(Editor’s Note: Remember when I said that the tutorial for Pokemon Sun and Moon was long? Well, it turns out that it was even longer than that! In fact, almost a month later, I’m still learning how ride that darn bike!)
Okay, so the last part of that note is included for humorous effect. These games don’t even have a bike as far as I know, but you can ride a Tauros and that’s way cooler! But, the tutorial of the game goes on forever. Thankfully, it integrates seamlessly into gameplay, so it isn’t nearly as tedious as many games make their tutorials. Granted, I’m an old man gamer who doesn’t even think that there should be a tutorial mode or, at the very least, it should be voluntary. You dang whipper snappers should read the instructions. Either that, or man mode the game. If you die because you didn’t know about a certain mechanic, you die. Learn from your mistakes or suffer the consequences.
But, we live in a time when tutorials are a mandatory part of the game. So, in true old guy gamer fashion, I’m going to complain about the younger generation not being able to adapt to changing circumstances while I exhibit the same tendency myself. When I was your age, we didn’t need tutorials to introduce us to the mechanics of games. Sure, you might argue that when I was your age, we only had a single joystick and button configuration, so it wasn’t like games offered that much in the way of mechanics. Hell, Grandpa, you could say, Pac-Man didn’t even use the button or any diagonal motion in its moves set.
Okay, now that I’m done arguing with myself, I can continue my review of Poemon Sun. Admittedly, I haven’t had as much time to play it recently because Quinn discovered it. Similar to his older brother, he stole it from me and played through a significant portion. However, that happened after I was able to play through the first two trials. He got me pretty far into the island with the volcano trial. In fact, he got me so far that I was disoriented when I picked up the game and started playing again.
Let’s be honest, though. It’s not like Pokemon gameplay is that involved, either. Once the initial shock of waking up miles from where you fell asleep wears off, you go back to walking in such a way that yo avoid any contact with other people because your social anxiety extends even into fiction worlds. Oh, is that just me?
When Quinn wasn’t playing and doing whatever it is that five year old boys do…okay, and let’s unpack that statement a little bit before I continue. We converted what might have been attic space into a playroom for the kids. We carpeted it, painted it twice (once because Aiden wanted to use it as a bedroom), and bought an absurd amount of packing crates and shelving units to ensure that things remained in their place. All noble endeavors, right?
Well, the carpet is covered with all manner of dried paint and Playdoh, the paint job is chipped right down to the primer in several places, and the crates and shelves remain empty even as Lego pieces, Pokemon cards, Minecraft mini figures, and my various loot items from all sorts of loot crate type subscription boxes litter the floor and make travel through the room dangerous at best and quite often nearly fatal. So, what exactly is it that 5 year olds do? I’m not entirely sure. But, it would seem that everything that they do results in chaos and misery for everyone else involved.
Luckily, Quinn’s adventures in my Sun game weren’t quite so destructive. Unlike real life, he understands and appreciates just how important Pokemon can be to a person, so I don’t think he wanted to upset the apple cart too much. In fact, he actually helped quite a bit and got me several new Pokemon, advanced the story almost to the point where I can attempt the next trial, and generally treated my digital life with the utmost respect.
When I finally got the game back from him and was able to play more than he was, I got back into the groove of the game. At the risk of sounding like a broken record or a shill, or a shill that was recorded on a broken record, I really enjoy the game. I mean, this shouldn’t come as a shock because I’ve been a fan of the Pokemon series since the beginning, but I haven’t played a Pokemon game seriously since Diamond. I’ve wanted to pick up a few that Liam got, but I didn’t want to delete his only save file.
So, I honestly couldn’t say going in that I was going to enjoy the game. I can now definitively say that Pokemon is still a fun game series even if you’re 40 years old. I got a taste of that when Pokemon Go released, but like many mobile games these days, they knew that they could release an unfinished product and get millions of free beta testers as they worked on things behind the scenes. I’m not sure who to blame ultimately for this development, but I know that Blizzard has done this sort of thing for years and took it to a new level with Hearthstone. I honestly don’t think they do any in house testing on that game.
However, while Pokemon Go was undeniably unfinished at release, Nintendo and Game Freak have had a 2 decade track record with the Pokemon franchise on their mobile consoles. It shows. While the basic gameplay hasn’t changed, they have done some quality of life improvements that aren’t big, but they add to the game and keep you coming back for more. Also, the story and setting are different enough and engaging enough that you want to keep playing to advance that aspect of the game. Overall, I’ve been enjoying the game. It has accomplished several goals of getting me back into the Pokemon world and even considering buying some of the Sun and Moon cards to see what the game adds to that aspect of the world.
(Editor’s Note: We’ve been meaning to do a Noob and Sons podcast on Pokemon since our old one got lost in a shuffle of computers. The crazy part is that it was Episode 2, just like the Episode 2 of 2 Guys Gaming with special guest Kevin was lost. But, we recorded yesterday and it should be live tomorrow.)
I haven’t seriously played a Pokemon game since Diamond. I’ve told that story enough times and repeated it in the podcast, so I won’t tell again how love is allowing your child to delete your Pokemon save game data with a legendary Pokemon on it. Oops, I suppose I just did. That’s okay, though, because Liam returned the love, took care of me, and he captured Dialga again. I guess we can call it even. I will put him back in the will.
He’s the single reason that I’m even playing this Pokemon game after so many years. I mentioned that I was excited about Sun and Moon and that I might want to pick up one of the games. I asked him which one he wanted and he told me Moon, so I settled on the fact that if I was going to get one, it would be Sun. I still wasn’t positive that I’d actually go through with it. Then, we started kicking around the ideas that we would reboot the podcast, ultimately for the new year. Also, Liam got Moon and he made the comment that if people want to get into or get back into Pokemon, this is a good time to do that.
I’ll let him tell you why in his own words in the podcast, but I will give you my perspective now. Having not played Pokemon for a few generations, this wasn’t geared as much to me, but there is an extensive tutorial mode in the game. Thankfully, Game Freak and Nintendo have done what Nintendo usually does and weaved the tutorial into the introduction story. That is the part of the game that I found most interesting. I both appreciated the story–always a welcome addition to any game, in my opinion–and I was surprised to see so many new and different (to me at least) Pokemon during that introduction. I still have no idea what they are or what they do, but I know that they exist and that’s enough in a world where “you gotta catch ’em all”.
So, the short version of it is this. If you’ve never played Pokemon before, you are given an extensive tutorial to familiarize yourself with the controls of the game. If you haven’t played in a while but still remember the ins and outs of the game, the tutorial is story driven enough that you won’t be (too) bored by having to run through things that you already know. Plus, some of the new Pokemon are eye catching enough that they will keep you moving through the sometimes tedious exercise. If you are an experienced player, like Liam, there isn’t much here to keep you engaged. You basically just have to power through it or hold on to the story to anchor you as you plow your way into the heart of the game.
As for the rest of the game, I assume that it is mostly just more of the same with regards to Pokemon. I can’t say for sure because I haven’t played beyond the tutorial yet. However, other than adding color when that technology became available to their handhelds and continually adding new Pokemon to the games, not much has changed since the first game. One of the more recent advances, that has come as a result of the DS touch screen technology is that the moves can be operated by using the touch screen. I know that it seems like a small improvement, and it is, but it makes battling much more intuitive. If, when they finally implement trainer battles in Pokemon Go, they use the same technology on the phone, it will go a long way to bringing players back to that game.
I mentioned color in the previous paragraph. Not only has color made the game prettier, as it has with most games, but the moves list is also color coded. Along with the ability to use the touch screen to select moves, color coding them allows you to better match up against resistance and weakness because you can recognize the type of move by using its identifying color. Again, a minor improvement, but one that has a fairly big pay off. That’s only counting the normal campaign mode. It might be even more helpful when battling against other people. Quickness isn’t a prerequisite for Pokemon battles. Still, any advantage is one that is worth exploring and exploiting, if possible.
In closing, I can’t wait to play some more of the game. It is classic Pokemon gameplay and story with just enough updated to make it feel fresh and new. Pokemon hasn’t quite reached the pantheon of “need to buy that new console just because they’ve released a new game” like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, but I might now be convinced to buy the new Pokemon games as they are released. This game has also inspired me to take a look back at some of the Pokemon games of the past.
I’ve loaded up Pokemon Red a few times because Liam and I had the idea to either do a stream or a Youtube series walking through the game. I realize that we are probably a bit behind the times since Twitch Plays Pokemon made the game popular 3 years ago, but that’s nothing new for us. We mostly just play the games that we like and put out content that we’d enjoy. Hopefully it ends up being something that you all enjoy, too.
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