Well, I have to say it’s been quite a while since I’ve felt the needs to pick up a Poke Ball and continue my journey as a trainer. As an adult, it’s easy to look at the previous iterations of Pokemon with rose colored glasses. In the same vein, it’s also easy to criticize the game on many common points. For instance, it’s easy to figure out that this isn’t going to be a groundbreaking statement on the world of Pokemon that completely shifts the paradigm of what we think of the Pokeverse. It’s another Pokemon game, but it’s definitely one that goes above and beyond.
For starters, the 3D graphics help the immersion a lot. While Pokemon don’t necessarily have individual animations for each of their individual moves, you definitely get a Pokemon stadium vibe that compliments the whole situation quite well. Unfortunately, the HUGE chugs in frames throughout the game is really an oversight that Nintendo should’ve paid about ten times more attention to. I’m honestly shocked that the huge drop in frame rate slipped past them. Mostly, you’ll see it during double battles and against totem Pokemon, but WOW, is it bad. We’re talking dipping down to ten or so frames each time it drops.
Beyond that, the story is pretty solid. It’s the usual Pokemon story about an eleven year old beating every single adult with his natural Pokemon battling talent all the way up to the Elite Four and then capturing the legendary Pokemon that is featured on the cover of the box. I will say, the game does do a good job of giving you an actual story feel as opposed to a Pokemon shooting gallery that basically feels like you’re walking through a lifeless terrain beating up random trainers and taking their money. Introducing actual side characters with personalities and quirks really helps to give the game a far more fresh feeling than it’s had previously.
The other minor complaint that I have about the game is that it really feels like we’re hitting the razor’s edge of Pokemon ideas. Honestly, and I moved throughout Alola, I really found myself being underwhelmed by the newer selection of Pokemon that are available. Pokemon like Komoo-o are extremely cool, but then we get some like Rockruff and Toucannon that are just blatantly uninspired. It’s unfortunate to see that we’re hitting this kind of creative wall, but the game does have to get it’s leniency, considering that Pokemon has been around for over two decades at this point.
So, if you own a DS, I definitely suggest picking up the game. If you’re a Pokemon fan, this is going to be something that you’ll gravitate to strongly. It’s more of what you love, while adding in changes like removing HM’s and 3D graphics that veteran players have been asking for. The story is mildly compelling, and the side characters are fun and diverse. It’s worth the forty dollars, but I would say that if you can find it used, it might be a better purchase that way. All in all, Pokemon Moon gets a B from me.