Pokémon sun and moon

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By Kallie Plagge
Update: Pokemon Sun và Moon has been nominated for traitimchienbinh.com's 2016 Game of the Year.

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Like re-reading a favorite book in an unfamiliar place, Pokemon Sun và Moon combine a lot of my favorite things about Pokemon into an adventure that reminded me why I fell in love with this RPG series in the first place without simply repeating what came before. With equal attention given to lớn roleplaying (my first obsession) và battle (my more recent interest), Sun và Moon both honor the 20-year legacy of Pokemon & improve upon it in a number of ways, making for a surprising and engaging tropical adventure that is as much about the journey as it is the destination.

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Arguably the biggest & most important change in Pokemon Sun and Moon is the Island Challenge in its new setting, Alola. Instead of taking on a series of gyms as we’ve done many times before, you embark on a variety of battles and non-combat challenges, such as scavenger hunts & quizzes, that culminate in a fight against a stronger foe. One trial sent me on a hunt for ingredients so we could attract a local Pokemon with a traditional meal, while another involved memorizing luau-esque dances atop a volcano. It’s similar enough to previous Pokemon games lớn avoid alienating veterans but also an inventive take on the formula that fits with and plays off of the island web9_setting beautifully.


Bringing the challenges out into the world, rather than keeping each step toward becoming a champion segmented in its own gym, helped Alola feel more like a place where things happen instead of an overworld map. It also kept the Island Challenge from becoming mindless — I couldn’t autopilot my way through it like I could with a lot of X & Y, for example. I didn’t always know when or where a trial would start or what exactly would happen when I got there, và that kept me on my toes, frequently fine-tuning my team và trying out a lot more Pokemon than I usually do during an initial run. The themed minigames also kept each trial surprising until I reached the final fight.


The Island Challenge is a welcome change from traditional, run-of-the-mill gyms.

The trials are a good way lớn get to know the charming captains that run them & learn about the history và traditions of Alola — even on the first island, I’d heard bits & pieces about the elusive “guardian Deity” Pokemon and come to lớn understand the trials’ purpose in the local legends surrounding them. After two trials, I was as fully invested in the new region as I was with my familiar quest lớn become the champion.

The reward for completing a trial is a Z-Crystal, an sản phẩm which allows the Pokemon holding it khổng lồ attack with an extra-strong ultimate move once per battle. It’s Alola’s take on Mega Evolutions, destraitimchienbinh.comed to add something to the familiar mix of battle, and I have yet to lớn see past its novelty. I didn’t really need khổng lồ use these Z-Moves during my Island Challenge (though part of that was wanting a bit more flexibility with difficulty, which Pokemon has always been good at granting by making these things optional). They’re kind of cool to have as a panic button in a tough battle, so I’m interested lớn see if they’ll be allowed in official competitive matches & how they might shake things up.

A Whole New World

Alola is the most inspired region in Pokemon so far, & that made exploring it fun and rewarding. Instead of just looking for items or places to lớn grind, I was taught to expect the unexpected. Alola is based on Hawaii, and from the smaller, quieter island you call home to another with a luxurious resort and a volcano, each of the four main islands has its own feel. I definitely didn’t think I’d find myself in an Old West-style ranch town, for example, & was delighted as I walked through it. It doesn’t feel out of place, though, since it’s where the new horse Pokemon, Mudsdale, is kept for riders looking to traverse rocky trails — which I’d need later on.


Alola is the most inspired region in Pokemon so far.

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Among the surprises, there are a lot of details in Alola that nail the tropical theme & fit well. The Alola forms of first-generation Pokemon, like the more colorful Grimer & the infamously tall Exeggutor, for example, are smart changes that are in sync with the ecology of the islands. They also work well with the strong roster of new Pokemon that features interesting type combinations with some pretty good stat spread options, và I’m excited lớn see how they work their way into the competitive scene. I’ve happily added quite a few lớn my team, lượt thích Charjabug, a tankier take on the electric/bug typing previously belonging only to lớn the more fragile Joltik & Galvantula. The music, too, is island-inspired (and, in some cases, based on other Pokemon regions) & reimagines a lot of the original music, including the battle theme, quite well. Places, people, and Pokemon that connect even in subtle ways make Sun và Moon more engaging.

Victory Road to Hana

The 30-plus-hour story of the Sun & Moon adventure also contributes to lớn that vibrant world-building. It’s the first Pokemon game in a while that kept me focused on the journey and discovery, rather than web9_setting my sights on the post-game and grinding until I reached it. That’s not to say that the plot is compelling on its own — it’s a fine story for a Pokemon game, but it’s plagued by awkward dialogue on the part of Team Skull and some predictable events. There are times when it pokes fun at itself for its sillier parts, và I appreciated that even when I wasn’t as excited about a scene.
But there’s a general mystery lớn Alola that serves as a carrot drawing you forward, and as a result those story pitfalls take a back seat khổng lồ let Alola & its inhabitants speak for themselves. Even the slower scenes are made better with vastly improved camera work — learning about how Pokemon battles work for the thousandth time is less boring when the conversation looks almost lượt thích an anime rather than static frames, và the characters are more expressive than in any previous game. Và almost everything from the new Alola forms of first-generation Pokemon (like Marowak, which went from ground-type khổng lồ a fire-ghost wielding a flaming bone club) to lớn the Island Challenge in general is different enough from what I’m used to lớn as a lifelong player, in that they feel like fresh discoveries.

What’s Old Is New Again

Sun and Moon are also approachable for new or rusty players thanks lớn a streamlined battle interface. The move-selection screen now has way more detail at a glance, including information about what the moves bởi vì if you forget. Move effectiveness is also displayed, which means it’s a lot easier to lớn battle effectively without having the type matchups memorized. It’s a good way lớn learn the nuances of battle, và it’s not cluttered or obtrusive if you vì chưng know your way around the type chart. For me, it was especially helpful in quickly learning the strengths & weaknesses of new Alola Pokemon — và they grew on me faster, too.


The new interface is one of quite a few upgrades that add up to a great improvement. The bloated HM system has been replaced with Poke Ride, which opens up Alola khổng lồ exploration early on. It’s a seriously important change that frees up your buổi tiệc ngọt for the interesting new Pokemon (my favorite being the ghost/fairy Mimikyu, who dresses up in a Pikachu costume because it’s lonely và wants friends), & there’s a much wider variety of Pokemon available at the start than in previous generations, too. Having access khổng lồ ghost-type Pokemon right away made the early team-building process a lot more fun than in the days of being surrounded by rodents, bugs, and birds for three routes.


Upgrades both big & a bit smaller add up lớn a great improvement.

There are even small upgrades lớn more recent additions to Pokemon, và though they’re less noticeable, they’re welcome. Pokemon Refresh is a slightly altered version of X and Y’s Pokemon Amie that serves more of a tangible purpose in healing status conditions after battle. Trading with và battling real-life players is similar to the previous generation, complete with one of my favorite features, Wonder Trade, but with a festival-themed site as the base of operations & a variety of vật phẩm rewards for engaging in multiplayer. There’s also a cool new minigame-style feature called Poke Pelago in which you tăng cấp a series of small personal islands, one of which makes the tedium of hatching eggs easier (finally) while another works like Super Training. As an avid Pokemon player, the littlest additions did a lot lớn make doing the things that are still the same in Sun và Moon better this time around.

Verdict


After 20 years of slow but steady evolution, Pokemon gets a bit of a reinvention in Sun và Moon. An engrossing & rich new region makes the Alola journey — along with all the changes Sun và Moon make lớn the existing formula — enjoyable throughout the main adventure, & small interface và variety of upgrades along the way make a few of the things that stayed the same feel better than before.