Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon Review
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Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon Review

Do Ultra Sun and Moon perform better than their predecessors?

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Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon Review
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Preface: I wrote this review on December 6th, 2017 but had nowhere to publish it. I feel my review is still relevant and not too late to publish.


Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were released just a year after the previous games, Sun and Moon. With this new addition to Gen 7, we see a lot of improvements made to an already excellent game. The main characters have been changed a little, though they still have that soulless blank expression throughout most of the game; the times when they are reacting to the events unfolding around them are during the more cinematic and scripted cutscenes.

Along with the subtle changes, the Rotom Dex was given more of a personality. Now you can interact with it a lot more and it feels like it's actually it's own Pokemon and not just a Pokedex with eyes. You can also interact with some Pokemon spread throughout Alola, doing simple things like playing peekaboo or running around with them in a limited amount of space.

The trials have been tweaked either by changing the Pokemon you battle during them or entirely overhauled for the better. They even added a much-needed trial for fairy types. Like many enhanced versions of the game that Game Freak used to do, such as Platinum or Emerald, you are given more variety of Pokemon that you can catch across the region as well as more locations and more options to customize how you play. This leads me into what I did not like about the game.

At first, I was very critical of Ultra Sun from the moment I booted it up. I was excited to play another new Pokemon game, but I didn't feel that it could live up to the love I had for X and Y. Throughout the game, I found myself being overly critical of how things were changed from Sun and Moon. The plot remained the same, aside from the few new characters from the Ultra Recon Squad, until you get close to Poni, Alola’s fourth island.

Though what I forgot, or perhaps chose to forget, was that Platinum did not differ much from Diamond and Pearl until you meet the legendary Pokemon Dialga and Palkia. In fact, the enhancement of the generation is very similar to the formula that Game Freak use to use (like Emerald and Platinum). I loved Platinum and I think it unfair to say that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are not great because the story remained largely the same until you met the legendary; that would be highly hypocritical. There were a lot of new additions to this game that did make it feel like it was worth the price of a brand new game.

That is not to say it has no faults though. In the reviews from others I read, I saw a lot about difficulty. People were saying this game was harder than Sun and Moon. While I did struggle with a couple of the totem Pokemon, I found this game to be an absolute cake-walk. The exp that you get for doing anything is so substantial that I was always well above what I needed to be to succeed in any trial or battle.

Characters like Lillie and Hau are always giving you items and I found it astonishing how many Max Revives or Full Restores I had by the very end; I hadn't bought a single item besides the 50 quick balls I got for catching Pokemon for my Pokedex, yet I was completely decked out when I got to the Elite Four. It didn't even matter that you received so many items because there will always be someone that will fully heal your Pokemon anywhere you go. It just feels like Pokemon is catering to their very young audience and trying to make the game easier than it has to be.

Along with the items that you receive, the friendship you have with your Pokemon, if really good, sometimes feels more like a cheat than it does a benefit for caring for your Pokemon. During my playthrough, I was fighting Necrozma with my Incineroar. My Incineroar has 1hp. Necrozma uses a move that is super effective and a critical hit against me. Incineroar took no damage, “toughing it out.” What utter bullshit.

The expansion of the Rotom Dex was great at first, giving you a lot of really beneficial gifts to help you along the way. But everything Rotom said quickly became repetitive and annoying. His eyes get all depressed if you leave him be for more than what seems like 5 minutes. He constantly interrupts the bottom screen, and I became very frustrated that it was guilting me into interacting with it so that it wouldn't be sad. The Roto Lotto takes so long to get through that I just didn't want to bother with it. Eventually, I stopped using it altogether not because I didn't care for the benefits of using it, but because it was too annoying to deal with.

Pokepelago remained basically the same, though that means it still has many of the gripes I previously had with it. I mainly only used the first island you get because I like to be really good friends with my Pokemon through Pokemon Refresh. This means getting beans to feed your Pokemon. Collecting the beans is imprecise, as the hitbox of the Pokemon sprites on the bottom screen are far too large. I find myself hitting a bean with the stylus and it pulls up the Pokemon next to it instead of picking up the bean. Then you have to listen to the guy speak and you cannot skip his mantra. It's annoying.

Despite these gripes, I did really enjoy the game. Lillie is so much less annoying and more likable now, there are far more Pokemon to catch and interact with, more locations, more customization for your character, and events littered all throughout Alola like solving the mystery of hauntings at the trainer school and even a wedding between two Pikachus. All of this combined with basically everything the 3DS can handle (though anything more than a 1v1 battle will occasionally lag) gives a really special Pokemon experience.

I don’t intend on playing the post-game for a while, but I have heard it has even more to offer than Sun and Moon, which is such good news because I really enjoyed the post-game of my Moon playthrough. With the addition of exploring the wormholes (despite the abhorrent controls), it really does feel like a new game even though it follows roughly the same plot until I was 40 hours in. I can't say if I can recommend this game to everyone, as anyone who has been playing Pokemon for more than 5 years might find it annoyingly easy, but I definitely recommend it if you're looking to enjoy another great Pokemon game.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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