Pokemon Sun – An Unfortunate Turn of Events

When I wrote a few days ago about my first impressions of Pokémon Sun (here), I may have still been on a bit of a hype, enthralled in all the new elements and pretty graphics, but having now completed the main game and working through the Ultra Beasts mission with our old friend Looker, I can’t help but feel somehow disappointed, unfulfilled. The game was good and I enjoyed playing, but when I said in my previous review that something felt off, it actually unfortunately stayed off, and I feel like the whole story was just too short and simplistic in the end.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some hard fights throughout (that damn Lurantis anyone?) if you’re not trained properly, but other than the odd few challenges, it’s not actually that difficult or time consuming to become the first ever Alola champion. Wild SOS battles can still be frustrating, but as far as the trainers go, as long as you bring along a stock of healing items and you work on type advantages, you shouldn’t really have too much of a problem.

Extra features like the Festival Plaza and Pokemon Pelago add a new and different way of engaging with both your internal Pokémon world and the world outside. However, while these are a bit of fun, they seem kind of pointless and misplaced, especially the Pelago – unless you want to make your game even easier, that is. You can leave Pokémon in there to gain levels, find you items, grow in affection etc. The Festival Plaza is all well and good, but it’s not really that necessary as I feel the old system of battling and trading with real people from generation 6 worked just fine as it was, without all the frills.

The one gimmicky feature I have enjoyed though is the QR code function. I don’t really care too much about filling my Pokedex in this way, though it is handy to get information on creatures you haven’t seen yet, but the special Pokémon you can receive through the island scan function is nice. It’s not incredible, but it did get me the Johto starters, which are welcome additions to my team.

The game’s main saving grace is perhaps the legendary Pokémon and Aether Foundation storyline, reaching its climax around the time of your final trial, right before you take on the all new Pokemon League. It’s interesting to learn the truth about the nervous Lillie and the elusive Gladion as everything is tied together and wrapped up, as well as setting the stage for the postgame story. Unfortunately, however, this is once again pretty anti-climatic in the end.

In summary, this game at its conclusion leaves both good and bad feelings. While I did rather enjoy it and want to reach the end, it didn’t have me as hooked as I might have been in the past, and there’s still something not quite clicking that I can’t really put my finger on. I feel like for newcomers to the series, these games will be phenomenal, and it kills me to say it but as a seasoned player who grew up in the Gameboy era, I honestly feel it’s starting to lose its steam.

I don’t know; maybe I was just expecting a little too much…

THE MAIN PROS:

  • Immersive world, interesting landscapes
  • A whole new and refreshing twist on the challenge to qualify for the Pokémon league
  • Some cute creatures and colourful characters (I love my Salazzle!)
  • You can take photos of wild Pokémon at certain points, that can be saved to your SD card
  • You don’t need to waste space in your party/moves for HMs anymore

THE MAIN CONS:

  • Too short and straightforward – needs to be either longer or more challenging

  • Not many great clothing options for customisation

  • Having to watch the Z-move cutscene – every single time you use one!

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