The Pokemon Franchise: What Sun & Moon Can Learn From X & Y

By: Jonathan Golian, Editor-in-Chief

On November 18th, the Nintendo World went alight as a brand-new core entry to the Pokemon Franchise, Pokemon Sun & Moon, was released world-wide at various locations and digitally. It has been 3 years since the 6th generation was released on October 12th, 2013, with a revival of Ruby & Sapphire going 3D on Nintendo’s current handheld first.

Genuinely, I’m pretty excited about these two new games. Unfortunately, I’m also very worried that I may be let down in several areas. Pokemon X & Y had much to live up to following up Black & White, with a grand story and better graphics than ever before, adding to the need to make something we’ve been doing as a community for years new again. Thus, I want to bring up a few areas that I personally think the 7th generation can blow the last one away.

 

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Story: N & Lysandre

There was something near the end of the game that I had waited and waited to send me soaring, and that was the ongoing narrative that led us through the game. With the two stories that were present in X&Y, The Fairy and the Giant along with The Research into Mega Evolutions, both fell flat. In past titles, most notably and recently seen in Black & White, the story has had more to do with the lives of the creatures and the humans they coexisted day-to-day with.

N was one of the greatest, if not best-written, antagonists because it was he himself that was troubled by the world around him, and unlike many of the past team enemies and central antagonists, we could genuinely relate to him. His reasoning and motivation for capturing everyone’s Pokemon companions, striving for their well-being and trying to free them of ownership, was unselfish and heartfelt, and many were conflicted near the end when facing him in the final story battles. He was a rare character for this series of games, as was his plight.

Given this, it is possible that Lysandre’s ambition in learning more of Mega-Evolution could be given a pass for having so much to build on, if it were not for how tied it was to the new gimmick. As well, the Giant’s Story, while sweet and sad, also worked as a device to give us the new type, Fairy. neither of these were enough to create a strong story, definitely not as thought-provoking as N’s Internal Conflict and his quest as head of Team Plasma.

A way for Sun & Moon to get over this is not to entirely cater to the new Z-Move set to a core part of the story and to drive back to the new region, the way it’s unique world works and the citizens inside. We do see this somewhat in information fed to us so far and from some of the images, so those of you traveling through the game now, I’m hoping you’re being drawn in by new and unknown elements.

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Gimmick Moves: Mega’s and Z-Attacks

Mega Evolutions, as introduced in X&Y, had given new life to the Pokemon we’ve raised and battled with for years. It was a nice change to gameplay, giving us new variants of familiar creatures and providing more power to them, and with that considered it is hard to argue against as being something we did need as a slight face-lift to the series. As said for X&Y, it all but consumed the narrative, but the role of the ability was downgraded for Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire. This was certainly needed after how much it was mashed into our faces previously, and for Sun & Moon, I hope it stays as something fun to explore.

Z-Moves don’t seem as drastic, though I’ve personally yet to see or experience much outside the demo, leading into my copy of Moon. It looks fun to utilize, plus the animations revealed for them give a grand display to the graphics and what is capable within the new game. There is a concern on mine as to how the abilities will sway the difficulty in battles ahead, but for the most part, my fear is how much focus it receives within the story. As always, having these as a way to mix up battle strategies up is a welcome way to make what’s old new again.

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In essence, we have so much go and explore within the new region and it’s inhabitants. One thing that has never changed is traveling to each new location to train, discover, and gain a better hold of our teams. I labeled what I think is important to keep the franchise exciting and fresh while avoiding problems by looking at the past and new additions to an old formula, but none of what I’ve put out there could take away from the greatness already present in the series.

There has never been a better time to come on-board and play, with new and old faces making appearances and with mechanics like Gym Battles being thrown for a loop with Island Trials and battling the Kahunas at each location. I hope you all that are looking to play give it a try as I will, and that all of you a day or so deep into the game are having fun with everything we’ve been teased with for the last year.

Get out there, Trainers, and choose your paths wisely!

Is there anything else you might think needed mentioning? Maybe an “objection” or two to throw up? Let us know in the comment section on what you think of the games new and old!

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