[Let’s Talk] What are you playing? – December 2016
Posted on December 4, 2016 by Brian(@NE_Brian) in Let's Talk
A new month is here! We’ve just entered December, so that means we want to know what you’ve been playing. Have you started up something entirely new for the month? Or maybe you’re continuing something you started a little while back? Whatever the case, let us know in the comments below!
Highlights from last week’s topic: Pokemon Sun/Moon impressions
I basically finished Moon earlier today. Beat the game last night, and spent a good chunk of today catching UBs and Tapus. And now it’s taking every ounce of willpower I have not to just immediately reset and do it all over again.
So yeah, I loved it. The story, especially. Easily the best writing in the series, in my opinion. Cute and charming and sometimes even pretty funny, but with such a surprisingly raw darker side to it too. I don’t think there were any characters I didn’t like either.
The Island Trials were, I think, a very welcome departure from the usual Gyms. It helped mix things up instead of just doing the exact same things over and over. And the Totem battles especially, I felt were surprisingly pretty challenging (although, I admit I was Nuzlocking and I always keep Exp Share off).
Perhaps because I spent a lot of the game underleveled, I was also pleasantly surprised that Z-Moves weren’t simply a “win” button. They legitimately turned the tides for me sometimes (or fell dreadfully flat for me others), but it never felt cheap when used by or against me. Although I still like Mega Evolutions too, and would like to see more continue to be added in the future, I think the new Z-Moves were handled and balanced a lot better.
I should say that I don’t think the game’s without flaws though. For instance, I like the idea of SOS battles on paper, but it’s super tedious when you’re trying to catch a Pokemon (or when you just can’t take it out in one hit), and they keep calling help into the fight, preventing you from being able to get on with it. If it could only call help once or twice per fight (or at least, not in addition to their actual move), that’d be one thing. But as it was, it really slowed things down needlessly for me sometimes. I felt like it became less of a problem as I got further in the game, but it was really obnoxious through a good chunk of the second and third islands for me.
I felt like there was a weirdly uneven ratio for Pokemon you’d encounter too. The Pokedex would tell me I can find so many different things on a certain route, and yet I’d trip over the same Rattata or Wingull over and over again. I would fish at every possible spot too, and encountered a Wishiwashi once… but otherwise reeled in literally nothing but Magikarp ever. There are over 800 Pokemon now, and this gen introduced so many great new ones that I really liked, so it was a little frustrating that finding anything new was such a common struggle.
Minor grievances aside, I adored Pokemon Moon. I think it very easily took the title as my new favorite entry in the series. The formula that’s been there for the last twenty years is still basically there, but they changed it up enough that it feels genuinely different from all of its predecessors. And I hope they continue to try new things like this (and keep the incredibly solid writing this one brought) in the future of the series. ^_^
If I’m honest, it’s my favorite generation. A wonderfully colorful region that’s varied in both locations and pokemon, the characters were all fun and entertaining, the story was simple but fun, and the changes made felt refreshing. There’s only one thing I wish they’d elaborated on, the relationship and rivalry between Kukui and Guzma. We get an explanation, but I would have loved to have seen more of it. Still, that’s very minor, and I had a big smile on my face every time I encountered Team Skull.
It’s day 8, and my save file is at 92 hours. So it’s safe to say I like it a lot.
I’m very surprised at the Pokémon I’m really getting into. There’s a lot that I like, but I love Alola Muk, which is probably getting the most play from me. Also the Ultra Beasts have weird/wacky stats that make them a ton of fun to use.
As for the trials versus gyms… due to the EXP Share (The same problem with X/Y and ORAS), I was way overlevelled and didn’t find they posed too much of a challenge, and most didn’t feel that different, ultimately, from gyms anyways. There was a point that it seemed like the trials could have been very cool; the second trial, with the Totem Wishiwashi, was pretty great. In its school form, Wishiwashi has great offensive and defensive stats, boosted by the totem aura, and then it’s partners would often use Helping Hand, boosting the power of its attack, as well as it being in an environment that was naturally raining, giving its water attacks more power. It was the closest thing since Black Kyurem in Black 2 to Pokémon having a real RPG-like boss encounter. Unfortunately, no other trial really came close, although the [end of game] stuff also was pretty tough. Used up a lot of items for that final battle, which was fun.
The story, that’s not about your trainer progessing through the island challenge, is pretty cool though. A lot of very nice set pieces, and likeable characters. The beginning is VERY very slow, but once you overcome this hurdle it’s straight to the races of constructing a team of your fave mons, and it’s so great. I can’t wait for January and Pokémon Bank integration to come to get the most out of the Battle Tree (I love Gladion/Kahuna Battle/Ultra Beasts theme for this) and multiplayer versus.