As mentioned with last week’s look at the Team Skull themes, we’ll be doing a full-fledged review of Pokemon Sun and Moon on this Thursday’s podcast. But let’s talk a little bit about some of the little changes the series has made, some minutiae we may not get to in an hourlong format.
Sun/Moon manage to take the familiar Pokemon approach and turn it on its head a bit. Sure, you’re still a child who stumbles into a friendly animal companion, tasked with traveling through a region and catching as many Pokemon as you can. At a certain level, you can’t change too many core mechanics without the series becoming a parody of itself (see: Shadow the Hedgehog).
But these most recent titles strip away many of the unenjoyable mechanics in favor of keeping you invested in the fun as much as possible. Remember HMs? I don’t, because they’re gone in this game and I haven’t missed them for a goddamn second. In their place, you gain access to various Pokemon who serve a similar purpose — a Lapras you can call to surf, a Charizard that can fly to previously visited locations.
What about catching Pokemon? In Sun and Moon, you can examine them immediately to see what their status/nature look like, and you have a toggleable option to choose between sending them to a box or adding them to your party immediately. No more trekking to a Pokemon Center just to find out that you threw 147 Ultra Balls at a Snorlax with a -Atk nature.
How about gyms? A series mainstay thrown out the window, replaced by trials and kahuna battles that are similar, but not restricted to elaborate buildings in towns. Being able to spread these events throughout the game (occasionally at unexpected times) makes the pacing much better, especially after the issues that X/Y had.
These are just three examples, and we’ll probably touch on more in our podcast review episode (or a full written review later). But anyone who has drifted away from Pokemon over the years probably owes Sun and Moon a look to see if it can recapture that magic for you.
This week’s track is essentially Victory Road, even though there’s no such place in S/M. In yet another change I support, there’s no grueling dungeon before the Pokemon League — instead, you get epic music, an important battle on the way, and a handful of high-level wild Pokemon as you make your ascent to Alola’s highest peak.
Pokemon Sun/Moon – The Path to the League
Music to My Ears covers soundtracks or individual songs from video games. You can view all posts in the series by clicking here.