Welcome back to Alola region. I think you’ll enjoy your stay.
I reviewed and enjoyed my time with Pokémon Sun and Moon. I liked the new tropical island region and all the things that went along with it. The new Pokémon to capture, the new devastating Z-powers, all felt fresh while the story was expanded on and kept the overall game flowing very well. Now, a year later, we get Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. These may seem like just overhauled versions of the first games, and you would be right, but the Ultra versions of Sun and Moon are more than just a few added Pokémon, it has some revamped story beats that actually add to the game earlier on.
For reference, I would highly suggest taking a look at my review of the original Sun and Moon here. I will be focusing on the new things to this version of the game.
Price I’d pay: $39.99
Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon starts just like the original game. Players take control of an 11 year-old Pokémon trainer who ventures out into the islands of the Alola region to take on the island challenges to become the Pokémon master. Nothing too new here, it’s the minor details that really show the game up. Players run into a new group very early in the beginning called the Ultra Recon Squad, who are some strange people who may or may not be aliens. Keep in mind, a lot of this new content is still closer to end game, but it was nice to see that it was at least introduced early on to keep players invested in wanting to see what all is new.
Of course, the game features new Pokémon not featured in the original versions, and some of the enemies I faced were different than what they were before. It seemed like every time I ran into something that felt familiar, there was a slight difference in it. It was a breath of fresh air for me. I was expecting to have to play this game all the way through again just to see the new content, but Gamefreak has done a very good job with drip feeding new content to the player throughout the game.
There are new mini-games to play that are legitimately fun to do. I really liked the mantine surfing from one island to the next. It gave me something fun to do as I traveled around. There’s a new photo mode that allows players to take photos with their Pokémon doing different poses. These shots can then be edited with sticks and new backgrounds. Small things like this are seen early in the game and stay with it throughout.
Story-wise, it remains pretty much the same with a few alterations. Players will be going to the same locations, doing the same island challenges, and seeing the same sights, but with a few changes here and there. It still feels familiar, and most people who played the original Sun and Moon will know what they are doing from the get-go.
If there was one issue that I had hoped they would have fixed from the first versions of the game, it would have been the performance. I encountered a lot of slowdown in my first play through of Sun and Moon, and unfortunately, it is still here in Ultra.
There was already a lot to see and do in the original games, and in Ultra, there is even more. It’s nice to see, especially when this game can last close to 50 hours if players are inclined to do almost everything. It’s still a very enjoyable game that kept me interested throughout. The bigger question is, do players want to come back for a second time within a year to see the new content?
Well, to answer that, it really all depends on the person. It’s still a fun Pokémon game, and the Pokémon formula has been tried and true for years as a very competent RPG. Players that have exhausted the first versions of this game can still find some new things to see and do even early on in the story, and players that skipped out on the first games can most certainly have a great time catching them all. I would suggest picking it up either way. It’s still a great game and with this version, there enough new to keep things fresh for all the players.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.