GAME REVIEW: Pokemon Sun
Pokemon has been around now for a fair few years and there have been many reincarnations of what, in theory, is a relatively simple concept.
For those of you who don’t know the basics, Pokemon is a game where the player travels around a fictional world capturing creatures called Pokemon and battling gym leaders with the overall aim of becoming the Pokemon League Champion and completing their Pokedex.
I remember the very first versions of the game: Pokemon Red and Blue, which were released back in 1996 in Japan on the Gameboy and have since gathered an insane following. Since then, there has been many new releases, each one featuring a new region, new Pokemon and new gym leaders to fight. There is also a trading card game which was stupidly popular (and really expensive) and today some of the rarest cards are going for a small fortune on eBay.
My love for this brand died, but then I re-discovered it when I was bought a 2DS and grabbed a copy of Pokemon Y. Okay, the story left something to be desired, but the basic principle of the game was still there and I found myself falling in love with the series again. It was maybe the first game I threw everything into back-in-the-day and it made me feel nostalgic. Pokemon Y offered more gameplay and also made the game slightly easier to play thanks to many new features which were absent from the original series.
Pokemon Sun’s predecessor, Omega Ruby or Alpha Sapphire, was a solid game in its own right. The storyline was a lot better and the graphics seemed slightly sharper than Pokemon Y. I must admit that I really enjoyed playing through that game and was anxious as to what Pokemon Sun might offer.
For Pokemon Sun, we are in the tropical region of Alola. The best possible way to describe this is Pokemon’s version of Hawaii. Our main protagonist has just moved to the island and is about to undertake the Island Challenge to become the Island Master. After grabbing your starter Pokemon from a selection of the general starters (fire, water and grass), you are introduced to your rival and battles ensue. It is here you meet stable characters such as Professor Kukui, who I found annoying and a young woman with a very mysterious Pokemon.
So far, it is the same basic formula that every Pokemon fan is used to. But then, the game takes a drastic change.
The gyms are gone and in their place you have trials. As a budding trainer, you must complete the trials first, set by captains, before you can go ahead and beat the big Kahuna of the island in a battle. As you complete these trials, you are awarded stones which give you powerful Z moves. I personally was not a fan of this as I was so used to the standard format, but for those people who are new to the game, they may find this interesting.
What does need to be mentioned at this point though is the game does take a long time to really get going. The first hour is rammed with tutorials and is so cliched that it is sometimes laughable.
The battle system has also been changed slightly so now you can actually see your rival trainer ordering your Pokemon to make a move. The animations of each move has also changed slightly and brings a fresh outlook on what could be considered the most boring part of the game.
Pokemon Sun introduces a bucket load of new Pokemon which look a lot different to their forms in the other regions. The Alola form tends to give the Pokemon a very 60s/70s feel which is actually a nice little inclusion in the game. There is also a ton of new Pokemon out there to catch (just over a hundred, I believe) which keeps the game fresh for the many veterans of the series.
As with every other series, there is always a new nemesis which constantly plagues our protagonist. In the earlier games it was Team Rocket (JESSE! JAMES!) and then in later games it was Team Flare before either Team Magma or Team Aqua in Omega Ruby or Alpha Sapphire.
In Pokemon Sun, you have Team Skull which are supposed to be a bunch of scallywags throwing gang signs and using slang (I kid you not). I think this is a ridiculous side of the game and it is so over the top, I actually found myself sighing in frustration. Maybe it’s GameFreaks way of saying “Don’t be these guys!”
Aside from the main quest, there are plenty of other things to do. You can now take part in four-way battles which are really cool and offer a nice little side quest in the Battle House. It is also a mission to try and catch all the Pokemon in the Pokedex as some of them need to be traded with other players. This is one of the main reasons why this game gets boring and why some players just put it down and leave it for a few months.
I will appreciate this game isn’t for everyone and many people may wonder why I play these games at my old age, but there is a very simple reason for it – what you see is what you get. There are no in-game purchases or DLC to get and when you pay for the game, you are buying a complete game.
Pokemon Sun offers a rich amount of replay value and will appeal to both hardcore and new fans alike. But for everyone that remembers the original series, this may not be for you due to the fact they have changed the basic mechanics of the game.