SPOILER FREE REVIEW
Pokémon and I have had a love-hate relationship, ever since I was little. I own Pokémon XD for Gamecube, Pokémon Red for Gameboy, Pokémon Heartgold and Black 2 for the Nintendo DS, and now I own Pokémon X and Pokémon Sun for 3DS. HOWEVER! Never, in my life, have I ever finished a Pokémon game.
Until Pokémon Sun, that is.
My roommate was insanely excited about this video game release, as Legend of Zelda and Pokémon are her two favorite series for the Nintendo (3)DS, and she quickly won me over with the commercials they had produced for the game. INSERT LINK. They were heartwarming, made me nostalgic for my childhood days, and highlighted the adventure to come in the 20th Anniversary game.
But I had one problem – I didn’t own a Nintendo 3DS.
At this point in time (November 2016), I had long since grown out of my Nintendo DS phase of life (or so I thought). I only had a meager DSi (I used to have a DS Lite, but my little sister broke it completely, which quickly made me regret selling my Gameboy Advanced SD when I was 11. I was uncultured and didn’t know what I was doing then.), which got me thinking – with the new Nintendo Switch coming out soon, wouldn’t this be the perfect time to get my hands on a 3DS? Surely they don’t go for that much.
Thus began my eBay search and adventure. I hadn’t bought anything from that website before, so it was a grand adventure into the unknown. And my inexperience definitely showed. I found this amazing eBay shop that had exactly what I was looking for, and was selling 3Ds’s at a decent price (honestly, better than anything I would get from GameStop). But this was where the mistake was made – as an inside joke, I bought a beautiful aqua blue, regular 3Ds, but it was set to the Japan region. Me, not doing my research, bought the thing and did not realize that Nintendo had region locked the devices; this means that depending on which region the device is set to, only games released in that region would work on the device.
This quickly lead to me desperately trying to find a way to make the device work for me so I could get English and play US region games on my consol. Unfortunately, that proved to be too much work, and I had to send the console back. Which sucked, because it wasn’t scratched and dented or anything. Still working with that shop, I instead bought a used 3DS XL, and I have happily been playing on it since the day I got it. (I even got Pokémon themed stickers to decorate it and hide the abuse the console had been dealt before.)
With the console acquired and in working condition, both my roommate and I preordered the game at GameStop in our hometown and were able to attend the midnight release of the game. (Yes, this meant a 90 minute round trip from our campus to GameStop and back to our campus.) But it was definitely worth it and we stayed up to four in the morning playing that game.
Unfortunately, due to college classes, I wasn’t able to finish the game until two weeks ago (whereas my roommate played through the entirety of Sun and Moon in that time frame). But the important fact is that I finally finished a Pokémon game! I’ve gotten close to it once before, but the Elite Four proved to be too strong for me and I ended up giving up on finishing the game.
Anyways, now that I’ve made you sit through this long, drawn out story time, why don’t we get to the good stuff?
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Being completely honest, this is probably my favorite Pokémon game of all time (next to Pokémon XD, that is). I believe that falls to two different things: the story line and the graphics.
When it comes to any sort of video games (the Sims being the sole exception), I always look for the ones that have compelling and immersive story lines. I don’t want to be bored when playing a game and I always want to be guessing as to what will happen next. Although Pokémon falls on the lighter end of the storytelling spectrum, I found that Sun had a more story infused than normal. I believe that’s a result of us being in a different location than normal – we were on various island’s, inspired by Hawaii – which brought about new customs, traditions, and world building to be infused.
Not only that, but the battle structure was slightly different. In terms of mechanics, it remained the same. What I mean is that instead of having gym’s to battle your way through, you had trials instead. Personally, I loved the changes from gym battles to the trial battles – not only where they easier to get through, but many of them came with mini-quests to do before you faced off with the totem Pokémon (the replacements for the gym leaders). Honestly, I loved this changed and I hope their games in the future continue to play around with this concept.
I also found it very easy to level up, thanks to the EXP Share applying to all of the Pokémon in the party. This was first introduced a few games ago (I don’t remember which one exactly, I think it was with Pokémon X and Y [which I am currently playing]) and I fell in love with this feature. It made it easy to balance having six Pokémon in my party – I know that you really shouldn’t do this, but I couldn’t resist leveling all of them up at one time – while knowing that they are all basically getting the same treatment as my primary Pokémon.
By far, my favorite feature happened when it came time to catch Pokémon. When you had six Pokémon in your party and caught a new one, you were given the option to either trade out a Pokémon in your party or simply place the new catch into your PC Box. That feature was lifesaving for me, as it saved many trips to the town center to react my PC Box. I relied on it to the point that when I started playing Pokémon X (backwards order, I know), and was a little deterred when I realized that feature was only for Sun and Moon. Again, I hope this is another concept that they keep using in the future, as it really saved play time and made things easier on the user!
Overall, I have to say that I adored this game. It was fun and easy to get through, and there is still many things to do after the end of the game! Although I might have set the game aside for Pokémon X, I still look forward to returning to Sun – and maybe Moon – in the future.
If you are a fan of the Pokémon series and haven’t picked up either Sun or Moon yet, I highly recommend it! Although I took my time with my play through, the game could easily be finished in a matter of hours. The gameplay is smooth, the colors and location is simply beautiful, and I can’t wait to restart the game and dive back in all over again.