Two step forwards, one step back, as per usual.
Y'know the drill, you, an 11 year old kid, moves to a new region, Alola in this case, and must defeat the 8 Gym Leaders and then tackle the Elite Four.... except not, not this time. Gyms and Gym Leaders are gone, instead you must traverse the four islands that make up Alola and clear the Pokemon Captain's Trials as well as the 4 Kahunas, and then tackle the Elite four. To be honest, the Captain's Trials are pretty much Gyms, except that instead of clearing simple puzzles, fighting trainers and then the Gym Leader, you must now clear simple puzzles, fight a few random Pokemon and then fight a powered-up Pokemon. Basically, same old, same old but under a new coat of paint. I will grant it that the Trials are a decent change of pace, but Gyms were much more entertaining, and I'd rather have them back, that said, I won't hold this little experiment against them, since The Pokemon Company finally tried something slightly different. The rest of the game is pretty much the same, explore towns, battle in turn-based combat, collect all the different Pokemon, yadda yadda.
Now, let's get into the brilliant new additions to the formula. Firstly, one of my chief complaints, you can now check the typing of any Pokemon you've already fought while in battle, and it will also tell you how effective your moves will be. Fantastic. And now the biggie, HMs are finally gone, now replaced by rideable Pokemon that can be called at any time and don't require you to have a Pokemon on your party with the required abilities. Sadly, Soaring is gone, which was one of the funnest parts about Omega Ruby, what's more, the Map is a bit of a pain to understand, which makes using Charizad to 'fly' to other areas a bit of a hassle. I've never had trouble understanding previous games' maps, but this one is hideous to look at and zooming in is anything but useful.
Super Training has been removed, substituted by PokePelagos. In PokePelagos you can leave Pokemon to raise their Evs, levels and even gather items. It's... It's a decent substitute to Super Training, but I didn't really care too much for either. But the biggest blunder is that you can't look at your EVs anymore. Although you can tap Y in the stats menu to get the EV spread, it's not as precise as the gauge that you'd get on the DexNav. And that useful feature that let you know if you were missing Pokemon from an area added in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire? Gone, because Gamefreak just doesn't want us having nice things..
And now let's get into what they broke: The online features. X/Y and Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire got online right by making it a menu you could access at any time by tapping the lower screen. It worked well, it was fast, it was efficient. Now you are forced to go into this 'Festival Plaza' hub town before accessing any online feature. It feels so... unnecessary, why tweak what previous games had gotten right so well? Hub Towns acting as menus never, ever work. At least the GTS and Wonder Trade work exactly like they used to, even if you've got to go through extra steps to use them.
Then we have SOS Battles, substituting Horde Battles. Certain Pokemon may randomly call for aid during battle, so a 1 on 1 could turn into a 1 on 2. I think that on paper this sounded like a good idea, but in theory, these are boring. The 'asking for help' animation/cut-scene takes a while, and keep in mind that the game starts slowing-down once a third pokemon enters the fray. And you can't try to capture a Pokemon while there's two of them for whatever reason. Now then, imagine you are trying to capture a Ditto, and it keeps constantly calling for aid from other Pokemon. You waste a turn killing the new fighter, then you have to sit through the 'asking for help' animation, and then a new monster appears, rinse and repeat. You've no idea just how boring these can get. Oh, and we've over 800 monsters already, yet it seemed like the first three island were populated by the same Pokemon, there's a depressing lack of variety in Pokemon species at first, and it doesn't help that there's a few Pokemon that may only appear as back up, so good luck wasting turns until they are called for. The cherry on top being that it seems like the newest Pokemon are the hardest to come by!
In short, Pokemon Sun is your typical Pokemon game. There's some fantastic new features, there's some horrible new features, they kept some great things and they got rid of some great things as well. When it's all said and done, Pokemon Sun is the best Pokemon game available on the 3DS, but it's far from the best it could've been,
8.0 out of 10