Pokemon’s ‘Sun’ gives the franchise a new look

Connor Deblieck

Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, Pokemon franchise developers GAME FREAK and Nintendo have been hard at work bringing forth the seventh generation of Pokemon called “Sun.”

Pokemon games, while wildly enjoyable, challenging and packed with countless hours of fun, have become rather stale and dull over the span of 20 years. The games have a redundant story that has continued for six generations, but the franchise’s repetitive nature came to a halt on Nov. 18 with the released “Sun.”

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In Battle
Battle image captured on the Nintendo 3DS. Photo credit: Connor Deblieck

The game takes place on new region called Alola, which is meant to be a representation of Hawaii. The Alola region is made up of four islands with a fifth man-made island created by the Aether Foundation, a organization of scientists who sought to protect Pokemon from Team Skull’s destructive plans.

“Sun” completely re-imagines the world of Pokemon, which alters the stale and constant premise, bringing forth a breath of fresh air to the franchise.

Gyms and Gym Leaders have been replaced with Island and Grand Trials; the evil organization known as Team Skull still exists but it has an intriguing twist; and, the portrayal of Pokemon in the series has shifted from being an advisory for battle to a friend and companion in the same way we view pets that also help us with our daily tasks.

There are seven Island Trial, and each has a Trial Captain that instructs the player. Upon completing the Island Trials on each island, the player begins the island’s Grand Trial. The game consisted of four Grand Trials where the player battles the island champion Kahuna to continue on the next island.

What became very apparent upon progressing through the game was that while the other Pokemon games consisted of a story, they were severely lacking in a thoroughly engaging and emotional story. Pokemon “Sun” offers that thrilling rollercoaster storyline that is filled with its fair share of shocking plot twist and character development. For the most part, this made the game feel completely unlike Pokemon for all the right reasons.

Without revealing the entire plot, “Sun” did a fantastic job of making the story and the world of Pokemon seem more real than ever before. To showcase that the Island Trials were not something every trainer could accomplish brought forth a sense of reality in the franchise that every Pokemon trainer is not the same.

The big bad villain at the end also offered a twist. It was not the leader of Team Skull but someone entirely different that was blinded by ambition and sought to create her version of the world. Her passion and motivation to exclude all else made her a very relatable villain.

“Sun” also featured roughly 100 new Pokemon that were all well-balanced and over 30 hours of game-play unlike previous titles that capped at around 20 hours.

The other noteworthy thing that the seventh generation features is more adult, dark themes that are intended for the older audience who have been playing Pokemon since they were young.

The best part of the “Sun” is that it not only keeps the action going until the ultimate climax, but it also blends the post-game exploration into the story to make it seem never-ending.

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Should you play it?: Yes

“Sun” is the best game in the franchise and creates a realistic and beautiful experience for the player.