Pokemon Moon Review (3DS)

POKEMON MOON REVIEW

REVIEWED ON 3DS / Nov. 28, 2016


Shoot for the stars!

Pokemon Moon and Sun is the seventh generation of the mega sensation Pokemon franchise. Following the success of the spin-off game Pokemon Go, Many were excited to get back to the main series. XY and ORAS were great but didn’t innovate much in terms of gameplay for the franchise, and thus, in my eyes, this is easily one of the best Pokemon games out there.

ALOLA!

Alola is the new region where it has 80 new Pokemon plus ultra beasts and 18 Alolan forms of generation one Pokemon. The region itself is varied like most of the Pokemon games. It follows the Hawaiian theme greatly and the game benefits greatly because of the natural geology Hawaii has. The new Pokemon fit naturally like Pallosand found in the beaches or Bagons found near cliffs. The versions doesn’t differ much from itselves like different time where in Moon you play in the night at Alola when you play in the day in real life. Version exclusive Pokemon’s are still here to stay.

The new Pokemon’s have great designs like Wimpod, Rowlet or Salandit. You can use any of the new Pokemon to get through the game though you may need to train a bit as this title is harder than the previous 2 iterations. The real problem is found not on the design but on the quantity of them. Though higher in count than in XY, the problem is that the new Pokemon are hardly around and difficult to find as many of these Pokemon are found in specific grass patches or have a 5% chance of seeing one. This makes Alola feel that the endemic species are quite endangered and may feel quite too familiar with older fans. Ultra beasts on the other hand are one of the best inclusion in the game. They are cool and strong and gives the story the what it needed to be great. I won’t spoil anything about these beauties and are better to be experienced by yourselves.

zmove

Kawaii in Hawaii!

Goodbye to the old! Say hello to the new!

The newest feature to be added is the all-powerful Z-Move. It connects with one of your Pokemon’s move and make it stronger. You can collect the Z-Crystals via progressing the story and other special crystals are found during side quests or looking around. The move can make a losing battle turn its tide to your favor and the animation of them are great for the first few times. After using it again and again, Z-Moves loses its charm and make it tedious to watch the whole animation. Sadly, Mega-Evolution can be only accessed in its post game which in my opinion way better than Z-moves.

HMs are now gone! Ride pager is now the new thing in Pokemon and it feels great to have a team with 6 instead of 5 and a HM slave. This is one of the most requested feature in a long time and Game Freak did an amazing job replacing HMs.

Gym battles are now replaced by island trials. The trials are both challenging and fun. The trials itself are sort of puzzles and battles. It is not that different than a gym but it feels more natural to Alola.

Great side activities are implemented like actual side quests that can earn you money, Poke Pelago where boxed Pokemon don’t feel alone and useless but actually helps get items and also train, QR Scanner to get Pokemon that aren’t native to Alola and Pokemon Refresh which makes your Pokemon feel real like real pets. Using these features enhances the experience big time and Game freak should be commended for it.

There are some noticeable removals in the game like triple and rotation battles. These are traded in favor of battle royal which is not an upgrade to those. Performing Battle Royal or double battles even result to huge frame drops. The removal of 3D was surprising but wasn’t noticeable. Pokefinder was also introduced. It is like a mini version of Pokemon Snap that every fan clamored for. This is the only area where 3D works but the frames are noticeably really low here and the feature itself doesn’t add much to the game.

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Your new best friend!

Gotta catch ’em all!

The game feels challenging even when the exp. share is turned on as the the opponents have better AI and doesn’t have really under leveled Pokemon. The post game especially feels hard as opponents use better strategy and have competitively viable Pokemon with IVs and EVs. For competitive Pokemon battlers, It hasn’t changed that much but without the friend safari, It is harder to get hidden abilities and many IVed Pokemon. Hyper training is also added the make the stats of a level 100 Pokemon look like they have perfect IVs but it only mimics it and doesn’t actually add IVs. You need an item called bottle cap in order to hyper train which is either rare or hard to farm.

Story isn’t a Pokemon’s strong point but this game provides not only an interesting story but great characters. The characters and their Pokemon have great development arc. The story is both funny with its dialogue and expressions. Surprisingly,  It has a serious tone whenever the story is in full force and it makes a strong case for the best story for a Pokemon game. The soundtrack also helps that it is great both in battle and in story cut-scenes. Hearing Pokemon voices whenever walking around the region makes it feel alive.

The Verdict

Pokemon Moon is one of the best Pokemon games around. It is certainly better than its predecessor and it moves the franchise forward. Game freak made a terrific job to restore Pokemon to its classic fame and happy to go back everyday to play more and make a competitive team.


PROS:

+ Islands trials are both fun and challenging.

+ Great designs for new Pokemon, forms and ultra-beasts.

+ Delivered one of the best stories and characters for Pokemon.

+ Great soundtrack.

+ Poke Pelago and Refresh are great side activites

+ HMs are now GONE!!! All hail Ride Pager!

CONS:

– Scarce amount of new Pokemon and Alolan forms.

– Festival Plaza is a mess to use.

– Noticeable big frame drops in totem, double and battle royal fights.

– Z-Moves aren’t exactly groundbreaking

Score:

9.5/10

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