Refreshing Graphics and Environment
The overall graphics are beyond charming, the characters are lovable, and the general environment of the game is fantastic. I think this is the balance of old-and-new that they were trying to achieve in Sun/Moon, except this time they nailed it. It feels like a classic Pokémon game without being a lather-rinse-repeat situation, and the new features are new enough to be exciting without being offensively and obviously “we’re doing something completely different”-flavored new. Some of the monster designs are weird, but with as many ‘mons as exist in the franchise anymore, that’s probably to be expected.
No National Dex Included
Regarding the whole National Dex controversy – it’s an unfortunate situation, but ultimately an inevitable one. For a series with the longevity that Pokémon has, and the sheer number of creatures that exist in the complete Pokédex now, we were bound to eventually get to a point where the time/effort/money required to include all of the creatures was simply too much. I hate that it had to come to this, but at the same time, I understand that it was going to eventually. And as crisp as the graphics are in this game, with the complexity of the modeling involved for all of the monsters that they did include, I can see why this is the generation where that had to happen.
Even without the national Pokedex, in my opinion, pokemon has always addressed those bigger JRPG problems and sifts them down and makes even random battles have more of a point.
Camping was both a highlight and disappointment. There are so few things to do with your Pokémon, and that was a letdown. More toys would’ve been awesome!! The cooking, on the other hand, was really baller and took me back to making berry blocks in RB. I ended up using it more and more as I went along in the game, but it became pretty much the sole reason I camped.
The Wild Area offers lots of exploration and charm with camping, noticeable attempts at raising difficulty without a lack of an easier option if you don’t WANT more challenge, you can finally purchase berries rather than relying on RNG or clock systems.
The new network features cause some substantial lag spikes; these haven’t really ruined the gameplay for me, and they don’t make it impossible to play, but they’re very noticeable. Keep in mind as well that you and your friends will be locked into interacting with people at the same arc of the game, which was disappointing. No championing your friends as they just start out when you’re already champion. On the other hand, when you do make curries and conduct some raids with others, it’s super fun. It can be a swing or miss to coordinate, but I hope this feature continues getting the development it needs to be great.
The map in this game is pretty small and it hardly takes 5-6 hours to beat the game. The game is super fun overall, but it really suffered from the obvious amount of crunch and cut corners that I can’t help but think rests pretty heavily on the near suicidal idea of releasing a Pokémon game a year.