There’s no doubt that 2016 has been a good year for the Pokémon franchise and its fans. Nintendo has done an excellent job of celebrating Pokémon‘s 20th anniversary through game releases like Pokémon GO and several other goodies that fans have had a chance to enjoy. The good news is it’s not over. In a little less than a month, Pokémon Sun and Moon will launch for the Nintendo 3DS, introducing every trainer out there to the Alola region. So, as a primer, Nintendo invited us to check out the games to give you guys a preview of what to expect when you finally get to play the new adventure.
Changes are coming to the Pokémon series, and the most obvious is the work in the presentation. The world is of course rendered in 3D, so the act of going up inclined hills, for example, actually looks like it should. The size of characters and other items are scale relative to the world. This means that Pokémon will be represented in their right sizes. In other words, the size difference between a Meowth and a Snorlax will be substantial when seen around the Alola Region—as it should be. On top of this, your character will actually be normal sized, and won’t just be a big head with little legs and arms.
These new changes feel like natural evolutions, and a great step for the next generation. One thing the series has never really featured. until now, was cut-scenes. In my short time with the game, I saw one cut scene in which my character found himself on a collapsing bridge, but was saved by a new Pokémon. It wasn’t very long, and that was perfectly fine. I don’t know how many more of these moments will be included in the rest of the game, nor how long they can get, but having these short little snippets to enhance the drama in some key moments is welcome. Just don’t expect The Last of Us-level cinematics.
One other subtle change to the presentation is that you’ll see the trainer standing behind his Pokémon during battles. Yes, that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it goes into making it feel more like a real Pokémon adventure.
Simplifying the World
Gone are the days when you’d have to worry about carrying HM-specific Pokémon. Replacing the outdated system is the Poké Ride, which is basically Alola’s Uber. As you progress through your adventure, you’ll be able to call in Pokémon to help you do things like fly and surf, instead of having to teach these moves to your pocket monsters. It’s seriously a big deal. This simplifies the process of traversal in the region. But for those of you who appreciate a challenge, don’t worry. You do still have to unlock things like “fly”; they’re not instantly accessible.
Longtime trainers will also be happy to know that things such as effort values (EVs) and attack buffs/debuffs are also now easily viewable (they were hidden or difficult to get to before). These once hidden stats will be readily available for you, so you won’t need to keep spreadsheets to figure it all out. Plus, younger and newer trainers will also get a chance to dive deep into these super nerdy numbers to try and get the perfect Togapi (or whichever your favorite little monster may be).
However, there is one new addition that I think won’t please everyone. After battling a Pokémon once, your attacks will display whether a move is effective or not—this feature cannot be turned off. The thought process behind this is that there are so many types now that it makes it difficult to keep up with what’s weak and strong against what. As someone who’s played every main RPG release in the series, I think this will make the game too easy, but we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.
Pokémon GO, maybe?
Though it is still unconfirmed whether Sun/Moon will connect with Pokémon GO in any shape or form, Nintendo would be silly not to capitalize on the popularity of the mobile game. Again, nothing is for certain, but I’d be surprised if we didn’t get some sort of interactivity between both titles.
As subtle as some of these changes may appear, there are enough positive changes, along with other features that have been previously announced (like the introduction of Island Trials), that this could be a real fun adventure for veteran trainers and newcomers alike. What do you guys thing about finally getting rid of the HMs? How about making it easier to figure out what move is most effective in battle? Do you welcome the idea of a more cinematic Pokémon experience? Let us know your super effective thoughts in the comments section below! Thanks again to Nintendo for letting check the game out.