Pokemon is one of the most iterative series out there. Every generation, lots of little gameplay, graphical and quality-of-life tweaks are made to the games, alongside the plethora of new monsters. Sun and Moon is no different in that regard, but this time around some pretty major changes have shaken things up, mostly for the better. Here are the top five things in Sun and Moon that made us think, “I can’t believe it took seven generations for them to do that!”
1: Type-effectiveness is now shown in the battle menu
Pokemon is the world’s most complex game of rock-paper-scissors, with Pokemon of certain types being strong to, and weak against, other types. Some are pretty obvious, like the whole water beats fire, fire beats grass, grass beats water theme of the starters, but when you start getting things like bug, dragon, and dark, it gets a bit more complicated. Take a look at this:
Yowza! In previous generations, you had to either memorize this whole damn chart, or keep a copy of it in your 3DS case in order to be effective. In Sun and Moon, after you have battled with a Pokemon at least once, the game will tell you exactly which moves are effective, super effective, and not very effective, right there in the battle menu. It’s an absolute godsend to not have to refer to a spreadsheet every time you want to make an attack.
2: HM slaves are no more
Hidden Machines were one of the most annoying parts of the Pokemon games. They were moves that were not very useful in battle (with the exception of maybe Waterfall), difficult to replace, and required to access certain parts of the game. If you came up to a bush and didn’t have a Pokemon that knew “cut,” you were SOL. It was common for players to keep a “HM slave” in their party – a Pokemon who’s sole purpose is to know four HM moves. Sun and Moon gets rid of Hidden Moves altogether, and replace their functionality with Pokemon Ride. Pokemon Ride is like the Uber of the Pokemon universe: when you get to some terrain that would normally require a HM to get past, you simply call up your “Poke Ride” and have them overcome it.
Not having to waste a party slot on an HM slave is a welcome addition, and the whole Poke Ride system is really cool, offering a lot more than HMs ever did.
3: You can heal status effects with Pokemon Refresh
Having a Pokemon get put to sleep, or paralyzed, or poison during battle was annoying not only because it affected its battling prowess, but also because the status condition persisted after the battle was over. So, your poor ‘mon would stay poisoned until you either got to a Poke-center or used an antidote on it. In Sun and Moon you can cure status conditions with Pokemon Refresh – the successor to X and Y‘s “play-with-your-pokemon” feature: Pokemon Amie. Healing status conditions is now as simple as pressing “Y” at the end of a battle, and feeding your Pokemon some medicine. As an added bonus, every time you do so, it’ll increase your Pokemon’s affection towards you!
4: Hyper Training
Did you know Pokemon have hidden “effort values” (EVs) and “individual values” (IVs) that affect their performance in battle? EVs can be influenced in a number of ways. By battling certain Pokemon, it will increase a specific EV. For example, defeating a Geodude will increase the “defense” EV. X and Y introduced Super Training as a way for players to min-max EVs in a specific way without having to knock out a bunch of Geodudes, and Sun and Moon has even more ways: Festival Plaza and Pokemon Pelago.
But, until now the only way to influence IVs was through birth, meaning if you wanted to get the “perfect” Pokemon you had to take a crash course in eugenics, breed a shittone of Pokemon together and hope for the best. Sun and Moon introduces Hyper Training, which allows you to max out a Pokemon’s IVs by trading in a rare item. The item is rare enough that it isn’t something you can do willy-nilly, but it does eliminate one of the most annoying factors of creating a perfect competitive Pokemon.
5: Rotom Dex
This time around, your Pokedex is actually inhabited by Rotom, the friendly electric ghost Pokemon! As well as his charming personality, Rotom brings with him some new goodies. First and foremost, the game’s in-game map has been substantially upgraded. Getting lost was a big problem in previous games, but thanks to the Rotom Dex, your “goal” is always clearly marked, and I always knew exactly where to go. Other new features, like the ability to scan QR codes to add Pokemon to your Pokedex, and the “Pokemon Snap”-esque Poke-finder that lets you snap pictures of Pokemon, help make it the best iteration of the Pokedex we’ve ever seen.
These are our favorite additions that Sun and Moon has made to the Pokemon formula! We’re still making our way through the game right now, but stay tuned for our full review next week!