So I’ve played through Pokemon Moon over Thanksgiving. It’s a good game that takes a lot of steps forward for the series… but with each new gen Pokemon games tend to take a few steps backward in some aspects and I think that’s worth discussing.
Since I’m gonna be talking about the game in length this could have spoilers. Now you know.
In terms of improvements, the story is certainly one. XY had a really weak story in my opinion. No character really had an arc and Team Flare was tonally confusing, the grunts’ silly behavior was kind of out of step with the group’s genocidal goals. The Champion’s identity was no great surprise either and I found her kind of unmemorable cuz she didn’t do much. The game was also quite easy. BUT XY had good ideas… it was just the execution was flawed. Sun and Moon improves on what XY tried to do. With Sun and Moon, pretty much every character gets an arc. Team Skull is really funny, as fits a team with extremely basic criminal goals. The Champion is a surprise, and while the Aether Foundation-as-the-true-villains twist is easy to predict, it was not painfully over-the-top obvious like it was when you first saw Lysandre in XY… Some complete ass showin’ up with hair that looks like fire lol. Wonder if he da team flare boss…
Progressing through the story is good in some ways and not-so-good in others. Let’s talk about the not-so-good first because I like to trash stuff. If you want to explore during the story then you can just go fuck yourself. We go linear here, baby. You’re going from point A to point B and you’re gonna fucking like it, because there will be a dog blocking a road or a diglett who shit itself or something to keep you from snooping around. Remember when you could go to towns out of order? That shit ain’t happenin’ again! Oh, there are no puzzles either when it comes to exploring, though some people might like that since it means you’re battling more. Also there are a lot of cutscenes for each time you reach a certain point… this happens a lot. Can’t the character just talk to me in-game? Why do we have to cutscene like everything? Save it for the good stuff like when Guzma shows up, not when I enter route 2. Who give a fuck about route 2? Anyone remember route 2? No? Ok, then in that case it probably didn’t need a cutscene. I don’t remember if it had one but I’m pretty sure it did because everything else did lol.
In terms of the good changes to story progression there are many. Doing away with gyms was a good call since you have no reason to re-enter gyms after beating them. Now with trials it’s all part of the world you explore so it’s cool to go back because there’s actual stuff to see. Totem pokemon are a great idea, and the 2 v 1 nature of totem fights make them feel like actual boss battles. HMs are gone too which is great. Now you can actually get a full in-game team, as opposed to 5 pokemon and an HM load. The difficulty is higher now which is nice. It was pretty easy to breeze through XY and ORAS thanks to exp share existing and opponents being leveled as if you aren’t using it.
Now competitively this is where things get interesting. Gamefreak has removed triple battles and rotation battles entirely (which is fine by me, they could be too chance-based and gimmicky) and is now focusing on doubles VGC it seems. This is good because doubles are awesome, and it’s getting to the point in singles where some threats are too over-centralizing to the metagame. I mean I still enjoy singles but doubles seems like the place to look out for this gen. They even made it so Smeargle can’t use dark void! Gamefreak knows. I’m also glad that the ice type seems to have been buffed with better pokemon this gen… switching those pokes in was not recommended previously and they still can’t hope to fight Scizor but hey the type’s a lot better now.
The competitive aspect is more accessible now too, which is nice because I got shit to do. Pokepelago is great if you’re working, your pokemon can train while the game is off basically. You can increase IVs in hyper training too which is nice. Um… unless you have perfectly-bred pokemon Battle Tree will be real tough, so you gotta grind to get the destiny knot and power items which is kind of a chore.
Online-wise the game kind of takes a step backward. I liked seeing my friends and strangers pop up on the bottom screen last gen. It made the game more social and less of a hassle to interact online. Now you gotta go to Festival Plaza. Who gives a fuck about Festival Plaza lol. Nobody with taste that’s who.
So overall the game is great, but those are my assorted nitpicks/observations. I think Gamefreak will probably do sequels cuz Necrozma’s place in the story is deliberately left vague. If they do a sequel I hope for more Alola forms because those were great.