After ignoring the game for a stretch in January, I finally got back on the horse and finished up Pokemon Sun.
Of course, by “finished” I merely mean that I wrapped up the main story line, thwarted the evil does, picked up the prescribed legendary Pokemon, defeated the newly constituted Alola Pokemon League final four, and then bested the champion to take the title for myself.
As I have noted before, that level of being finished is the same as saying you’re finished with the current WoW expansion because you wrapped up the main quest lines in all the zones and hit level cap. As with WoW, there is always a lot of things to do once the primary story is complete. A good Pokemon title comes with a lot of end game options.
I have enjoyed Pokemon Sun so far. Something else I have said in the past is that every Pokemon game, if you pull back far enough, is essentially the same. A kid with a neglectful parent is allowed to wander the countryside engaging in the local pet-based blood sport until they are crowned champion of the local area.
To a fan of the series though, despite the similarities between titles, each generation of the game is different in enough details to make them unique. There are, of course, new locations and new bad guys to thwart, along with new Pokemon to catch. But there is also an evolution of the game mechanics over time as well as gimmicks that often show up for a generation only to fade with the next.
The problem is discerning which are features that are likely to stick around and what is a gimmick that you’ll never see again. Having experience share that covers your whole party or getting experience for catching Pokemon as well as for defeating them are things that came in with previous games, so those will remain go forward.
On the flip side, as an example, the quirks of the Alola region such as not having a Pokemon League initially are one-time events used to promote the story. That won’t be a thing next time around… especially since, if we follow the usual pattern, next time around should be a remake of a previous Pokemon game/region.
Z-Crystals, the special items that boost a once-per-fight Pokemon attack, are likely out for the next title as well. That has the hallmark of a one-time feature. (Though I thought the same thing about mega evolutions, and they are still a thing in the Pokemon Sun & Moon end game.)
In the middle though, there are some features I wonder about.
Pokemon refresh… a feature by which you feed, groom, and otherwise improve the spirits of your party… that I think is likely out next time around. It was one of those features that seemed neat when I started out in Alola, but after a while it turns into another bit of overhead you have to attend to after battles. If A Pokemon gets wet you have to blow dry it… seriously… or it won’t be as happy. But you want them happy, because when they are all spiffed up they can dodge attacks or get extra crits when fighting… plus it can cure status conditions after a battle… so you dare not ignore it.
Pokemon calling for help in the wild… I think that is out for the next title as well… or maybe I just hope it is. That got a bit annoying after the first few fights where call for help extended a battle through half a dozen Pokemon.
The Poke Pelago, the special island you can develop also feels like a one time feature. I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, having to show up and collect Poke beans daily starts to feel like a chore, and the interface for some operations is a bit clunky.
On the other hand, the fact that you can level up Pokemon (slowly) on the island or hatch eggs rather than hauling them around with your party for thousands of steps, was a big boon. Eggs are still a bit or work, but we no longer have to pace back and forth over a set track to hatch them. So I will miss that part.
Rotom as your Pokedex worked out well, especially for me since it keeps track of where you need to go next. That kept me from totally losing my way when I took a break from the game. But then again, Pokedex updates and changes are pretty standard between releases. I expect some of the features might stick, but the Pokedex itself will be different next time.
And then there were the travel move changes. Gone were the dreaded Hidden Machine moves that you had to hobble your group with and in were special mounts you could summon on demand… if the situation was right.
I’m all for not crudding up your Pokemon with sub-par moves, moves that keep them from being transferred to boot. On the flip side, this change does make travel very convenient and removes the hard choice about which Pokemon you’re are going to inflict HMs upon. I will be interested to see if this feature carries on to the next generation.
As for the game itself, I am chasing the Alola Pokedex currently. I am 41% of the way in currently. The Pokemon Sun & Moon Pokemon are a mix of old versions (some of which have acquired local color) and new ones fresh with this release.
With the Pokemon Bank update I could dump a bunch of the previous ones into the game, but that feels like a bit of a cheat. I will save that for the National Pokedex task. For the Alola Pokedex I want to go out and get what I can first and trade for what I have to before I resort to Pokemon Bank as a resource. Of course, it would help if my daughter would link trade with me. You need to do that to evolve some Pokemon.
Anyway, that is where I stand. Still plugging away at Pokemon Sun.