The latest release from Game Freak is the next rendition of the on-going Pokémon adventure series dubbed Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon; which was released on November 17 — right in time for the game to make the wish lists of Pokémon fans around the world.
This is not the first time the franchise has sold multiple versions of the same game. Gamefreak released Pokémon Blue first and then later released Pokémon Sapphire with a redesign and updated story — hence; Pokémon Sun and Moon. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon have both been seen as meaty RPGs while holding all of the cut-scenes in Sun and Moon as expanded chunks in this revisited storyline.
The makers of this rendition are Kasumasa Iwao who first worked on Pokémon Black and White, and Shigeru Ohmori who first worked on Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. The duo hope that players will enjoy the pieces of the story that were taken from earlier versions, and have created a storyline that includes island living, worm holes, ultra beasts, Team Skull and so much more that were first seen in Pokémon Sun. But the Pokémon Ultra versions promised new Pokémon and a few new gems to uncover.
In the first three days of sales 1,199,814 copies were purchased, and the game has earned itself four stars on Metacritic. Yet some of the older Pokémon fans find the newness of the games hard to swallow.
However, the production staff of the Pokémon anime has changed four times since the release of the Indigo League, so we have to offer a bit of leniency when we see something old become something new. This crack at newness and evolution is something that is pretty pleasing to the eyes in Ultra Sun, but the game process might take a toll on impatient players.
Let’s dive right in.
The beginning of the game is the same-old as a professor asks you for your information, but a new piece of this process is the selection of an avatar. Players get to choose their own skin tones and later on in the game will be given the opportunity to collect, buy and change their choice of clothes to make outfits for their avatars.
Players then find themselves in the Alola region, which is much like the real-life Hawaiian Islands. Characters in the game will greet with “Alola!” and players are able to visit an in-game island in Poke Pelago to retrieve Poke Beans and interact with their Pokémon in storage.
Ultra Sun also has some new ways of working with your Pokémon. Rather than simply battling, feeding berries and poffins to help bond with your Pokémon, you can now clean them up after a battle with your stylus and use Pokémon Restore to pet and interact with them. This is semi-reminiscent of the relationships players could build with the system in Nintendogs, but it adds extra time to each battle.
And as you find out later on, rather than battling gym trainers and leaders of a specific type — you battle trainers, a totem Pokémon trained by a Trial Captain and its helpers and finally a Hakuna. When you battle the totem Pokémon and the Hakuna by entering a trial and grand trial you do not receive a gym badge, but a Z-crystal which is another concept that has changed set both Sun versions apart in Pokémon.
The concept of Pokémon having powers and abilities is age-old, but within Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon these powers and abilities can be further enhanced by Z-crystals to enable a special move for a specific type of attack that can only be used once in battle.
While the overall storyline begins at a much slower pace than the former games, it invokes an actual sense of meaning as your avatar is oftentimes given the option of selecting how to respond to questions and trials, making the adventure more personal.
The layout and design of the islands and interaction formats is also astonishingly beautiful in comparison to the former games, but not being able to have full mobility of view as in games like Call of Duty can take away from the experience.
Yet, the game seems to whisk you away to a string of four tropical islands and really makes it feel like you’re on a vacation when you play it, with the only detriment being that you have to remember to train your Pokémon so that they’ll have your back when things get tough — and things definitely do.
All in all, this game would be a great last addition to any game collection and a great last-minute Christmas gift, as Nintendo preps for its Nintendo Switch debut.
Just some extra gems to take note of:
Rowlet is likely the better choice of the three starter Pokémon, taking into account the type of Pokémon you will first encounter.
The Pokedex is hosted by the Ghost type Pokémon Rotom, and he helps to keep track of and maintain the core story.
Instead of riding a bike or using HMs, you get to ride a selection of different Pokémon instead as you conquer different main story missions.
Your character is only 11 years old and moved to the Alola Region from the Kanto Region.
The Exp. Share is phenomenal and makes fast work of training, as all six Pokémon in your party can earn exp. points from battles.
Mantine surfing is a thing.
As well, if you purchase either Pokémon Ultra Sun or Ultra Moon Before January 11, you can receive a special gift of a rare Lycanroc Dusk Form that comes as its first evolution Rockruff. Simply select the Mystery Gift option in the continue game screen once you establish an internet connection.
The game has developed from the Sun and Moon versions to revisit the same Alola Region, but with expansions in Ultra Sun and Moon.Make sure to turn on your ‘key item’ Exp. Share. It makes fast work of training, as all six Pokémon in your party can earn experience points from battles.