Like many Pokemon fans, I was excited, but also a little confused about Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. The games looked cool, featuring some updates to last year’s great Sun and Moon titles. But it was never quite clear what the games were. Were they sequels, like Black 2 & White 2, or were they the much rumored third title in the generation, like Pokemon Crystal. Now that we have them in hand it’s clear that they’re sort of a weird mix of the two and I’m left wondering just who are these games even made for?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they are bad games. I haven’t played enough to do a review, so that’s not what this is at all. As it stands, the games have reviewed well with critics, but fans are starting to really turn against Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, and having played it a bit it is quite clear why.
My frustration really hit a peak when Professor Kukui took me aside and taught me how to catch a Pokemon
I put dozens of hours into Sun and Moon and was hoping that these Ultra releases would continue my love of the series. What I found upon booting the games up was almost the exact same game. Sure, there have been changes here and there, many for the better. It’s nice that you just get your starter right away, but why are there so many custscenes showing the same story elements. And for God’s sake, why are they not skippable?
My frustration really hit a peak when Professor Kukui took me aside and taught me, via long, unskippable dialogue, how to catch a Pokemon. This tutorial was superfluous in the original Sun and Moon, but in Ultra Sun and Moon it is just downright insulting. And the fact that it seems so easy to get around this, by just having a quick option of “do you need to be told this?” before it starts, just adds to the anger felt by players.
The game then continues with only minor edits here and there, but this opening really cemented that question in my mind of who Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were made for. It’s clearly not the millions of players who bought Sun and Moon, because they would want a more streamlined and different experience. They don’t need to be told how to catch a Pokemon, and they don’t need to watch the same cutscenes as before. So are they made for new players?
That seems wrong as well, since anyone who was remotely interested in Pokemon would have surely picked up Sun and Moon already, right? Pokemon Sun and Moon sold about 15 million units, making them one of 3DS’s biggest hits. Who is out there that didn’t buy those games and is ready to plunk the same amount of money down on these new titles?
Now, the games do have vastly different endgames and there’s a lot of cool changes, such as the ability to catch every previous Legendary Pokemon. So that adds evidence to the idea that these are like previous Pokemon games that were meant to add content for players of the first games. The problem is that all of these big changes and additions are locked behind the story content that players already went through. Are there changes along the way? Yes, but they are few and far between, making it tough to get through if you played Sun and Moon over the last year.
The bottom line is that this feels like something that should have been DLC, or at least should have had that option. Instead of marking these with the importance of a full fledged Pokemon release, why not combine them into one title, instead of two separate ones, make them valuable by offering unique Pokemon, and give players the option to skip the repetitive content.
It would also be nice to have a separate DLC form of the game that just tacks onto an already purchased copy of Sun or Moon, altering them to add the new content. What I’m saying is, pretty much anything but the strategy that The Pokemon Company and Game Freak took would make more sense and give a better indicator for who this game was made for. If it’s meant for the die hard Pokemon fan then they already own Sun or Moon and don’t need to repeat that experience. If they’re a brand new customer then they will likely be waiting for the promised Switch game.