Are sun and moon the easiest pokemon games?

Kermit Seismitoad isn’t real, it can’t hurt you
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Basically, what the title says. In my honest opinion, YES. Of if not, they are amongst the top 2 easiest games in the franchise. It’s either I’m a super skilled player or I had a really good team, but I don’t think I even was trying and the ‘hardest’ battle of the game was the final rival battle.

Pretty much all of the parts of the game that seemed hard were more annoying than such, such as the random level jumps, grinding up lower levelled creatures amongst SOS battles (I personally think SOS battles are alright. With regular teammates, they make for fun grinding and can be cheesed to get better encounters. But with lower leveled creatures you are trying to raise it can be annoying) and random trainers with Z-moves (a trainer I had NO IDEA had a Flying Z-move that killed my freshly evolved crab in my Nuzrun when I just traded to evolve her).

So what do you guys think? How does SM line up in difficulty compared to the rest of the series in your opinion?
 
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Obviously, game difficulty is highly subjective but I find the 'SM were easy' sentiment so confusing that I start looking for 'macro' reasons to explain it - perhaps SM arrived when a lot of players were coming of age and gitting gud? Perhaps there was a competitive renaissance going on, creating wider awareness of mechanics such as STAB or stat interactions? Perhaps this tranche of players simply haven't played any of the games from around the turn of the millennium?

I'm confident in stating that I'm a good player, and I was wiped multiple times by the totems and a couple of captains when using a non-Nuzlocke team. It's a hazy recollection that I should do more to research, but I'm also fairly sure that Alola has far, far fewer of the 'four Zubats and a Geodude' schmucks and far more of the one-or-two high level, 'real Pokémon' trainers.

Let's look at the competition:

Gen 1 - Just irrelevant.

Gen 2 - 99% irrelevant, Miltank hasn't been a credible surprise for two decades now. I guess Red is a little obnoxious?

Gen 3 - RSE provide a reasonable difficulty floor for the series, but any game with Swampert available as a starter is never going to be truly challenging and a lot of the gym leaders have pretty ropey aces (with the notable exception of Wallace). FRLG pulls fewer punches with the gym leaders, but it also has a brilliant species selection for the player to work with.

Gen 4 - It's been a little while since I played them but the DP Elite Four are a bad joke, albeit much improved in Platinum. The starters are pretty great even if the wild Sinnoh species aren't... Maybe a notch above the GBA titles? HGSS are still a cakewalk.

Gen 5 - These have ended so many Nuzlockes prematurely that they're in serious contention for the hardest overall... but the severity of the rubber-banding effect on Exp gain hardly feels legitimate at times. The increasingly wide variety of moves available to AI teams is definitely starting to bite, in a good way.

Gen 6 - Now, this is the one that really baffles me in relation to the supposed ease of the SM playthrough. In XY you have to actively handicap yourself to avoid stomping Kalos into the chalky dirt - the player is offered Exp Share, Snorlax, Lucario and a second starter in the first half of the game, and that's before you get to the mega evolutions that 99% of the AI trainers can't use! Easiest non-remake titles since the GBA.

Gen 8 - Having only played through once, and with a hand-picked team at that, I found Shield to be very easy - though I would be interested to see how challenging the final tourney is without the Exp Candy feast my team indulged in prior.
 

RK9

Gen V was the peak.
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Other than the Ultra Necrozma fight in USUM, (Which was absolute fucking bullshit purely cause the level jump was fucking ridiculous), together with X/Y, yes, definitely.

Then again, I had trouble in SwSh in some fights so I'm not sure if I'm a reliable paramater to use in the equation. (But that's mostly cause like most players I didn't use Exp Candies from the raids.)

But to be honest, the 'easiness' is also attributed to well, the battle mechanics. In X/Y you gain access to 2 strong Megas easily (Lucario and the Kanto starter) on top of no one else using Megas except your rival post-game and Lysandre in your final fight so just Mega, click a move and watch stuff go down. SM/USUM with equipping a Z-Move and just click it to watch whatever die, and SwSh with Giga/Dynamax where you can Dyna click a move to then snowball for 3 turns off of the statboosts.

That said, there are many other factors that factor in too. Like knowledge on battle mechanics, thought out team planning (THat may or may coincidentally not be exactly good enough to counter whatever gets thrown at you except for a handful of exceptions you don't encounter anyways) or the AI sometimes making questionable choices. So I think it also largely comes down to how you go about playing the game.
 
Whoever has the gold makes the rules...
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I think XY are the easiest due to it's monty haul nature as WyndonCalling mentioned above, but I still found sun/moon pretty easy even by Pokémon standards (though as I've mentioned when I got to Poni island I stopped out of boredom so maybe it was gonna turn into a nightmare right after).

HGSS are still a cakewalk.
Not gonna lie, the Kimono sisters there wiped me several times when I was replaying it this year, putting HGSS way above pretty much every other Pokémon game in difficulty for me. I was doing a "no items in battle" run and it was mostly that an Espeon with Psychic at that point was something my party had no good counters to (partly bad luck where it kept getting criticals/evasions when I used Steelix), but it ultimately meant that gauntlet was the hardest Pokémon experience I've had since they removed the battle frontier.
 
Dynamic Dragon Duo
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No. With the exp share off, I had more trouble than in XY and Sword.

Honestly, I think X and Y are probably the easiest. While SwSh’s always on exp share made it super easy to over level, making the bulk of the game easy, Leon was at the very least somewhat challenging. X and Y, on the other hand, had no challenging parts in my opinion even with the exp share off.
 
Not Dead
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I remember struggling against Lusamine the first time, since I had Exp. Share off. Then I turned it on and the second battle was much easier despite her stat boosts.
 
Withered
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The Alola games and Platinum are the only ones that have ever given me a consistently good challenge, lol. Every other game only has a couple of tough bosses at best.

I agree with the forming consensus that XY are the easiest
 
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Judging by my solo playthroughs, SM and USUM were the hardest ones. Like Rantaro said, it's XY that is the easiest.
 
Geek of the Games
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I'm with the rest of the group who say XY were the easiest. SM actually offered some challenge. The totems were quite intelligent (and got even smarter in the Ultra games), the Trial Captains had some depth to their game, Aether was quite unpredictable when it came to what Mons they'd use, and Lusamine was one of the stronger "bosses" in the franchise. XY basically handed several powerful Mons/items to you on a silver platter very early on (EXP Share, Kanto Starter w/ corresponding Mega Stone, Snorlax, several rare Dragon Mons, Lucario w/ Mega Stone, etc), all of this before the halfway point. Plus, the AI was terrible, many "boss" trainers didn't have full movesets such as your Rival and the Gym Leaders, only 4 characters used Megas against you (Korrina, Lysander, Diantha, and your Rival post-game), and practically no one used a full team until Diantha herself. Even if you turned off the EXP Share all the aforementioned "gifts" and strong early encounter Mons pretty much shattered the game to pieces.

So, no, SM are not the easiest games in the franchise. Quite the opposite, as they actually had some depth to their fights, especially the Totems, thus actually had some bite to their bark. XY, on the other hand, are by far the easiest games in the series mainly because they practically hand you everything you'd need to shatter the games to bits very early on.
 
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No I think X and Y get that honor since the Exp Share made every battle easy - I remember each gym match lasting maybe 25 seconds tops because I one shotted every Pokemon that the gym leaders sent out. Sun and Moon were easy at most points except for the totem battles.
 
Withered
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and random trainers with Z-moves (a trainer I had NO IDEA had a Flying Z-move that killed my freshly evolved crab in my Nuzrun when I just traded to evolve her).
On this point, those Trainers actually aren't random. The only Trainers that use Z-Moves (other than the major characters) are a few of the "route bosses," whom you can only challenge after defeating every other Trainer on the route that they govern, and what's more is that these battles have to be sought out and consented to. None of the "regular" Trainers ever use Z-Moves. (Edit: Actually, there is one who does!)

For specifics, here is a list of these Trainers:
  • Route 3: Ace Trainer Makana - Doesn't use a Z-Move; instead, he uses a Stealth Rock/Red Card strat in SM, and in USUM, he spams Roost instead (lame).
  • Route 5: Trial Guide Bronson - Has Psychium Z on his Slowpoke in SM, and on his Mr. Mime in USUM.
  • Route 8: Ace Trainer Eileen - Has Flyinium Z on her Fearow.
  • Diglett's Tunnel: Black Belt Greg - Has Fightinium Z on his Hariyama. For whatever reason, he is one out of two of these Trainers that were cut from USUM, so this battle only exists in SM.
  • Mount Hokulani: Veteran Akira - Has Darkinium Z on his Absol.
  • Route 12: Collector Andrew - Has Buginium Z on his Pinsir.
  • Route 15: Trial Guide Katrina - Has Steelium Z on her Skarmory. She's the other one of the two who don't exist in USUM.
  • Ula'ula Meadow: Golfer Dean - Doesn't use a Z-Move; instead, his strategy involves Flame Orb shenanigans.
  • Poni Wilds: Dancer Julia - Doesn't use a Z-Move; her strategy is using a team of four Oricorio, each equipped with a Focus Sash.
  • Poni Plains: Ace Trainer Cole - Has Dragonium Z on his Goodra in SM, and on his Kommo-o in USUM.
  • Mount Lanakila: Veteran Aristo - The boss of the route bosses. He exists only in USUM, and will only challenge you once you've defeated all of the aforementioned Trainers. Instead of using a Z-Move, his team plays around with "extension" items - that is, Light Clay and each of the Weather rocks.
Also, Captain Mina is technically considered a route boss in SM, since she'll only battle you once you've defeated everyone else on the Poni Gauntlet. Naturally, she has Fairium Z on her Ribombee.

X and Y, on the other hand, had no challenging parts in my opinion even with the exp share off.
There's a few that I'd give XY credit for, but not many (then again, I could say the same of SwSh). The ones that come to my mind are Lysandre II (or more specifically, his Mega Gyarados), Brains & Brawn Frank & Sly on Route 11 (using Mr. Mime and Machoke; that Mr. Mime can wreck u), Black Belt Hedvig in Reflection Cave (she uses a Throh and a Hawlucha which I know for a fact have ended a fair few Nuzlockes), and Poké Family Jan & Erin on one of Route 6's secret paths (they use two Furfrou which can be really tanky for that point in the game, and I'm pretty sure they can also deploy a Super Potion). The battle against Korrina at Geosenge (in which she uses two Lucario) can also catch you off-guard.

All this is assuming you have the Exp. Share off, of course.
 
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Boy travels Galar with his Water Spy Lizard
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The Alola games can be challenging, SWSH Gym leaders have a Mon who can be strong. But XY bosses are not to challenging.
 
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crazy oshawott lady
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No, the Alola games definitely are challenging. They make you actually have to come up with strategy as the Totems are naturally difficult, and there's a lot of boss battles that use Z-Moves. Those "master trainers" that only challenge you after beating all trainers on a route also use Z-Moves, while the ones that don't use notable competitive-level strategies.
 
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In terms of the main series: XY

In terms of the spin off games: PokePark
 
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Honestly, the entire series is extremely easy. We can argue which are the hardest and which are the easiest, at the end of the day the franchise has been always incredibly easy. That's because the type chart is so easy to abuse and this is reinforced by the fact GF still has single type gym leaders, something so exploitable that i'm surprised it's still a thing.

XY did go overboard with a level curve that the Exp Share alone shatters in half, then it decides to give you two megas early on. Pretty much turned off the Exp Share, avoided using mega stones and played on Set. It was still easy though, but at least didn't one shot everything.

When it comes to Sun and Moon, i found them very easy. A single totem gave me trouble and that was Mimikyu (and that was solely because of its ability), every other totem fainted in like two to three turns.
 
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In my experience, the Alola games are actually the most difficult of the "modern" Pokemon games (X and Y onwards). The Totem battles are challenging, and I also struggled with the battles against Guzma and Lusamine on my first Moon playthrough, although that might have been because I had the Exp Share switched off. Professor Kukui's team is pretty formidable as well, but Hau's final battle in USUM was much easier. Ultra Necrozma caught me off guard the first time, but now I always make sure I have a Pokemon with Sucker Punch and a ton of Revives.

The easiest Pokemon game I've played is X and Y, which I don't remember encountering any particularly difficult opponents in at all, outside of the Battle Maison. ORAS and Let's Go are quite easy too, but the former at least has some difficult legendary battles that are required for story progression, and the latter has a couple of surprisingly strong trainers (like Ace Trainer Yvette on Route 7).
 
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I think Sword and Shield are the easiest games. It's super easy to get a hold of really powerful pokemon in those games and teach them a ton of good moves. Outside of raid battles, Dynamaxing didn't offer the same difficulty as some of the totem battles.

Early game XY difficulty is fairly well done, IMO, but it falls apart a bit after you get Mega Lucario. I do like that Team Flare had a good variety of pokemon that they used, though. They are they only grunts in the series to give me any trouble. I think the issue is, the difficulty in XY mostly comes from rando NPCs and not the actual boss characters.

edit: grammar
 
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When in doubt, use your offspring as ammo
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Gen 8 - Having only played through once, and with a hand-picked team at that, I found Shield to be very easy - though I would be interested to see how challenging the final tourney is without the Exp Candy feast my team indulged in prior.
Well, speaking as someone who got through Shield without using Exp Candies at all, I will say that the tournament is for the most part a breeze until you get to Leon, who while not as challenging for first-time players as Lance or Cynthia, was still pretty freaking strong. Then again, how tough a trainer is can depend on which Pokemon you're using, plus I was playing with the self-imposed rule of not using any healing items during a battle (something I've been doing since B2W2 came out), so... yeah.

Now, on the topic, I will agree with the general sentiment that the SM games, while perhaps not as hard as a few previous titles, are still considerably more difficult than XY, which were so laughably easy that there wasn't a single boss fight that gave me any degree of trouble, whereas every other game has always had at least one important battle that I've struggled with: RBY had Sabrina and her OP Psychic-types, GSC and their remakes had Whitney, Blue, and Red; RSE had Norman while they and their remakes had Steven, DPP had the Galactic Admins and their underleveled Skuntantk/Purugly plus Cynthia, BW and their sequels had Ghetsis, while SM had Totem Lurantis and Totem Mimikyu and their sequels added tougher overall Totem Battles plus the infamous Ultra Necrozma to that mix, and SWSH (for me, at least) had Leon. XY, though? Nothing. Zilch. Nada. That isn't to say that I didn't enjoy these games, but they really are kinda lacking in the challenge department compared to the others. And this is keeping in mind that Pokemon games as a whole aren't particularly hard when compared to other RPGs.
 
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I have a gut feeling that the people (not all of them though) who say the games are too easy are those who abuse the mechanics to get perfect IV Pokemon. Also, they tend to play with the EXP Share on all the time.
 
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