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Review Aloo - Sun & Moon [Dish #69]


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Review Aloo - Sun & Moon [Dish #69]

Posted November 28th, 2016 at 4:57 AM by gimmepie

Review Aloo - Sun & Moon

Welcome readers to my first attempt at a game review. I'm not much of a gamer myself in all honesty, but I've been playing the Pokemon Games for a long time now and I feel like it'd be remiss of me not to do this particular review. If this goes well, there might be more game reviews in the future. I'll try to refrain from giving too many spoilers, but read at your own risk. Onwards!


Plot
Pokemon games are not known for their complex plots, because whether we like it or not it is a franchise that has been and always will be primarily aimed at children. That being said, in the past we have had both games with limited plot such as the first and second generations as well as games that were quite plot heavy such as the fifth generation of games. The seven generation fits into the latter category and has (for Pokemon) a deep and complicated plot that the player is extremely involved in.

Furthermore, the plot isn't inexplicably dumped on you out of nowhere like in some Pokemon games. Whilst the player character isn't involved from the beginning, right from the first moments of the game we see it unfolding and are pulled into its folds thanks to the connections we quickly make with NPCs. This doesn't make it rushed however as the plot is spaced out quite nicely across Alola's various islands, isn't too linear and is fairly well paced throughout - although I will say that the ending does feel a little abrupt... that might just be because I binged the game though.

One complaint I do have about the plot though, is that whilst Sun and Moon seem to have dispensed with the standard "collect badges and become the champion" this is largely an illusion. Some of the trials really aren't that different from going through a gym and there's still your typical league at the end. This doesn't bother me at all, but the marketing ploy does. Regardless though, the plot gets a solid 9/10.

Characters
One of the most unfortunate short comings of the Pokemon games is that they create a range of colourful characters and then proceed to never explore them. Generation Five was on the right track here as well with Cheren, Bianca and N but there wasn't really any development until the time skip between games and this was never visible development and Generation Six was similar but a step back in some ways.

Generation Seven is also much more character focused, moreso than any of the previous generations, and this time actually explores the characters you meet and allows significant characters to actually develop. In particular Lillie and Gladeon are quite deep characters and develop significantly throughout the game but you also get plenty of interaction with the various Kahunas and Captains who are all clear and distinct as well as fun and interesting. The professor for this game, Professor Kukui, also plays are more active role in your journey.

There are some issues here though. Primarily the problem comes from Hau, who until late in the game is boring, cookie-cutter and receives no development. If anything he serves merely as a tool to develop Gladion more. Thankfully, as you get to the end of the third island he finally starts to grow but this doesn't fully redeem his dullness from earlier in the game. Sophocles is also the worst character in any Pokemon game ever so I have to deduct points for that too. 9/10

Sound and Visuals
One huge positive to this game, and also an explanation for its enormous file size, is that it both looked and sounded beautiful.

The music in this game really set the atmosphere of the region with its relaxed sounds and calm tempo but was also suitably engaging when it needed to be. The Ultra Beast battle music in particular is very cleverly done. It is intense and radically different to most of the music in the game which really helps portray them as dangerous and other worldly. The music sets the mood, keeps you invested and makes you feel what the gamemakers want you to feel. It's very well done.

Even more spectacular however, are the graphics. Everything from Pokemon, to scenery to the characters themselves is rendered in far more detail than in previous games and the gamemakers have made full use of 3D modeling to create a world that is wonderful to explore. In particular, Brooklet Hill stands out to me as the most aesthetically pleasing location in any Pokemon game to date.

One thing that does detract a bit however, is that the design of the region itself is very reminiscent of Hoenn - largely because they are both Tropical I assume. We have a desert otherwise surrounded by forestland, we have the rainforest area etc etc. There are a few unique locations such as a town based on the Old West or the heavily vandalized Po Town, but nothing too impressive in this sense. 9/10

Gameplay
Not much to mention here as the gameplay has mostly not changed at all since the previous generation. It comes naturally enough - especially moving your character through space - and is extremely easy.

The new Z-move mechanic is extremely well balanced and makes for an interesting new aspect of battle to consider, sort of a refined version of Mega Evolution. However it is also kind of irritating to be unable to skip the cut scene that using a Z-move triggers sometimes.

Weirdly though, my biggest complaint comes from something small. Your character can no longer interact with the majority of furniture. It's such a seemingly infinitesimal thing but it takes away some of the immersion that I would like to have back. For the most part though, no serious complaints or anything. 8/10

Conclusion
Whilst Sun and Moon may not be quite as revolutionary as we were originally led to believe, they are definitely a step in the right direction for the Pokemon Franchise. We were treated to a well-paced, reasonably complex, interesting and well executed plot as well as unique, fun and likable characters that were actually extremely well developed. All this within a beautiful region accentuated by fantastic music and fairly natural gameplay. Pokemon Sun and Moon get a commendable 35/40 from me and take their spot as my favourite Pokemon games to date (although Sinnoh will forever be the best region ;)).
-gimmepie


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