Review: Pokemon Sun

Jason Phang, Sat 03 December 2016, Gaming

gaming, pokemon

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Pokemon Sun is pretty rad.

I was a little skeptical coming into Pokemon Sun and Moon (which the Internet has turned to calling collectively "Pokemon SuMo"). The Hawaiian influence, while interesting, seemed somewhat tacked on and forced when first revealed. The Alolan forms ranged from cool to **, and seemed somewhat arbitrary. Finally, the notion of trials and totem-Pokemon instead of gyms seemed like they were unnecessarily changing the established formula of the Pokemon games.

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What was surprising was how well everything came together.

To start, this is by far the most polished Pokemon game to date, and more player-friendly than any other entry in the series by the good margin. I agree a good deal with Tim Gettys and Greg Miller over at Kinda Funny, who quipped that the developers basically made all the changes with the intent of throwing out the un-fun bits of the games and getting the player to the action as quickly as possible. To that end, a lot of very welcome changes were made (apologies if some of these were already in X/Y):

As to the other new changes, I think they helped to provide a fresh take on the Pokemon formula. The plot, while still kiddy and mostly a parody of itself, veers into more serious RPG tropes. While I didn't particularly care for the trials and Kahunas, the way that they were presented seemed to add more character to the Kahunas and Trial Captains than gyms did for gym leaders. The budding inception of the Elite 4 I thought was a really cool idea, in that the people of Alola were building something new, rather than the player just challenging the existing establishment.

The game is also not without its flaws, but I think they are very mild in comparison to the positive changes to the formula. The game has a lot of cut scenes, many of which seemed a little unnecessary. I actually liked Lillie and Hau's characters, but they seemed under-exposed considering how much screen time they had. The "calling-for-help" mechanic was not well-implemented, leading a 20-minute loop of Wishiwashi's calling more Wishiwashi's while I killed one a turn.

All in all, I think that Pokemon Sun was not only a fun game, but a very good sign for the series finally willing to take risks to change up the formula in positive ways. I would give this game a 8.5/10.