a slow and long tutorial, everything else is just so good. I haven't had this much fun with a Pokemon game since Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum. Sun/Moon is a perfect way to celebrate the series' 20th anniversary. It's a game both newcomers, and veterans will enjoy. So if you have a 3DS and you don't have this game, then what are you doing? Get the game.

Cheers, Game Freak, for 20 years of Pokemon. Here's to another 20.

FINAL VERDICT: 9/10 - Amazing!
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If you're wondering, I picked Rowlet for my starter. How could you not pick that adorable little owl?

Until the next review...

This is AnimeFanFTW, over and out!


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I love the game, and Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon came out around 2 months ago (Nov. 18) and it's better in my opinion :D
  • AnimeFanFTW
  • Forum Moderator
  • Level 54
  • Grandmaster Senpai
  • January 7, 2018, 8:11 pm
Definitely.

Debating with myself if I should review them.
  • SmolKuma
  • Level 34
  • Artisan Sweetheart
  • January 5, 2017, 2:01 pm
I played all the verison of pokemon and seriously this is my favorite. All the character are charming, the comunity too! c:
  • AnimeFanFTW
  • Forum Moderator
  • Level 54
  • Grandmaster Senpai
  • January 5, 2017, 3:51 pm
Glad to hear it was your favorite, Gen 7 is easily my favorite as well. c:
  • Urrnge
  • Level 39
  • Artisan Dragonborn
  • January 3, 2017, 6:02 pm
Picking the archer owl instead of the Macho Man cat. Absolutely disgusting.
  • AnimeFanFTW
  • Forum Moderator
  • Level 54
  • Grandmaster Senpai
  • January 4, 2017, 1:08 pm
Urrnge plz
We both know Rowlet was the favorite from the very beginning :P
On the day of release in England, I was in one of my university's bars with other members of the pokemon society when I was looking in the patch of grass where you can find Bagon as someone was trying to get their level 10 Salamance and I encountered my first shiny of the game, a shiny Alolan- Rattata, I named him Red Velvet; but when I found it I kind of let out a loud yell for of excitement as I thought I was the first person out of the society to find a shiny; but, earlier that night, someone found a shiny Alolan-Diglett in the area for the first trial, I was saddened.
  • AnimeFanFTW
  • Forum Moderator
  • Level 54
  • Grandmaster Senpai
  • January 2, 2017, 12:40 pm
RIP The Dream ;n;
I also find it funny that the first few shiny pokemon to be found by members of PokeSoc were Alolan forms, my Rattata, my friend's Diglett, someone's Cubone and Snowtails.

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