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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A Brief Look at Square-Enix’s Decision to Re-Release Kingdom Hearts onto the PS4

Let me start out and say that I, the man writing this, will more than likely buy a copy of this re-re-release of the Kingdom Hearts series as updated for the PS4 I just bought not long ago. Not only have I been a fan of the series for as long as I can remember of the early 2000’s, but every iteration that has come out since has seen money fly out of my pocket and time out of my weeks spent on enjoying, or reviling as was the case with Re:Coded on the DS, the franchise and it’s various chapters.

That being said, I am without a doubt shocked that we, in between now and Kingdom Hearts 2.8, which in turn is between us and Kingdom Hearts 3, are seeing what many of us view as another cash grab by Square, reaping of what loyalty some of us have left as well as patience.

There are several problems here that I want to openly engage.

First, why is the company bothering with doing this now when we have, hopefully, so short a time before the next installment, by which I mean 2.8 which includes Aqua’s side-story and the first taste of the battle interface we’ll be using in KH3, comes out? Every time I’ve seen one of the two updated collections pop up, 1.5 and 2.5 Remix, I also get to see a delay to one of the new projects. Fortunately in the same announcement period, we got new footage and screenshots, which I’ll now happily share;

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Copyright by Disney & Square-Enix

.. Here..

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Copyright Disney & Square-Enix

… and Here…

.. But, I just have this foreboding feeling that the effort thrown at bringing the collections to the current generation will have a profanely negative effect on bringing the installments we actually care about coming out, namely by delaying the projects AGAIN.

My second problem is within the last generation of consoles, seeing as the franchise already cleaned up and was moved to the PS3, who yet has not played these games that isn’t a Disney or old-school Squaresoft fan? While I can name a few from my groups of associates, there aren’t many. Even non-gamers have tapped into the magic that is this mash-up of stories and characters, some of which own the PS2 because of the Kingdom Hearts franchise. One of the only reasons I can see myself owning a PS4 copy of the collections is so that I can share with those whom refuse to play older system’s games, or for those whom sold their PS3’s for the PS4, as is frequently the case. Yeah, I can go kill Sephiroth again in one of my favorite battles in the original Kingdom Hearts, but how many more times till it becomes completely bland in my mind?

Look Square-Enix and Disney, I love you guys, I’ve adored you since I was first introduced to you both as a kid. All of your fans share that. So, for that same heart-felt and monetary affection, can you just get on with it and produce the next chapter already? These Olympus screens look amazing, but you know where they’d be even better? On several discs, in our game consoles, preferably before we’re dead.

– From a Concerned Fan