The newest Poké-adventure has hit the Nintendo 3DS. Now that I’ve had some hands-on time with the final release version of Pokémon Sun and Moon, I’m currently preparing a full review. However, it takes some time to battle Guardian Deities and capture Pokémon Sun and Moon‘s new monsters. So before I put my final opinions out there, I’m going to share my early thoughts on the game’s opening hours. Stay tuned for the full Pokémon Sun and Moon review soon.
A (Slightly) Unpredictable Opening
Whether it's 1998 or 2016, you can safely assume how a Pokémon game will begin. You choose your character, talk to a scientist, pick a Fire-, Water-, or Grass-Type Pokémon, and head out on your way. Pokémon Sun and Moon disrupts that pattern somewhat by laying the groundwork for its bigger story early on. After meeting the protagonist as they plan a move to Alola, you meet a mysterious girl and her equally mysterious Pokémon companion. It's about 30 minutes of laying the groundwork for that larger plot before you're finally handed your starter Pokémon and set foot on Route 1. That's a refreshing start for folks who haven't played a core Pokémon game in awhile.
In the Groove
Once the opening is out of the way, my old Pokémon skills were coming back fast. I spent hours in the tall grass searching out every new monster I could, with a nice mix of classic monsters alongside Pokémon Sun and Moon's new ones. The new, clearer interface with listings for what moves are "effective" (or not) against an opponent makes the required grinding in battle easier. So far, the cycle of collecting and fighting is warmly familiar with some novel new aspects mixed in.
The Lovely Alola Islands
Lastly, out of my early experience with the game, I am loving the Alola region. Compared to the large cities of Unova, the opening areas of Alola are much easier to take in at the start. The sunny beaches and volcanoes are obviously meant to remind you of Hawaii, which puts you in a breezy headspace. Not that the stakes aren't raised in battles or for dramatic story twists, but merely walking around the Alola region is relatively relaxing compared to previous settings. Hopefully, all the other feel as inviting as Melemele Island.