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This New Pokemon Sun & Moon is Really, Really Good!

Have you guys gotten the new Pokemon Sun & Moon yet? I actually bought two two-packs yesterday…pricey, yes, but that’s what happens when you have a Nintendo family with 4 people wanting to play right away! And it’s a bit of a surprise, even to myself, that I’m jumping in to Pokemon at all

Quick story…I collect all the Pokemon games but have never really enjoyed them too much. The first Pokemon I played was with my wife and it was Diamond & Pearl. We bought the pair for a reason I can’t recall but likely just hearing about Pokemon and wanting to give it a go was why. I had a Game Boy as a kid, but never heard of or played the originals or any leading up to it. Well, we not only played it but we got all the way through it and enjoyed it. I have memories of using my lunch hour to walk around and play. (Obviously, the walking part was not part of the game, I was just using the chance to exercise…possibly a precursor to a certain mobile port of the game?) When we’d completed it, we were satisfied, but really didn’t ache to play another version, past or future. And we never tried to catch em all. I maybe caught 20 total.

Over the years, as kids came into the fold, I’d give some random Pokemon game another try and would inevitably get bored quickly and stop. This happened with BlueY, and Silver. About 6 months ago, I finally finished another game, Pokemon FireRed, which I played simultaneously with my oldest son. (Who’s Poke-crazy.) I actually traded him all my Pokemon when I was done but he’s currently stuck in that ghost building…

Still, I felt it was a game not for me, too much work to do, a goal of catching Pokemon I didn’t find interesting, no platforming action that I crave…until Pokemon Go came long…

I never intended to get so wrapped up in Go, really. I’d heard about it. I knew it was mobile and “real world,” but it wasn’t until the very day it came out when I let the buzz overtake me that I downloaded it and…well…wow…I’ve sunk maybe hundreds of hours into it. I’ve played it at my desk at work (for a few months I was at a co-working location that had a Pokestop!), I let the game run while I ran errands and walked around stores, I go on loooooooong walks to hatch, I go on loooooooong walks in Golden where there are Pokestops aplenty. I even get excited about vacations because I might be able to catch some cool stuff! (We stayed at Coronodo Island when we went to Comic Con in July and…my gosh…that is a glorious place to find water types!)

Incidentally, as of right now, I have a full Pokedex (including all the regionals which I’ve seen in gyms) and the only Pokemon I have yet to get is a Lapras. Where are you, Lapras?!

So, Pokemon Sun & Moon are the first new games to come out since my Go experience and I bought it Day 1…yesterday. I started playing last night at 7:30PM and it’s barely 12 hours later and I’m already 4 hours in. (Mind you, I’m a father of 3 and so, no, I didn’t play all night or anything.) It’s paining me now to even write this article up without playing! I was playing while cooking eggs for breakfast!

And I have to say, it’s really good. I mean, really good! I dorked with Pokemon Y once, my first try with a 3D version of the games, and I found it slow and pacing. I grew impatient with the non-2D graphics and how long battles were taking and I gave up after about an hour. I figured I’d play the 2D games only, but…in the end…I had to give this new one a try.

What I love about it is that the battles are very quick and efficient. I don’t feel like they’re a big slowdown. There’s also the ability to level up all the Pokemon in your party without having to switch them in to battles. That’s…awesome! I’m fairly sure this is the first game to do that, but maybe I’m wrong. For a diehard, I bet they probably hate this. In the old days, let’s say to level up a Magikarp, you’d have to start with them in a battle and then immediately switch it out and let a more powerful Pokemon take over. Then, after winning, they’d split the XP. Such an expenditure of time for a little bit of progress each and every time. Now…every Pokemon in your six gets some benefit. Simply holding on to that Magikarp is enough! This makes battles less monotonous. And with so many hundreds of Pokemon to catch, it just makes everything more sane for the casual player like myself. Not easy. Sane. If I want to slowly power up a Pokemon, I just need to make it one of my six and battle with any of them. Done.

The other great thing? Once you’ve fought a new Pokemon, future battles will hint you as to which of your attacks are effective or not. I do try to memorize the matchup charts (water beats fire, fire beats electric, grass beats water, etc.), it’s just much handier and helpful to have this displayed for you. Again, I’m sure the diehards don’t like this because it’s all in their head, but I like it. No, I love it. Plus, it’s helping me learn much faster!

The graphics are nice (as much as a 3DS can handle these days) and the dialogue isn’t too terrible. I was hoping the game would be less chatty than Nintendo fare has been lately. Skyward Sword was the pinnacle of pain, but the recent Paper Mario: Color Splash really cleaned things up. More concise. Pokemon Sun & Moon is right in the middle. It’s a little chatty for sure, but not terrible. You don’t get to pick your starter for a little while longer than usual, but you don’t lose patience waiting for that moment either.

I get the feeling I’m going to be putting a ton of hours into this game over the next several weeks. Good thing I can afford to give Go a break for a while.

Man, this is good.

9.5 out of 10!

Could do without the picture taking, though…amirite?

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About John Blanco

John Blanco is an avid game collector and loves to write about his hobby as much as he participates in it. He run the Denver Retro Gamers Facebook group in Denver, Colorado, and coordinates swap-style meetups with dozens of other collectors every couple of months.

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