So, after a conversation during Episode 118 of the podcast, several listeners have requested for me to share my opinions about Pokemon Sun and Moon after I said I didn’t enjoy it. So here is it.
A few things first that should be noted:
- Yes I love Digimon and I have a Digimon podcast. This doesn’t mean I don’t love Pokemon. I have always loved Pokemon too. I started playing when I was young and was given Pokemon Gold and Yellow for my birthday and was hooked ever since. So no, I’m not being a salty Digimon fan who doesn’t like Pokemon.
- No I’m not a genwunner. Generation One, in comparison to later games, is not a fantastic game. Pokemon is a series which is improved with each game release (or it should be).
- This isn’t the full essay. I can’t find the full version as it was shared on a Slack which deletes messages. These are my points I shared with a friend prior to the full essay. I will expand on points if need be from the original, but mostly, it’s a lesser version.
- These are my opinions, I’ve spoken to people who say that this is their favourite Pokemon game. You’re allowed to like or even love this game. I just didn’t.
- I stopped playing after I got to the legendary fight because, after spending that much time with a story I didn’t care about that didn’t try to compel me to play, I just kinda stopped trying to like it. I know I should finish a game before judging it, but, honestly, if I don’t care after over 10 hours of a game is it even worth it at that point? I might finish before Ultra Sun and Moon come out – which I have preordered the collectors edition of. Because I’m rubbish.
So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on why Sun and Moon felt like a disappointment.
First of all, I felt that there were too many cut scenes that I didn’t care enough to want to watch, if I recall correctly, they were also unable to be skipped. Usually I’m fine with cut-scenes, however, in this game it really removed immersion because of how long and often they were. This brings me to another point; nobody shuts up. Ever. I feel like I’m in a ‘talking and walking to next talking event’ simulator. Now don’t get my wrong here; I like the little hand hold at the start of every Pokemon game with one of my favourite songs from the Pokemon Games Soundtrack, however, in Pokemon Sun and Moon, I felt like this was every half an hour or so (and without ‘Come Along’!). I felt like I was constantly being pulled aside to be shown a game mechanic. Again, this really pulled me out of my game space. I felt like the game could have done with an ‘expert’ mode with less hand holding. I’m aware this is a game for kids and not for 24 year olds, but even when I was a kid I would have known some of the things the game was pulling me aside to teach me. Maybe ask a question like “Are you new to this world?” or “Have you played before?” or “Do you know the basics of Pokemon?” when asking for the player’s name and gender.
I also didn’t enjoy the David Cage-esque dialogue choice (e.g, “What do you think, Player Character; cool or cute?” “Yes! You’re right! It is cute and cool!” It feels like obvious lazy writing). I know Pokemon isn’t a choose your own adventure and I don’t mind that it’s not, just don’t try to pretend that it is and not even try to make each response have different outcomes.
My main issues is that this is a game that is trying to be too many things. It has too many new mechanics and doesn’t just focus on one. The new ideas aren’t expanded or even focused on enough because there are too many different new features. For example, I found that Moon (the version I bought) had a stupid premise by having the game offset by twelve hours that does virtually nothing. I like when the day/night system matches up and I felt that there weren’t enough reason to make it offset by 12 hours.
I also found that the majority of trails are boring and I prefer gym battles – I play this game to fight with my monsters, dammit. I feel like it’s trying too hard to compete with Yo-Kai Watch and be trendy with the kids.
While we’re talking about features, I didn’t like the removal of the PSS (a feature I adored and thought was a pretty fun feature). Everything was moved to the festival plaza, which, was okay, I guess, but it wasn’t as seamless to navigate to like it was in Gen 6 (i.e. having it accessible on the bottom screen). Why remove good features to replace features which don’t feel complete?
There’s no 3D, which, I mean, I don’t use 3D too often but it’s nice to see, but, despite there being no 3D, the frame rate still finds a way to drop CONSTANTLY. This is in and out of battle and used to happen in Generation Six with the 3D on and on my old 3DS. This is with the New 3DS!
And here’s the region why I mentioned how I’m not just a salty Digimon fan; the story was not only cliched and predictable, it was too similar to Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth.
Speaking of Digimon games; Poke Pelego seems like a good idea on the surface but Digimon did it ten years ago and it was easier to monitor and used the top screen. Pokemon could have made this accessible with the bottom screen (which was largely unused) but did not.
Lastly, just some points on the story besides it being cliched and predictable as I mentioned above; everything in the story seems like a chore and boring. I didn’t feel compelled to complete the game. I wanted to get to the end not because I cared about the story, because I wanted it to be over. One of the reasons I didn’t care about the story was the fact I didn’t care about the characters. I felt like they had ‘forced personality’, the game doesn’t care to explain why characters are the way they are. They have cute designs, sure, but, I just don’t care. The ‘twist’ you can see as soon as all relevant characters are introduced. I don’t care about them. They don’t shut up and the characters and story are, as I said, cliched, predictable, and bland.
So that’s it. Sun and Moon are probably my least favourite of all the Pokemon games. This position was previously held by Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire which I disliked for the fact it had removed my favourite feature from the game; the day night system. However, Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire fixed this and I think Alpha Sapphire is probably my second favourite game. My favourite is Pokemon Heart Gold which expanded upon the fantastic game it was rebooting and added in great features like the PokeWalker, more story about Silver and why he’s a bag of dicks, and Pokemon following behind you (like in Pokemon Yellow, it kicked me right in my nostalgia).
I give this game 4/10.
Predictable, Disappointing, Trying too hard