(Editor's Note: This review contains MASSIVE SPOILERS)
This game is quite possibly the most sexist example of holding back games as a medium that I have ever played. Pokemon Sun and Moon is littered with perverted innuendos every other step of the game as you progress. From the main professor insinuating that his "Body is ready", to random pokemon trainers in bikinis talking about where they hide their pokeballs: this latest installment in the Pokemon series is an affront to polite society everywhere and is extremely harmful to our youth.
Is This Really Appropriate For A Game Aimed At Children!? [Source NowLoading]
One of your first missions in the game, before you even get your first pokemon, is to save a damsel in distress. Said damsel can't even save the pokemon she so desires to protect, because she is afraid of crossing a bridge and so asks you to save the pokemon, which she calls "Nebby".
So typical to make a man save a woman, as opposed to letting her save the pokemon herself! Although, the writer of this article did not select the female character option. Politically correct opinions may change with character selection.
(Editor's Note: I went with a girl trainer and it is just as oppressive!)
Also, can we talk about the lack of any LGBTQ romances in the game? Your main rival Hau is so obviously enthralled with the damsel character called Lillie, who is protecting Nebby. Further perpetuating heteronormative ideas: this character Hau, who is your "rival" on several occasions, keeps giving you free items and heals your pokemon to make your journey easier. Can you imagine being a woman playing this game and being told: "Look you aren't quite good enough for this next part, here is a quick heal and some items to make things easier for you later". I don't want to be coddled by the game: I want to be treated like the strong, independent person I am!
Gentle On The Goods? What Are You Implying Nintendo? [Source: Tumblr]
Progressing through the game we are greeted by a group known as the "Aether Foundation", which is led by a strong, independent woman named Lusamine, who wishes to protect and help pokemon everywhere. However, GameFreak has the audacity to make this honorable character the villain in the end!
That's right: they make her the villain you have to defeat near the end of the game. Quite literally the "Sinister Seductress" Trope as mentioned by Anita Sarkeesian. How could they make such an empowered woman the villain in this game when we had a perfectly fine, well-rounded villain in the character Guzma, leader of "Team Skull". I guess we're lucky that they even bother to give Lusamine her moment of redemption as the game continues on.
What Is He Doing With That RockRuff?! [Source: somethingwitty-somethingsweet.tumblr.com]
I suppose there is something to be thankful for though, there are a handful of characters throughout the game that represents the LGBTQ community quite well: even my male water-type starter pokemon, Popplio, evolved into the fabulous and effeminate Primarina as an LGBTQ Pokemon representation.
While sexual innuendos are consistent throughout the game, and are extremely derogatory towards women specifically, the side character Lillie is quite consistently dependent on you. That is, until near the end of the main story: wherein she becomes empowered and speaks up against her oppressive mother Lusamine, who again I am quite disdainful of her being the chosen main villain in this game, allowing for some character development.
This Is Absolutely Disgraceful! [Source: Reddit]
When the game finally comes to a close, we follow the newly liberated Lillie back to where we started together: across the bridge where she proves how much she has grown from the beginning. We are then able to fight that particular islands' guardian pokemon.
After that Lillie leaves us to go journey on to the Kanto region, the setting of Pokemon Red and Blue, in order to meet with the original creator of the Pokemon Storage System: Bill. Shes does this in an effort to help her mother Lusamine, since Bill had a similar accidental situation happen to him, creating a reference and narrative connection to the very first game in the series.
You're Acting Rather Predatorial, Looker.
After finishing the main game we are allowed to go through the post-game content: starting of with a creepy old man leaving you an invitation to meet him, alone, in a seedy hotel. I can't imagine how triggering this is for sexual assault survivors: surely a poor move on Nintendo's part. One of the challenges we face is to find and capture the Ultra Beasts by aiding the "International Police", lead by Looker and his superior Anabel. This creates a problem: as we progress through the missions we find out Anabel is actually bait for the Ultra Beasts! What's worse is she willingly accepted her position unbeknownst to what the International Police actually intended for her. Anabel is clearly a classic example of the "Woman In The Refrigerator" Trope, as so succulently described by Anita Sarkeesian. As the story progresses, Looker considers you as additional bait that is more disposable. We eventually finish this end game content with us, as the male character rescuing the "damsel in distress" from certain demise, with none of the male characters having learned anything about equality.
Because this game does give so many nods to the LGBTQ community, I will give this a definitive 3/10.
(Editor's Note: On top of that, as the female player character you then become the Mis-Male Trope whom has to save the Damsel, which is clearly intentional.)
Learning Type Strengths And Weaknesses Has Never Been Easier
My Real Thoughts
Alright, so Pokemon Sun and Moon is probably one of the greatest additions to the franchise for new players to the series: I have already put 70 hours into the game while working a full time job and it has only been out for two weeks, so you could say I am a fan. Now this is something I also felt about Gen VI (Pokemon X and Y), but Gen VII just gives a lot of important info, that you would otherwise need to spend hours figuring out throughout the course of the game, in a digestible understandable way. When you beat a pokemon of a specific species, you will now know their weakness whenever you encounter them again in the game. This helps players who are new understand the type differences and weaknesses, which I consider one of the biggest walls to climb in the Pokemon series.
Veterans to the series, such as myself, might feel annoyed by some of the changes though. Leveling up is significantly slower, while they made some things like EV (Effort Value) training and IV (Individual Value) manipulation a lot easier than it has ever been before, which does open up lot of options for competitive play. They also removed some things like "Super Training", making it more difficult to EV train your pokemon earlier in the game. In it's place we get "Hyper Training", which only works at level 100 and requires a somewhat rare item called Bottle Caps in order to raise your pokemon's hidden base stats, known as IV's, to their maximum value for battling purposes. Sadly this does not have an impact on breeding or Hidden Power and requiring your pokemon to be level 100 makes it a little difficult to access.
IVs Are A Hidden Stat Value That Can Only Be Effectively Manipulated Through Breeding
There is also the addition of Poke Pelago and Festival Plaza, which add a lot of customization for your Pokemon training experience, though it is not necessarily "better". Poke Pelago allows you to train up to 18 pokemon and their EV's at once while you are away from the game. Meanwhile the Festival Plaza allows you to get rare items, such as the aforementioned Bottle Caps, and allows for EV training or EV removal at the cost of a currency known as Festival Coins. Finally understanding the IV's your pokemon have has never been easier. After hatching 20 eggs and beating the main game storyline you can unlock an IV rating system for your Pokemon Storage, which tells you in a much easier to understand way what those hidden values numbers are at.
Was the story good? I would personally place it about on par with Pokemon Black/2 and White/2: it has a lot of predictable things occurring in it, but they do manage to keep it interesting and the multiple dimensions/multiple timeline theories, which were alluded to in Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, are more solidified as a very real part of the overall storyline now in Pokemon Sun and Moon.
While the music was decent there weren't any soundtracks that really jumped out at me as being particularly impressive. Even the battle to become the Elite Four Champion isn't particularly impressive.
One Of The More Convenient Ways To Earn Bottle Caps, A Lottery Shop!
There are of course the typical post-game battle areas, the main one bring "The Battle Tree" in this installment. Although you also have access to Battle Royal at a much earlier time in the game: you might want to wait until your team reaches level 50, as by then they will be the level of the opponents you face. So far the post-game content feels kind of lacking: while there are a ton of Ultra Beasts for you to catch, up to 11 of them with there being multiples of some, there just doesn't seem to be as much as there was in prior games.
Some frame-rate issues exist in this game: specifically when four pokemon are on the screen at once, and at least with a traditional 3DS XL, there also seems to be some slow down in the Festival Plaza. I have heard that the issues disappear significantly with the New 3DS systems, but it is still disappointing to have one of the main formats of the VGC hosted by Nintendo having that much of a frame-rate issue, depending on what system you play the game on.
I definitely recommend Pokemon Sun and Moon to anyone, be they new to the franchise or a veteran like myself. I hope to see you all in the Alola Region.
Definitely Recommended Despite It's Handful Of Flaws
While everything I mentioned prior does happen in the game, the opening of this piece was intended to be a satirical look at what we often get from mainstream games journalism today. Instead of focusing on what is fun or enjoyable about the game, we often see a focus on supposed "political correctness" and what I wrote isn't far from lot of subjective points we see out of "progressive" games publications.