Easily one of the best entries in the series, if not, arguably the best, Pokémon Sun & Moon has taken players by storm. And with only a month since its initial release it’s already broken sale records and danced its way into our hearts – but no game is perfect. Here are some things we didn’t like about our adventure through Alola.
The Rotom Pokedéx
Revealed as one of the first huge, new features of Gen VII in the early days of Sun & Moon’s prerelease the Rotom ‘Dex promised to give personality and new features to the age old Pokedéx. Instead we got an annoying, forgettable talking bottom screen whose dialogue was never really welcome or something we looked forward to. In terms of new features, it did give us useful pin point directions through the main story line and the Poké Finder (more on that later), but once you became the Champion Rotom didn’t serve any use other than giving very meaningless, repetitive commentary as your completed the Alola ‘Dex. And it’s completely baffling that they never made this new Rotom Form catchable and useable in battle. Overall, the Rotom Pokedéx was a fantastic idea to breathe life into such an old, unchanged device in the game, but its personality is much more suited for the anime where it’s a fully realized character, and for merchandise where it can remain as a mute, cute ‘mon to look at.
New Pokémon’s Low Encounter Rates
Pokémon Sun & Moon have some of the lowest and most exclusive encounter rates and locations for any Pokémon games released so far – being as low as 1% and 10% in only one place in some cases. For hardcore players, such as most of the people reading this, these low encounter rates are a welcome challenge and make completing the Pokedéx a little more fun and worthwhile. But for a lot of casual, younger players, its very, very easy to make it through the whole game without encountering a lot of Pokémon in the wild – even if you put in the effort to go and look for them specifically. Even though the Pokedéx is specific to what patch of grass you can find them in, it does not specify some special conditions, the inclusion of SOS Battles and other new encounter methods – making it hard not to rely on third party Pokedéxes to catch ‘em all. I can’t be the only one who spent a good hour just trying to find a Mimikyu, right?
Protagonists Being Numb to Everything
Chock full of several twists and turns, Sun & Moon had one of the best plot lines in the 20 years of the franchise. Encountering Ultra Beasts, meeting characters from games past, dealing with the Aether Foundation; as the story progressed we were left with face cracks of the centuries with each step we took into Alola – so why didn’t our in-game avatar react the same way? With very, very few exceptions the protagonist had the same aloof smile while everything was happening – no matter how sad, how dire, and how intense the situation was – Despite other characters around us having plenty of emotion and proper reactions. And, honestly, it was hard at times to focus on what was happening and to take things seriously when we had such a goofy, empty smile all the while. With Gen VII giving the most personal customization yet, even down to being able to choose the style in which you throw your Pokéball, it comes as a shock that Game Freak didn’t give our protagonist the ability to react to situations accordingly. Yes, Pokémon is famous for having a silent protagonist, but Red’s emotionless reaction to everything reads a bit better than an empty smile.
The Poké Finder
Another feature hyped for during the pre-release of Sun & Moon, the Poke Finder was marketed as one of the new aspects that came with the Rotom Pokedéx, and much like the Rotom ‘Dex it failed to dazzle fans. What most hoped would be a love letter to Pokémon Snap, turned into a very shallow, rather useless feature of the game. With the Poke Finder only working in a select few, pre-determined spots, the Pokémon and their poses being limited and repetitive, and no way to share the photos with other players, this in-game feature seems pretty useless. The only reason we’re still even bothering with it is to get that stamp on our trainer passport – and believe us, we’re just as unhappy with the amount of time we need to pour into it just to get it. All things considered, the Poké Finder was another great idea, but a poorly executed one.
General Lack of 3D and Touch Screen Use
Despite being on the Nintendo 3DS, 3D was completely removed in-game other than when firing up the Poke Finder (ironically, paired with its gyroscope capabilities, it’s quite possibly the worst place to enable 3D). Although several complaints about 3D causing slow down during battles specifically arose in Generation VI, and it never truly being well implemented in previous generations overall; its surprising 3D wasn’t utilized during important cut scenes at the very least. And, honestly, it’s a bit disappointing that Game Freak didn’t try to improve upon it, and instead decided to just remove the feature all together. One of the coolest features the 3DS has to offer is the 3D slider being so accessible and easy to use – letting you decide whether or not you want to enable the 3D. Some people don’t like it, some do, but just having the option is nice. And on a somewhat related note, Sun & Moon is a game that can almost completely be played using the top screen. Rarely is the bottom screen used and completely necessary…but perhaps that was intentional? Despite being a gorgeous game that pushed the system to the limits, Game Freak didn’t make the best use of the two defining factors and selling points of the 3DS.
Removal of Amazing Features From Past Generations
Sun & Moon took several leaps and bounds forward, but in the process of adding new features and expanding upon older ones, it seems like we’ve taken a step backwards in some areas. Horde Battles, although not a huge loss, was a fun and new battle style that provided a new challenge as well as an easier way to manually EV train and hunt shinies: however once entering Alola we found it completely removed. Moreover, the convenience of the DexNav, the PSS and Super Training is completely null and void now. Gone are the days of being able to easily tell if you’ve caught all Pokémon in the area with one glance – now you have to search the Pokedéx entry by entry to see if you caught ‘em all. Gone are the days of centralized EV training with Super Training – now you have to use in game currency across several different platforms to make your ‘mons the best. And gone are the days of being able to battle, trade and connect with other players with a single touch in the PSS, now we have to traverse through the awkward and troublesome Festival Plaza. And although the end result of all these axed features are still available by other means, how we went from everything being so seamless and convenient to clunky and complicated is beyond us.
No Side Quest Tracker
Despite being a staple in most RPGs, our quest through Alola really marked the first time in Pokémon where several NPCs gave us little side quests that spawned rewards if completed. A lot of these quests were as simple as catching a Pokémon and showing it to the NPC, and the money reward was definitely worthwhile, but as we traversed through the story some quests were left incomplete for a number of reasons. Now well into the post game, I have a desire to complete all the in-game trades and Pokedéx quests, but with no formal tracker I’ve forgotten where all these NPCs are, and what the actual quest was – once again making us rely on third party information hubs to figure it all out.
Despite these faults, Pokémon Sun & Moon’s wondrous region, story, characters, Pokémon and new features seem to completely eclipse any negative thoughts we may have about the latest entry in the series. What are some things that you found you didn’t like about Pokémon Sun & Moon and hope to see in the rumored Pokémon Stars?