Pokémon Sun and Moon First Day Review

After playing Pokémon Sun until my eyes burned today, I have several thoughts on the latest installment of the franchise. The art style, storyline, and new or improved mechanics combine to create a wonderful and fresh experience. 

Beginning with the art style, the design has taken a completely new direction. While 3D is no new concept starting with X/Y and ORuby/ASapphire, the animations feel far more personalized. Each Pokémon has a unique set of animations for moves and idle movements. Interacting with them in Refresh stands as a different experience per each Pokémon. Battles, also, tend to be more intense even with weak Pokémon and seldom is there a boring fight. 

While generic Pokémon exist regardless of region, this game contains far less of them. The designs remain diverse and colorful without rehashing designs frequently used before. Even with some of the Pokémon being returners, their new forms offer up exciting alternatives with battling.

Secondly, the story attracts my interest more than any of the previous 3D games. Nintendo attempts a new direction with this installment, replacing gyms with trials. These trials test trainers against the environment and wild Pokémon around them rather than a single hard-to-beat boss trainer. The natural environment of the island the game takes place in brings itself to the forefront throughout the entire game. Not only is this scenery diverse, it offers up plenty to explore and to discover through the region.

Finally, the mechanics of the game put new spins on old features, such as the Pokémon Amie from the previous 3D games. The Refresh can be used to heal your companions as they become injured as well as to bond. Z-Moves make their debut in this game, which give a heightened power to moves of a certain type based on what Z-Crystal you have collected. Each of these Z-Moves are unique to each Pokémon that uses them, and I find them incredibly entertaining to let unfold. Your Pokédex is sentient as well, offering comedy and commentary in the same sentences. This is because of a Rotom possessing the technology and speaking through it, something unique to these games.

Overall, the game intrigues and excites me and I look forward to finding out just where the rest of this story is taking me. I’ve yet to find a dull moment in this game aside from lag that a patch fixes in the coming days. If you were on the fence about buying the new game out of fear of being disappointed, cast away those fears and pick yourself up a copy of Sun or Moon!

Upcoming Video Games in the Holiday Season

With the holiday season rolling around, promising sequels and new content burst in the realm of video games as the year comes to a close.

This season is no different, with sequels to critically-acclaimed titles and series coming into play and grabbing for their chance to shine. November alone has a plethora of new games for both console and PC, and at least one of them is bound to strike the interest of someone out there, whether they avidly track upcoming games or if they play casually.

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Dear Pokemon Go: GIVE US THE TRACKING FEATURE

So this past weekend, I went on a trip to San Francisco for the first time! It was great: lots of good food, nice cold weather that made me feel like it was actually fall, really good wine…

The first day we were in town, I got to walk around the pier and buildings where the ferry is located. They had a beautiful indoor market, and a beautiful view of the water on one side, and the bustling city on the other. I thought, “Wow, this is so fun. It can’t get any better than this.”

And then I decided to open up Pokemon Go. And I was welcomed with a glorious sight.

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Much to my surprise, it seems that San Francisco isn’t only home to The Giants and the bay area, but also to the golden tracking feature that may possibly save this insane app that has essentially taken over the world.

For those of you who don’t know or are aware, once Pokemon Go dropped in July, the app almost immediately rose to the number one downloaded app in the Apple App Store. However, as the app was downloaded, more and more issues began to rose. Servers were crashing like waves, at one point there was news of a hack, and then all the controversy with the tracking features.

With Pokemon Go, the original tracking feature implemented would show little tracks, ranging from three to one that would depend on how close a Pokemon would be to your avatar’s location. However, as the updates slowly came out, users became enraged when this tracking feature was removed, and was promptly replaced with a feature that was less than productive than the last update. This lead to a large chunk of the users to leave the game entirely, many of them claiming that the game is basically useless without its original tracking feature.

So you can imagine both my surprise and ultimate joy when I saw this new tracking feature on my phone. As a disclaimer, let it be known: the Pokemon Go tracking feature shown is a BETA, and is only located in San Francisco for the U.S., as of now.

But let’s go over what’s so special about this new tracking feature.

The biggest thing that I thought was most effective was the little location circles next to the Pokemon. When you tap on those, the app then shows you the location where the Pokemon is, initially mimicking what Pokestops do. However, there is an added twist.

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When you tap on a specific Pokemon you want to catch, and after the disc shows where their location is at, a “view” option appears. Once you tap on that, the app zooms out and shows you exactly where the Pokemon is located.

So naturally, I freaked out. A lot. And completely ran the app down to my last little bits of battery until it died throughout the day.

And with that, my final thoughts on the new tracking feature?

I honestly think, it might just be the thing that saves the app from dying out. With all the essentially empty promises of being able to trade and battle other users, this feature seems to be the closest to reality. It is also one of the only features, despite being a beta, that users can use and show the results of this new feature.

So to Niantics and to everyone in the Pokemon Go team: GIVE US THE TRACKING FEATURE. It may not be the one that everyone wants, but it’s the one we may deserve.

Oh, and also: maybe add Pokemon where they would actually be??? Like, for example:

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Maybe add some water pokemon IN THE ACTUAL WATER? Just a thought.

And if you found this topic interesting, or at the very least appreciate my subtle (or not so subtle, whichever you prefer) nerdy references, I host an evening talk show on Saturdays at 7 PM PST! The show is called “Bingeworthy”, and I cohost the show with my friend, Kentaro Kawasaki. Come tune in Saturday nights and follow us on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter at @KCRBingeworthy.