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How Pokémon Sun & Moon Fixed Gen 6’s Biggest Problem

Pokémon Sun & Moon fixed many issues from previous titles that evolved the series into what it is today. It started with the introduction of Z-Moves.

Pokémon on the 3DS saw several additions to the mainline titles, including Mega Evolutions and Z-Moves, but Pokémon Sun & Moon fixed many issues that needed addressing from previous titles. While Pokémon X and Y was the next step in the mainline series when it was released on Nintendo 3DS, Pokémon Sun & Moon made even further strides, going so far as to experiment with a different take on the gyms. Island Trials serve as the replacement for gyms in the Sun and Moon games, putting players through small tasks that test the strength of their Pokémon and their wits before they battle a Totem Pokémon.

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In addition to the Island Trials, Sun and Moon introduced region-specific variations to Pokémon like Alolan Vulpix and Alolan Ninetails, which served as Ice-type variations of the Kantonian Fire-type fox. The introduction of Z-Moves in Gen 7 saw over-the-top animations that let players devastate their opponents with silly yet powerful attacks. In the previous generation, Mega Evolutions saw players’ fan-favorite Pokémon become even stronger than thought possible. This mega evolution in Pokémon Sun & Moon would change a Pokémon’s stats or even its type, providing alternate looks and playstyles. Though similar in concept, these two different takes on making Pokémon their absolute strongest are not created equally.


Related: Pokemon Sun & Moon Starters: Which Is Best?

While it was a fantastic introduction to adding more flavor to the Pokémon battle system, Mega Evolutions were made inferior quickly when Z-Moves were revealed. Z-Moves could be used on a wide range of Pokémon, providing the infamous ‘Splash’ found on all Magikarp to have its niche as a Z-Move damage boost. The various effects these new moves showcased made Mega Evolutions feel second-class. Its position as the predecessor to a far better system is made more apparent with its limitations to very specific Pokémon.


How Z-Moves Added Versatility in Pokémon Sun & Moon

However, this new mechanic did come with its limitations, as a Z-Move in Pokémon Sun & Moon would only be available if the Z crystal being used and the move type were the same. This meant if players had a Water Z crystal on Magikarp, but Magikarp didn’t have a water move, they would not be able to activate any Z-Moves. The second restriction was they were once per battle, enticing players to be mindful of when they used the powerful attacks. Regardless of these restrictions, Z-Moves variety outshines Mega Evolutions and its fixed transformations.

Whether it’s the powerful transformation from Gen 6, the exceptional move variety and power from Gen 7, or the intimidating Dynamax feature of Pokémon Sword and Shield, Game Freak is not scared to experiment with new gameplay mechanics that keep players on their toes. The shift from Mega Evolutions to Z-Moves was an advancement that helped Pokémon continue to stay creative and keep players thinking. Following the change from Mega Evolutions to Z-Moves in Pokémon Sun & Moon and then to Dynamaxes, many expect Game Freak to bring a new battle mechanic into Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.


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