The new Pokémon game makes a really smart change for new and old players alike

Since the dawn of the Pokémon phenomenon 20 years ago, combat between the titular creatures has always taken the form of a rock-paper-scissor style system of strengths and weaknesses. Water-based attacks will crush a Fire-type Pokémon, but a Water-type
Pokémon is weak against electric attacks.
It’s pretty straightforward. But there are now 801 Pokémon total, each with one or more of the 18 distinct elemental types, from Fire to Fairy to Fighting. That has meant that for the last two decades, playing the games has required either a lot of rote memorization of these strengths and weaknesses, or else having charts and Google handy while you play.

Well, no longer. In Pokémon Sun and Moon, the newest entry in the franchise that launched last week on the Nintendo 3DS, the game makes a tiny change that has a big impact: The games tell you which of your moves are super effective, less effective, or totally ineffective against your opponent, as you’re fighting them.

Check it out:

There’s a big caveat, here. You’ll only see these indicators of effectiveness the second time you battle with a Pokémon. The first time you fight any given Pokémon, it’s up to you to ad-lib a strategy (or go back to the old-fashioned method of Googling every monster you come across).

That means the game keeps some of its challenge, as opponents can still surprise you with Pokémon you’ve never encountered before.

It just means that on repeat encounters, you don’t have to have memorized which moves worked and which ones didn’t. It’s also a good incentive to catch lots of wild Pokémon, so you have the intel you need to succeed in battle.

For new Pokémon players, it’s a mega-handy cheat sheet that makes it much easier to navigate the complexities of combat. For even more experienced players, it removes a lot of the homework involved in remembering each Pokémon’s particular characteristics.

All in all, “Pokémon Sun and Moon” is a very worthy addition to the franchise, making lots of tweaks large and small, like this one, to the series’ winning formula.

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