Pokémon: Sun/Moon (2016)

Shaking up the formula with increasingly lush graphics, tropical Kanto forms, & the best legendaries since R/S/E, but polarizing Island Challenge & too much hand-holding, Sun/Moon are a flawed but overall-fantastic new generation. 8/10.

Plot Synopsis: Embark on a new adventure as a Pokémon Trainer and catch, battle, and trade all-new Pokémon on the tropical islands of the Alola Region. Discover the Z-Moves and unleash these intense attacks in battle. Call upon Pokémon with Poké Ride to discover new areas across the region and take on the Island Challenge Trials to become the Pokémon Champion! Discover the mystery of the Legendary Pokémon while stopping Team Skull from causing chaos throughout the land.

*Possible spoilers ahead*

Pros: Beautiful graphics – absolutely stunning painting Pokemon’s version of Hawaii – another incredible idea that makes it feel more real, good character development and storytelling, GREAT new pokemon choosing to add updates to original ones like Alolan Raichu (one of my new Top 5 favorite Pokemon of All-Time), Alolan Ninetales, etc. instead of soulless new designs like Gen 5-6 which lacked the inventiveness and heart of the original 3-4 generations, the new pokemon they do add are SPECTACULAR (for the most part) with incredible legendaries especially Solgaleo (another one of my new Top 5 favorite Pokemon of All-Time), shakes things up and tries something new – respefctacle and will prol;ong Pokemon’s legacy although there are problems, awesome side missions like the Ditto 5 and chucking Pyukumiku, incentive new pokemon tying into the Hawaiian and tropical themes like Sandygast having normal sand and shiny black sand for hawaii’s black beaches, spectacular legendaries – best since Gen 3 imo!! and iconography playing off the sun and moon duality and importance in hawaiian and island cultures, story gets better as you go on with intriguing dynamics and main villains like Lusamine, great character design with fashion and freedom to customize – a HUGE thing players have been requesting and wanting as it makes the game so much better, changes the backgrounds of fights – small but effective change in coding that makes every battle truly feel new and fresh, one of Pokemon’s most engaging and richly-written stories ever, probably the best 2 icon legendaries EVER released in Pokemon playing off the duality of sunlight and moonlight with incredible, cultural and badass design/intricate typing, great nostalgic touches post-game in the UM/US with Team Rainbow Rocket and the Red/Blue battle, great set design, Z-moves and Mega Evolutions a phenomenal idea – introduced previously but expanded here that just further the badassness and stunning design of the best and most striking pokemon while also making them better for competitive play,

Cons: WAY too much hand-holding throughout and dumbed down teaching you every single basic thing anyone who’s played pokemon knows by heart with things like a way-too-long opening and insultingly simple Island Challenges featuring basic pokemon – at least have difficulty settings for people who’ve played the last 20 years of Pokemon games and don’t need a 30-min demonstration on how to catch a Pokemon.. I remember having to challenge the first gym 5 TIMES in Pokemon Yellow before even beating it, yet I 1-hit KO every single Island Challenge here? Disappointing, not everyone needs a participation trophy, bring back challenging gameplay, really don’t like the new gym system: I definitely respect that they’re pushing the envelope and trying something different, but it lacks the core feel and essence of what Pokemon is and the best part by far: gym battling and pitting your strongest Pokemon against the gym leader. do have some “gym leaders” i guess but still needs more, Lillie and her brother kind of annoying characters, Really hate the Ride Pager Pokemon idea, I agree with the idea of taking away HM’s as unnecessary moves, but takes away one of the most iconic things in Pokemon: being  able to do things like ride on the back of your favorite pokemon (for me, Latios) or surf on the back on another one of your favorites like Kyogre or Blastoise. I don’t want to be restricted to ONE pokemon when flying or surfing, especially underwhelming ones like Tauros, Lapras, and Stoutland… Team Skull not a great villain team.. too joke-y and  slightly racist almost playing off the ‘hip-hop is bad’ motif instead of scary like Team Rocket or Magma/Aqua (better than past teams like Plasma and whoever was X/Y’s but still not good), Ultra Beasts and Ultra Wormholes an unnecessary and plain uncool addition with (the really only) poor/lazy character designs like Buzzswole and Nihilego.., weak post-game with not much to do besides a brief Team Rainbow Rocket episode and the cool Red/Blue nostalgia touch, very mediocre scoring especially by Pokemon standards – generic and lifeless with just enough hawaiian twang to make it passable but soulless compared to past masterpieces like Red/Blue and Gold/Silver/Crystal, Z-move animations cheesy

Overall Score: 8/10