riostarwind's Pokémon Moon (Nintendo 3DS) review

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Gameplay may be the same but more focus on narrative makes this game stand above other Pokemon titles

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Pokemon X/Y may have brought me back into the pokeuniverse but they were missing a hook to keep me playing till the very end. This has been fixed in this latest game. Once again the player inhabits a boy/girl that must travel around the islands to become the very best. Unlike every other game instead of facing Gym leaders they must overcome trials and then the Kahuna of the 4 different islands.It may be similar but the new aspects of it like facing giant Totem Pokemon bosses changes it up enough to kept me hooked till the next challenge. Yet the real reason I kept playing was named Lillie.

Ah yes, the best way to introduce yourself.
Ah yes, the best way to introduce yourself.

She is pretty much the heroine of the story with the gist of the main story arc being about her mysterious Pokemon she has named Nebby. After saving Nebby the player character becomes their constant protector as they continually get into trouble in a bunch of different ways. By the end it goes some weird places and has a satisfying ending that works on a different level than being the best Pokemon Trainer in all of Alola. Other than telling a more well realized story the classic Pokemon mechanics have also retained their allure.

Turning Pokemon into DBZ is great but I would have liked to skip these animations.
Turning Pokemon into DBZ is great but I would have liked to skip these animations.

Over time Game Freak has filed down the mechanics of a Pokemon battle to a fine tip. Each Pokemon has 4 attacks that will cause various effects. Depending on the type they can deal extra damage. Making it vital to have a diverse set of Pokemon to deal with any situation. One of the new mechanics is Z moves which are pretty much overpowered attacks you can use once per battle. Although they are very flashy I tended to not use them after a while since it wasn’t possible to skip the long animation that plays out every time. All the fights still work and the quality of life improvements like keeping tabs on what moves will be super effective make it easier to succeed. All of this is aided by the vibrant location based on Hawaii.

The location they chose this time made it easy to create some bright visuals that still look good on the aging 3DS. With the main defects being that some of the close up shots are a bit pixelated. Also if you're playing this on a old 3DS all of the totem boss battles and 2v2 matches will have horrible frame rate issues. It's quite rough and I’m glad it isn’t a constant issue but it seems really odd that this would be overlooked. Other than that it runs at a acceptable frame rate at all other times. While I have a slight negative tint going I might as well mention that most of the mini games included in the Pokedex this time are rather boring. Except for my constant need to pet my Pokemon team constantly I didn’t touch most of the other mini games. Collecting beans and interacting with fake online avatars to gain points to upgrade my festival was boring.

Yet these minor annoyances didn’t keep me from enjoying this Pokemon game in a way I haven’t felt since the original release. Fighting Pokemon and becoming the very best may still be in my heart year a heartfelt story had me playing this game till the credits rolled. If any of this makes you interested in this game then check it out since it is worth playing.

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