As I made clear in my recent review, Pokemon Sun and Moon are generally good games. They’ve got a decent art style and soundtrack. The story is a lot more interesting than previous games in the series. And well, a few of the new additions here (like the Island Trials and Ride Pokemon) work really well. Indeed, they may well be some of the best Pokemon games in the last few generations!
However, as you can tell by the title, they’re not perfect. So here are their more annoying/poorly done aspects, in one easy to read list!
10. The constant screen reloading
So hey, let’s start with a small issue that becomes apparent about 10 minutes into the first island. Basically, Pokemon Sun and Moon has no idea how to animate your character doing anything.
Why? Because every action he or she takes, reloads the screen. Crawled through a hole in the wall? That’ll be a full screen reload with fade out. Opened a gate? Same deal, despite the fact the area on both sides on the wall is part of the same map.
Heck, even a character leaving a conversation causes the screen to reload. Because hey, apparently Game Freak don’t like animating someone walking away into the distance. It’s pretty ridiculous, and it slows the game down to a halt for no logical reason whatsoever.
Still, that’s nothing compared to…
9. The Complete Lack of a Rebattle Option
Cause damn, it is a PAIN to level grind in this game. Why? Because aside from the Elite Four, Battle Buffet and that guy from Game Freak, there are NO real ‘high level’ battles you can repeat for EXP here.
No, the Battle Tree and Royal don’t count. Those give no experience at all. The wild Pokemon? Okay, but they’re pretty useless for grinding when you reach about level 60 or so. And heck, even two of the things I mentioned (the Game Freak staffer and the Battle Buffet) are once per day deals. So for the most part, your only level up method is to fight the elite four almost endlessly.
But what would fix this?
Well, being able to rebattle other trainers for EXP. Like say, recording their phone numbers in the menu and calling them up for another battle with higher level Pokemon. Or say, having a general option to rebattle the Trial Captains and Kahunas, or to revisit the Island Trials at will. You know, like in Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal and just about every generation prior to generation 6.
But no, it doesn’t exist. So hey, enjoy doing the same five fights over and over again!
8. The Aggravating Battle Royal/Battle Tree Systems
Still, as bad as levelling up may be, the Battle Royal and Battle Tree are another level of frustration entirely.
Because dear god, it seems like the AI is cheap as all hell.
Seriously, they seem to know exactly what you have planned, and have prepared a perfect counter for it despite all the odds. Got a bulky water type, like I had up first recently?
Well then, enjoy a ‘free for all’ where the other three teams all coincidentally happen to be leading with either grass or electric types!
Picked a Pokemon that’s really fast but with glass cannon stats? Well, your opponent will just happen to be one that’s even faster with a good type match up and maybe a mega form thrown in for good measure.
And hey, let’s not even talk about the accuracy and other stats! Those seem to go every way except yours, with otherwise near perfect accuracy moves missing far more times than seems probable and the opponents low accuracy moves somehow nailing it every time.
It’s an aggravating pain in the ass.
What’s more, it gets worse still. Want a special item to power up a certain Pokemon? To hold for a trade evolution? To activate its mega form?
Then you’ll need to slowly plod through these matches for the tiny BP payouts you get as a result. 64 BP for a Mega Stone? Are you having a laugh man? That’s either a crap ton of attempts or a 64 win streak without a single mistake.
Makes me long for the days of Pokemon Stadium and that games simple format. Even that bullshit worked far better than these modes do.
7. The Constant Cutscenes
Still, moving on from the Battle Tree now, we then get to perhaps the biggest issue with the single player mode of this game:
The constant cutscenes, handholding and railroading.
Seriously, that first island is pretty much entirely ‘go follow the dotted line’ without even the slightest bit of meaningful exploration involved. You have Kukui telling you where to go, Hau telling you where to go, Hala telling you where to go… and hey, even the most basic things (like gates) are locked away behind a message saying “Warning, wet paint” or a random barrier/object/Tauros blocking the road.
It’s just annoying, especially when you’ve actually played another Pokemon game in the last 20 years and would rather be left to figure things out for yourself. And here’s the other thing:
Even on island 2 and 3… the game still seems it tries to tell you where to go and what to do at all times. Dude, give it a break already! We’re not three, we do actually know where we want to go here!
It reminds me of Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon and Mario & Luigi Dream Team, where your ‘partners’ (Professor E Gadd, Starlow, etc) just never learnt when to shut up and leave you alone for three minutes of your time. Still, at least they learned their lesson with Zelda and Mario & Luigi, so maybe Pokemon will follow suit with the Nintendo Switch instalment…
6. The New Fishing System
But it’s not just the cutscenes and handholding they need to look at. Oh no, the fishing system here needs to be scrapped entirely do.
Because for whatever reason, they decided to take a perfectly good system that worked fine for six generations… and completely toss it in the rubbish bin. Remember how before, you could just go up to the edge of a lake, press A and start fishing?
Well, that’s too simple apparently. So now you can only fish at certain holes.
But hey, it gets worse! Because not only are you now limited in where you can fish, but you also don’t have multiple rods to choose what Pokemon you encounter either! So where you used to be able to say, use an Old Rod to get Magikarp and a Super Rod to get decent Pokemon, now you have a chance of getting crap like Magikarp from every body of water in the game!
Did I mention it’s now super common too? So about 70% of your fishing encounters are now Magikarp encounters, with another 20 or 30% being the same common Pokemon like Wishiwashi?
Cause that’s the case too.
Which means you then have about… 1% chance of finding something good.
Like say, Dhelmise in Seafolk Village. Corsola in any area of the game. Or Sharpedo on Poni Breaker Coast.
Now admittedly, this then goes up to 10% or more if the water is bubbling. However, this too doesn’t make up for it, since the water only bubbles in one specific spot on every route. Which goes away if you move too fast near it. Or once you find absolutely anything in said spot (including your common Pokemon of choice).
And then if that happens, it means you’ve got to exit the area, re-enter the area, find another bubbling spot and try again.
Which is made no better by how you can also fish up bloody items too. Cause hey, I’m sure you really wanted that bubbling spot to give you a Pearl, Big Pearl or Pearl Necklace, right? No? Me neither. Those items literally exist to be sold and have absolutely sod all use in game.
So yeah, let’s hope the next game just scraps the ‘new’ system and replaces it with the one that worked fine for the last 6 or so generations instead. Additionally, let’s also hope it scraps the concept of…
5. Collecting Zygarde Cells
Cause dear god, these things are a pain in the ass to collect.
Firstly, if you don’t have a Zygarde already, that means you need to collect a massive ONE HUNDRED of them to get its final form. This means one hell of a scavenger hunt across all the islands and locations, looking for tiny (and rather hard to spot) green glowing spots.
But hey, don’t expect it to be too easy there! Cause it turns out some Zygarde cells only appear at certain times of day. So not only do you have to scour the whole region for cells, but you have to do it at least twice; once in the day and once at night.
And well, you’d better not miss any here either. Why? Because for whatever stupid reason, the game gives you no checklist at all to help you figure out which ones you have and which ones you don’t have. No, not even a hint to which ISLAND you’re missing cells on. So that last one cell will mean scouring the whole region again. Likely twice to be sure.
Finally, you then have to remember where the lab is so you can assemble the perfect Zygarde. Turns out it’s on the third island (route 16 in fact), somewhere between Tapu Village and Po Town. Yeah, nice if we had that written down somewhere convenient. Or if flying actually put you next to it rather than a fair distance away.
Still, Zygarde isn’t the only Pokemon that’s a pain to deal with here…
4. Various Unintuitive Evolution Methods
Cause actually getting some of your other Pokemon to evolve is a pain in the neck to. For example, how do you evolve Charjabug or Crabrawler?
By levelling them up at a certain location of course.
Where are these locations? Well, Great Poni Canyon and Mount Lanakila of course.
Or for those who haven’t played the game… the fourth island and the equivalent of Victory Road respectively.
For Pokemon you get about 20 hours earlier and who seemingly have no real connection to the location. Real smart move there guys! I’m sure I would have realised my Pokemon would only evolve minutes before the final boss rather than at a reasonable point in the story!
No, no I probably wouldn’t.
Nor would I realise that Steenee only evolves if it levels up while knowing Stomp as a move. Or that Rockruff’s evolution is actually version based rather than time based, and completely pointless given how both forms are catchable on their own in Great Poni Canyon.
Salandit needing to be female to evolve is pretty annoying to figure out too.
Really, you pretty much need a guide to 100% complete this game’s Pokedex. Though hey, I guess that is a running theme with this franchise…
3. The Rarity of the New Pokemon
And it’s a theme that’s not helped by how damn rare the new Pokemon in this game are. I mean, I already said how rare Dhelmise is earlier, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Mimikyu? 5% spawn in the Abandoned Hypermarket. Mareanie? Chance SOS battle encounter (more on that hell later). Drampa? 10% encounter rate in last area in the game.
Basically, if it’s not Yungoos, Wishiwashi, Pikipek or Salandit, it’s far rarer than it should be in this game.
That’s ridiculous, and it means that 90% of your time will be spent using Pokemon you’ve encountered throughout the 6 generations before this one. And for a new game where the new species are the focus? It’s really disappointing.
But hey, there are two more annoying aspects, and they are really, really aggrevating…
2. Hyper Training
Like the promised Hyper Training, which lets you ‘IV train’ your Pokemon.
Sounds good, right? You can overcome Pokemon genetics and give them better stats than otherwise possible. Nothing wrong there, right?
Well, no, in theory.
In practice however, it (and the IV stuff that goes with it) is a genuine pain in the backside.
I mean, for starters, you can’t even tell your Pokemon’s IVs without getting the option from a man in the Battle Tree in the postgame. Who… wait for it, needs you to hatch at least twenty eggs before waking up and giving you the option. Thanks Mr Guy. I never would have figured that one out. Especially given how maybe about three Pokemon in the Alola Dex require breeding to get…
And once you do know, you then have to actually train them. Which requires:
1. At least one bottle cap per stat, or a gold bottle cap for all stats. These are super rare and only available in certain places at random.
2. Said Pokemon to be level 100 beforehand. Which means working with the awful lack of levelling up possibilities in the generation as a whole (read, endless Elite Four fights).
As a result, what could have been a fun and useful option is now a massive guide dang it/pain in the ass, with the results only being viewable by another guide dang it on top of the first one.
But hey, it could be worse. Like say, the old SOS Battles…
1. The SOS Battle System in General
Because this very mechanic is equal parts frustrating and confusing all at once.
For instance, it means if your Pokemon can’t one shot the opponent, they can keep calling it reinforcements and prolonging a simple, easy battle. Sounds bad enough?
Well yes. Yes it is.
But it gets far worse.
Because what the game never tells you… is that certain Pokemon are ONLY found during SOS battles. As in, they only appear when a completely different species calls for help.
For instance, that rare Mareanie I mentioned? Oh, it only appears if a Corsola calls for help in battle. But wait, there’s more!
Because Corsola itself… is a rare spawn with a 1% encounter rate. So you have to encounter a super rare Pokemon, then have it call for help, then hope a species it’s opposed to spawns at random. Sound painful? It sure is. And it gets more annoying.
Cause not only do some Pokemon only spawn in SOS battles, but some require certain WEATHER to be present before they appear. Want a Gabite? Well, you have to be in a sandstorm in Haina Desert and have another Pokemon call for help… and it’s still rare. Goomy? Then hope a Pokemon in Lush Jungle calls for help… while it’s raining. You might have to set up the last one by the way, since it only sometimes rains in the area (unlike in the desert, where there’s always a sandstorm at night). Similarly, Castform only appears if you change the weather in a certain area and have a Pokemon call for help.
Yes, it’s annoying.
Yet guess what?
There’s STILL more to the mechanic! Indeed, let me introduce you to this mechanic called ‘SOS Chaining’.
What’s SOS Chaining?
Well, basically, every time a wild Pokemon receives backup, the counter goes up by one. So by having it call for backup and knocking out any that appear, you can raise the counter up to different levels.
And based on how high it goes, the Pokemon has either different abilities, better IVs (read, genetics) or a higher chance of being ‘Shiny’ (this is usually 1/8192). So the more Pokemon you call and knock out, the better the Pokemon that show up will be (stat wise), and the more likely they’ll be to be Shiny (aka have a different colour palette).
Which means to get the best outcome, you need to have the wild Pokemon call/then quickly knock out… more than 70 Pokemon in a single battle. Did I mention that there’s only a certain chance it’ll successfully call in a new Pokemon at any point in time? Because it will, and that chance goes up the lower its health is. Or if you use the Adrenaline Orb. Which only works once in a battle for three turns.
So yeah, it’s an utter pain to figure out, and is hence perhaps one of the most awkward, annoying additions to the entire franchise.
And that concludes my list of gripes with Pokemon Sun and Moon. For the most part, they’re more features that annoy completionists than anything else (since hey, you don’t need to complete the Pokedex or take on the Battle Tree), but they’re still aggravations that Nintendo and Game Freak could have fixed/changed if they wanted to.
But what do you think? Are you annoyed by these elements in Pokemon Sun and Moon? Or do you somehow think the SOS Battle System, Zygarde Cell Hunting and Hyper Training were actually implemented well?
Post your thoughts on the Gaming Reinvented forums or on social media today!