Pokemon Sun and Moon: The Best Pokemon Games Yet
The title says it all; Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon may just be the best Pokemon games yet.
I know this statement will ruffle some feathers, most likely those that love to indulge in their nostalgia, and I know that people still insist on saying that the original are the best.
There are definitely arguments for each set of games, whether they be the originality of the first set (Red, Blue, Yellow), the renovation of the battle system in the third generation (Abilities/Natures in Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald), or the more elaborate storylines of the fifth generation (Black/White and Black/White 2).
Simply saying that Sun and Moon (obviously) have all of that and more does little justice to these games’ greatness.
There are several reasons why these games stand out so much from their predecessors.
The first, and most glaringly different for veteran players, is the gyms. There are none. No gyms, no gym leaders, and no badge system. As fun as past gyms could be, they created a predictable pattern that left little to the imagination. For almost 20 years, players knew they would have to enter 8 gyms (16 in the Johto games), either solve a puzzle or beat a bunch of trainers, and then fight a gym leader with a strict theme.
With the trial leaders, those expectations are gone. When a player enters a trial, he/she will have no idea what will be expected of them. The inclusion of Totem Pokemon just makes these trials even more refreshing. Whether it’s hunting for ingredients or trying to capture elusive ghost Pokemon on camera, the player is presented with something new.This also leads to new options for the storyline which, in my opinion, is the most innovative and interesting one yet.
The next major change is the massively increased accessibility in Sun and Moon for new players, while also simplifying things a bit for those already used to the game’s mechanics.
Now, in battle, the player is presented with detailed information about Pokemon moves, field conditions, buffs and debuffs, and even the effectiveness of attacks.
New players won’t have to memorize charts of type interactions or memorize every Pokemon’s type anymore, with all this information now being available mid-battle. This affords them a smooth introduction to the world.
The removal of HM moves (moves that were necessary to advance in the game but could not be easily removed like most moves) eliminates the need for annoying decision making or “HM slaves” (a Pokemon kept in party just to be taught 4 HM moves and otherwise useless).
All these changes affect both new and returning players, making the games fresher, more creative, and easier to access.
For the more competitive side of Pokemon, several innovations were added both to reinvigorate the meta and, again, become more accessible. Alolan Pokemon, region exclusive versions of old favorites have turned once useless or barely usable Pokemon into more powerful (and often far goofier) choices.
For example, Marowak, once used mostly for Creepypasta fuel, now haunts the competitive scene for its useful new typing and combination possibilities. IV (Individual Value) and EV (Effort Value) points, both once hidden values only found through strict monitoring of a Pokemon and interpretations from in-game hints, are now shown.
No longer do dedicated players need to constantly fly back and forth to a certain NPC or repeatedly use special online calculators to find out if their Pokemon is viable for competitive play.
These changes mark something significant in Pokemon. They show that the creators listened to their fans, they found complaints and offered solutions. They found fan favorites and made them usable again. They saw a stale mechanic and threw something new into the mix.
While these two games may not be perfect, they represent something important to Pokemon and its fans. That, like us, they aren’t satisfied with a simple rehash of the past. They want to be the best, like no one ever was.
What do you think? Are Sun and Moon the best Pokemon games yet, or does your allegiance lie elsewhere? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!