Friday, 30 March 2018

REVIEW: Pokémon Ultra Sun/Moon (3DS)

Originally written for a publication on February 2nd 2018, never published

Developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo, Ultra Sun/Moon are the latest pair of Pokémon games to hit the Nintendo 3DS. Rather than being brand new standalone titles, they’re enhanced versions of Pokémon Sun/Moon released back in late 2016 and they feature a modified storyline, additional features and new characters and creatures.

You play as an 11-year-old child who has moved to Melemele Island with their parents. Like Sun/Moon, you travel the various islands of the Alola region to complete trials and challenges in order to be crowned the League Champion. Your journey isn’t always easy though, as you’re specifically being targeted by various enemy teams known as Team Skull, the Aether Foundation and the Ultra Recon Squad as they try attempt to wreak havoc.

There’s also a fleshed-out post-game storyline, which feels even more enjoyable than the main at points. It sees you at arms with Team Rainbow Rocket as they cause chaos for the region and carries a very nostalgic feeling, as several characters from previous games make a reappearance. The post-game content is almost the only sole reason to purchase Ultra Sun/Moon if you’ve already played the previous games though, since everything else is pretty much the same, with a handful of small exceptions.

 Combat doesn’t differ at all from Sun/Moon so if you loved the improvements they brought to the series — such as adding Pokéball access to the touchscreen, Z-Moves and the “care” system, where you can cure status ailments after battle — then you’ll be happy. Ultra Sun/Moon did add features in other areas though, such as the inclusion of a quicksave function, additional side quests and a handful of mini games: Manatine Surf, Ultra Warp Ride and Alola Photo Club.

Ultra Warp ride is by far the best of the three, allowing the player to access Ultra Wormholes in order to capture rare and Legendary Pokémon unable to be found anywhere else. The other two are fun but nothing exceptional. The Rotom Pokédex has also been upgraded, giving the ability to use Z-Moves twice per battle and allowing the player to use XP and money boosts.

 If you’re new to the Sun/Moon series or the Pokémon games in general then Ultra Sun/Moon is more than worth the investment as they are definitely the best in the series to date by far. The only faults are but small niggles, such as frame rate drops at times when battles get busy and the fact that it’s a questionable purchase if you’ve already completed Sun/Moon, although if you’re willing to plow through the main storyline to unlock the post-game content then it’s more than worth it.

 Pokémon Ultra Sun/Moon are available for Nintendo 3DS now.

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