Pokémon Sun and Moon review – The biggest changes for the franchise

The look and feel of discovery

While the world does look, I suppose, more modern than more sprite-based Pokémon games, I’m not convinced that’s a good thing. I miss the high-polished nature of classic sprites. The 3D look is fine, but it also shows the limits of the Nintendo 3DS.

There’s a fixed camera in this game. Regardless of whether or not you have a New Nintendo 3DS with a circle nub on the right, you won’t be able to swivel the camera around in this 3D world. Instead, you’ll rely on the game’s camera. Normally, it’s perfectly fine; but, it does highlight areas that are closed to traversal when it looks like they should be open.


Look here, for instance (sorry for the smudge). This area of the game is off limits. I can’t walk any further. And yet, the camera angle and new 3D design suggest I should be able to walk straight down this path to, perhaps, a ball on the ground or an NPC. No such luck.

Then there’s the map on your new Pokédex. It moves when you move, and it even features an objective flag (which, as far as I can remember is a first for this series). However, it isn’t specific about buildings or precise locations. Again, early on, I ran into a problem where I was told to head to a non-objective area with powerful Pokémon. I was told it was near a specific building, and the map only showed me the general region that held that building. It was up to me to canvas it in person. I couldn’t even drop my own waypoint to get there.

It’s 2016, let’s get a better map system, right?

Through play, your Pokédex will learn other Pokémon’s weaknesses. Interestingly, that learning actually applies to the game’s UI. You’ll actually see which moves are effective, super effective and so on once you try them out on any given Pokémon.

Another of the new convenience-focused tweaks is what happens when you catch a new Pokémon. Yes, just like the recent games, catching a Pokémon yields experience. Even further, once you move through Pokédex registry screens, you’ll have the option to either send your new buddy to the standard Box or actually add them to your Party while swapping out a Pokémon you don’t want.

This cuts down on the need to find a Pokémon center every time you find an awesome Pokémon with a full party on your hands, and I love this addition.

On the flip side, one of my favorite recent convenience additions is gone. Up until the most recent entry, the recent design of Pokémon has included a Pokédex that features a nice tool on the map. When you enter a region, you can see shadows of the Pokémon you haven’t caught yet. Once you catch all the Pokémon in a given space, a crown shows up.

That feature, as far as I can tell, is completely gone. I liked the ability to see if I should keep hunting or move on, and its absence is glaring in Sun and Moon.