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!