Pokémon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon Review

by Dylan Siegler

When Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were first announced, there was some confusion as to what exactly they were going to be. Were they going to be sequels to Sun and Moon, the way Black 2 and White 2 were to Black and White? Were they going to act like the third, definitive version of the Generation, a la CrystalEmerald and Platinum, but split across two games? Were they just going to be re-tellings of the story in Sun and Moon? If so, why? These questions became even more pressing when it was announced that there is a mainline Pokémon game being developed for the Switch. We already have Sun and Moon, so what’s the point of returning to the Alola region? Especially since we’ll have a new game on the Switch soon anyway.

As it turns out, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are intended to not only be re-tellings of the story from Sun and Moon, but they are meant to basically be a culmination of purely handheld Pokémon games in general, seeing as how Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are the last main series Pokémon games that will be released on the 3DS and we know that the next main series game(s) is/are slated for release on the Switch. So are Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon successful? Do they provide a good reason to return to the Alola region as well as revisiting all the best things the Pokémon series has had to offer over the years?

There are actually more differences between Sun/Moon and Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon than you will notice at first.

It’s kind of tough judging Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon on their own because they are so similar to Sun and Moon in many ways. Yeah, there are changes here and there, with most of them occurring near the end of the games’ story or in the post-game, but if you played Sun or Moon, it’s going to feel like you’re playing the same game for a good chunk of these games. That’s not necessarily a bad thing since the original Sun and Moon were great, but it can leave you wondering why you just spent $40 on a game that feels so similar to a game you already have.

Well, there are a few reasons why you might. For one thing, you may be looking to “catch ’em all,” in which case you would need version exclusives not available in the game you have. With the release of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, you can get the version opposite of the one you got when Sun and Moon came out to get the other version exclusives and not have to re-play literally the same game. But version exclusives aside, there are actually more differences between Sun/Moon and Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon than you will notice at first.

Granted, it takes a while to get to the point in the game where a lot of the major changes start coming in. There are more minor changes in the meantime, but you probably won’t start feeling like you’re playing an entirely different game until you’ve nearly reached the end of the story. So let’s get into some of the things that make these games different from their predecessors.

For one thing, there are a lot of random plot points that are slightly changed for no real reason. The way you meet your starter Pokémon is different than in Sun and Moon, but it’s not like this change is a super interesting new way to meet your starter or anything, and it’s not like the way you met your starter in the original games needed to be changed, either. There are kind of a lot of small moments like that, where you’ll notice that something is just barely different from in Sun and Moon, but you don’t really care because you weren’t particularly attached to the way it was presented in Sun and Moon, but you don’t feel any more attached to the way they are presented in these games either. I guess maybe the writers were aware that most of the changes don’t occur until well into the game, so they wanted to assure the player that they were in fact playing a different game by changing random, insignificant things early in the game.

For the most part, I didn’t really care one way or the other about these small changes, but there were a few times when I did. For example, the way you meet Team Skull in these games is different than in the originals. Personally, I really liked the way Team Skull was introduced in Sun and Moon; it was hilarious to see them flailing their arms about, talking “hard,” trying to come off as tough and intimidating while Ilima just completely ignores them because he knows that they’re actually no real threat. There’s been the joke in the Pokémon community for a while now about the villains in these games being incompetent, seeing as how they always seem to be thwarted by eleven-year-olds, but Team Skull brought it to a whole new level as soon as you met them and they were immediately one of my favorite villain teams in Pokémon. But for some reason, this interaction was completely changed in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon to one that I thought wasn’t nearly as good. That made me kind of sad.

Okay, SPOILER time. If you haven’t played the games yet and don’t want the story spoiled, maybe skip this paragraph. It seems almost ridiculous to talk about the stories in Pokémon games in any kind of emotional capacity, but ever since around Generation V, I’ve found that Pokémon games have started telling actually good stories that aren’t just reasons to make animals fight each other, but rather have characters with motives that make sense and real character development, making it possible to get emotionally invested in the characters and stories. As someone who in his adult life has started appreciating games with good stories, such as The Last of UsThe Walking Dead and Undertale, I love that my favorite childhood game franchise has started heading in this direction as well. But in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, I kind of feel like the series took a step backward. One of the defining parts of Sun and Moon was the character Lillie, who the player travels with and sees develop and grow from being a timid, powerless girl into a confident character willing to take on her fears and even stand up to her abusive mother (it’s never described as such, but yeah, there’s straight up abuse via child neglect and verbal assault in these games). In addition to her own character growth, the player also grows closer to Lillie through a series of plot points and cutscenes that make you care for her character. But for some reason, they decided to cut a lot of this in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. The scene where you hide from the rain together on Exeggutor Island? Gone. The reason? You fight some Pinsirs instead. The scene where you and Lillie sneak off together to meet Tapu Koko during the celebration of your Championship? Gone. The reason? No real reason. Even the emotional scene where Lillie leaves for Kanto at the end? Gone. The reason? Again, there isn’t really a necessary reason. Sure, Lillie becomes a trainer you can partner with at the Battle Tree in the post-game and she helps you out when battling Team Rainbow Rocket (more on this later), but those don’t exactly sufficiently replace a scene that I felt was one of the defining moments of the original Sun and Moon. There are plenty of other characters to team up with at the Battle Tree and you could have just as easily taken on Team Rainbow Rocket with a different character healing your Pokémon between battles instead of Lillie. Point is, it seemed like the emotional aspect of the games’ story suffered due to some of the unnecessary changes that were made from the original Sun and Moon and that kind of sucks.

(For those avoiding spoilers: These games made some other changes to the games’ stories that I think were changed for the worse, and that makes me sad.)

This is by far the largest collection of Legendaries that you’ll find in a main series Pokémon game.

We’ll get back to more story changes in a bit, but in the meantime, let’s discuss some of the other changes made in these games before we get to the story changes at the end of the game. One of the earliest changes that you’ll notice in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is the inclusion of Totem Stickers. In a way, these kind of replace the Zygarde cells from Sun and Moon, since they both act very similarly. Personally, I prefer the Totem Stickers. They’re easier to find (due largely to the fact that there were several Zygarde cells that could only be found at certain times of the day, which sucks), they’re more rewarding (rewarding the player every 20 Stickers or so, instead of just at 10, 50 and 100, as was the case with Zygarde cells) and they’re lower stakes, in case the player doesn’t feel like finding them all. You receive Totem Pokémon for collecting Totem Stickers, which is cool, but in no way necessary, so you don’t feel super obligated to find all the Stickers. While finding all the Zygarde cells technically isn’t necessary either, it feels like there’s much more pressure to do so since a Legendary Pokémon is at stake instead of larger versions of random Pokémon. Also, finding all the Zygarde cells just isn’t that worth it. Even if you have all 100 cells and cores, Zygarde will only achieve its Perfect Form when its health falls below 50%. In the meantime, it’s still just at its 50% stage. But your Zygarde has already been at its 50% form since you found 50 cells and cores. Basically, if you collected all 100 cells and cores, you just went way out of your way to do something that’s only rewarding sometimes, whereas if you receive a Totem Ribombee or Kommo-o, depending on which version you’re playing, after collecting 100 Totem Stickers, you have that Totem Pokémon forever and it’s not going to fluctuate in power or form for any reason. Plus, Zygarde is still catchable in the post-game of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon without having to worry about finding all the cells and cores. So I thought this change was an improvement.


There are also a couple of minigames added to Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon that weren’t present in Sun and Moon. One of these is the Mantine Surf minigame, which I like. It’s a fun break from the normal gameplay and rewards you on your performance, but is also low stakes. If you mess up, it’s not a big deal; maybe you earn 4BP instead of 8. I don’t partake of this minigame a whole lot, since it’s easier to just fly from island to island instead of surfing, but it’s fun and I like it. The Ultra Warp Ride minigame on the other hand… is pretty frustrating. In fact, this minigame is probably my biggest problem with these games. One of my issues is the gyroscopic controls, which are super unintuitive and annoying, because you need to tilt the 3DS to move, which hinders your ability to see what’s happening since you’re constantly looking at the screen on an angle in a minigame that already has difficult-to-maneuver-through depth perception. Luckily, I eventually learned that the gyroscopic controls can be turned off, which makes the game a little more bearable, but it’s still not great.

As I just stated, the depth perception in this minigame is pretty bad. It’s hard to really get an idea of where everything is. Sometimes you’ll swear that you ran right into something, but then you’ll just pass right through it. Other times, it’ll look like you’re way out of the way of an obstacle, only to discover you apparently flew straight into it. This is made even worse by the fact that there are a lot of twists and turns in Ultra Space, which messes with your perception of it even more. Sometimes you’ll see an Ultra Wormhole coming up on your right, but you don’t want to go into that Wormhole, so you move all the way to the left, only to find out that Ultra Space is curving and that that Wormhole was actually on the left, where you now are, so you accidentally run right into it. And unlike in the Mantine Surf minigame, where if you run into an obstacle you can just climb back on Mantine and try again, there is very little room for error in the Ultra Warp Ride minigame. If you accidentally fly into the wrong Wormhole, you have to start all over again. Aside from Wormholes, you can also run into orange spheres that speed you up or electric balls that slow you down and both suck. Generally, you want to be moving fast, because the slower you’re moving, the easier it will be for you to accidentally get sucked into a Wormhole that you’re not aiming for. So you want to collect as many orange spheres as possible to keep moving fast, but moving fast provides its own problems. Sometimes you’ll be moving so fast that, especially in areas where Ultra Space is curving, you won’t have much time to react to the obstacles that suddenly appear. If you’re moving really fast, you’ll probably accidentally run into a Wormhole you didn’t want to enter, or fly right into that enormous cluster of electric balls, reducing your speed to a crawl so you’ll automatically get sucked into the next Wormhole that shows up. But you’re always steadily slowing down, so you want to keep getting the orange spheres so you don’t slow down too much and get sucked into a Wormhole you don’t want anyway. It’s a very frustrating minigame.

I happen to like the Mantine Surf minigame, but if I didn’t, I could just completely avoid it if I wanted to and just stick to challenging the Battle Tree to collect BP, if I even wanted BP. But the Ultra Warp Ride minigame isn’t quite as optional. Sure, it’s not necessary to do to get through the main story or anything (except one time), but doing this minigame is the only way to find the vast majority of Legendary Pokémon in the game. One of the cool things about Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is the sheer number of Legendary Pokémon available in it. This is by far the largest collection of Legendaries that you’ll find in a main series Pokémon game. While it’s awesome to be able to encounter and catch so many Legendaries, the process by which you are able to leaves something to be desired. I’m not usually one to complain about newer Pokémon games and go on about how much greater I think the old ones are or anything, since I actually think that for the most part the newer games are pretty good about correcting or fixing things that didn’t work as well in the older games, but there is one thing in particular that I miss. Back in the day, each Legendary had its own dungeon or area or puzzle or something. It made getting each Legendary a mission unto itself. Want Mewtwo? You have to navigate through Cerulean Cave first. The shift away from this seems to have started in Generation VI and really takes precedence here in Generation VII.

In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, you can interact with and attempt to catch Solgaleo or Lunala, depending on your version, by just walking up to it on Mahalo Trail. Not exactly its own dungeon. Necrozma can be caught in Mount Lanakila, but that’s not its own area because you have to get through that area anyways to get to the Pokémon League. In the post-game, you can find Zygarde in Resolution Cave, which is kind of the only example of a Legendary having their own area in these games, even though Resolution Cave isn’t all that impressive or anything. Then there are tons upon tons of other Legendaries, but you find all of them by having to be good at the crappy Ultra Warp Ride minigame. Not only does it suck that you have to partake of this infuriating minigame to catch most of the Legendaries in the game, but it also kind of strips all of these Legendaries of their individuality and makes them not special. In Emerald, for example, finding Rayquaza was a big deal because you had to scale the Sky Pillar. This was an area in the game that existed solely because it was an epic gateway to Rayquaza and only Rayquaza. To reach each of the Regis (Regirock, Regice and Registeel), you had to solve convoluted puzzles that differed depending on which specific Regi you were going after at the time. Getting to and interacting with each individual Legendary was its own event and it made finally catching each Legendary that much more special. But in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, there are a million Legendaries that you find in the same way, so it doesn’t feel special anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still happy that I get the opportunity to catch all these Legendaries, I just wish that catching these Legendaries felt important, rather than just feeling like a chore because I’m playing a bad minigame with the goal of just crossing names off a list, rather than going on a unique adventure for each one.

Another difference between these games and Sun and Moon is that some of the Captains’ Trials are different. Specifically, Mallow’s and Sophocles’s Trials are different and Mina actually has a Trial, whereas she didn’t in Sun and Moon. While I didn’t have any problems with Mallow’s or Sophocles’s original Trials, I think I did like their new Trials in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon more, and I liked how Mina finally has a Trial and that it acts as a culmination of your Island Challenge. So these differences are a plus. There’s also the introduction of the Ultra Recon Squad in these games, who are interesting, but don’t do a whole lot. There are some new Pokémon-specific Z-Moves, which are neat. There are a few new Pokémon, but nothing especially spectacular or anything. There’s also the inclusion of the Battle Agency, which I personally don’t really care about since I prefer using my own Pokémon to renting other, random ones, but that option is there for people who do like that format, so that’s cool, I guess. There are also a few new locations, like Pikachu Valley and the various Mantine Surf beaches, but once again, they’re nothing game-changing or anything.


Okay, we’re heading back into SPOILER territory now to discuss the endgame and post-game, so if you want to avoid spoilers, skip ahead to “The Verdict.” The biggest differences from Sun and Moon begin to occur when you reach the Altar of the Sunne/Moone, which you will reach after you’ve already completed three of the four Grand Trials in your Island Challenge. It took me about 25 hours to get to this point. Granted, I tend to play Pokémon games at a slower pace than most people, but still; if you’re looking for an adventure that really differs from Sun and Moon, don’t expect to find it until you’re already about 20 or 25 hours into the game and about 5/6 through the game’s story (based on the fact that I beat the main story at about 30 hours in).

This battle was a hell of a way to make Necrozma feel awesome and I couldn’t wait to eventually get my hands on it.

The deviation from Sun and Moon really starts when Nebby the Cosmeom evolves into Solgaleo or Lunala after the player and Lillie play the Sun and Moon Flutes. In Sun and Moon, Solgaleo/Lunala will take the player through Ultra Space to find Lillie’s abusive mother, battle her and take her back to your dimension. Things are much different in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Here, almost immediately after Cosmeom evolves, an Ultra Wormhole will open up and Necrozma will appear to steal Alola’s light. Solgaleo/Lunala will attempt to subdue Necrozma, but will fail and be absorbed by Necrozma, at which point Necrozma will become Dusk Mane or Dawn Wings Necrozma. Now you have to battle Necrozma, which isn’t all that difficult considering it’s only on level 50, which isn’t terribly low for this point in the game, but isn’t terribly high either. Plus, you can’t catch it right now, so you don’t have to worry about that; you just have to pummel it into submission. Once you have defeated Necrozma, it retreats back into the Ultra Wormhole to go back to Ultra Megalopolis, an alternate world where Necrozma has already stolen all the light. Ultra Megalopolis isn’t very impressive itself, since there’s really nothing to do but walk forward into Megalo Tower and then from there just keep walking until you reach Necrozma at the top of the Tower. However, the battle that awaits you at the top of the Tower is pretty cool.

By this point, Necrozma has attained its Ultra form. Ultra Necrozma is one of the strongest Pokémon in the game, and it shows in this fight. As I prepared to battle Necrozma again, I wasn’t expecting much. I had just defeated it pretty easily back in my home dimension. Plus, it’s just one Pokémon. How bad could it be? Turns out, pretty bad. First of all, Necrozma has made a ten-level jump in the no time since our last battle with it. At level 60, it is definitely the highest level Pokémon you’ve fought at this point in the game. Chances are, it’s going to out-level most, if not all, of your Pokémon. Add to this its incredibly high stats, particularly in Attack and Special Attack, plus its diverse moveset that ensures it will get super effective hits on most Types. Oh, and it also has the ability Neuroforce, which makes those super effective moves even stronger. And to top it all off, Ultra Necrozma is surrounded by an aura that increases its already incredibly high stats even more. Ultra Necrozma is a killing machine. It’s likely to be faster than all your Pokémon and will probably one-shot most of them as well. You might not even get a single hit in before this thing takes out your entire party. Remember how I said earlier that I like it when these games are able to make Legendary Pokémon feel special in some way? Well, this battle was a hell of a way to make Necrozma feel awesome and I couldn’t wait to eventually get my hands on it. It was one of only two times in the game where I lost a battle (the other was during Lana’s Trial because I was expecting a Totem Wishiwashi instead of the Totem Araquanid that I had to fight, so my Grass-Type was useless and the rest of my team just happened to be weak against either Water or Bug, so I had a rough time with that one, but that’s irrelevant).

After this epic encounter with Necrozma, you will return to your home dimension where you will participate in Mina’s new Trial that I mentioned earlier and then battle Hapu in her Grand Trial and finish your Island Challenge. There are a few more differences between here and the end of the game. After you battle Gladion at the foot of Mount Lanakila, he’ll tell you that you can find Lillie at Mahalo Trail. If you choose to go to Mahalo Trail, you’ll find that this is where you can catch Solgaleo or Lunala in these games. Then, as mentioned earlier, you’ll find and be able to catch Necrozma while going through Mount Lanakila. In these games, you’ll have to option to fuse Necrozma with Solgaleo or Lunala, making Dusk Mane Necrozma or Dawn Wings Necrozma. You’ll also be able to make Dusk Mane or Dawn Wings Necrozma use Ultra Burst in battle to make it change into Ultra Necrozma and decimate everything in your way, which is a feeling I enjoy. Upon reaching the Pokémon League, you’ll find that the Elite Four is a little different in these games, with Molayne replacing Hala as a member. You can battle Hala with his strong team anyway in the post-game, so being able to fight a strong Molayne here is a pretty cool addition.

Now here’s another change I was kind of disappointed by. In both Sun/Moon and Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, the Alolan Pokémon League is new, so there isn’t a Champion yet, but you still have to fight one more strong trainer after the Elite Four before taking the title for yourself. In Sun and Moon, you had to battle Professor Kukui. I loved this. The only other time I can recall battling one of the professors in a Pokémon game is Professor Sycamore in X and Y, but he was weak, so it was whatever. But here, we finally battle a professor who has a full team made up of strong Pokémon and it was just kind of a cool twist we hadn’t really seen in any previous games. Maybe it’s just because I remember hearing rumors on the playground as a kid about being able to battle Professor Oak in Red and Blue, which, of course, turned out to be false, but when I was playing Sun and Moon and I had to beat Professor Kukui to become the Champion, I thought it was pretty cool. Unfortunately, in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, you battle Hau to attain the title of Champion instead.

This was kind of a let-down for a couple of reasons. One, like I just said, battling a professor to become the Champion is something that hadn’t been done before and it was cool, whereas battling your rival to become Champion is something that has been done before. In fact, it was the first thing that was done. And it was done better the first time. Also, it just seems to make more sense to me that you’d have to battle Kukui to become the first Champion of the Alola region. He’s the one who put the Alolan Pokémon League together, after all. Hau is just some kid. I guess the idea is that Hau was literally right on my tail and defeated the Elite Four himself at almost the same time that I did, so instead of me becoming Champion for beating them first, the two of us have to battle to determine who becomes Champion, but I don’t know, that seems kind of unprofessional or something. Since I beat the Elite Four first, shouldn’t I just be named Champion and then Hau can try to challenge my title? I mean, that’s basically what happened in the first Generation games, right? Except it was reversed. My rival beat the Elite Four (and whoever was Champion at the time, I guess) as I was literally on his tail, beating each member of the Elite Four pretty much just as he finished defeating them. I mean, that’s kind of what players were led to believe; both the player character and rival entered Victory Road at pretty much the same time, after all, so my rival couldn’t have been that much ahead of me when battling the Elite Four. But when he beat the Elite Four, it’s not like anyone stopped him and was like, “Wait a minute, I know you just beat the Elite Four and everything, but you’re still not the Champion because there’s this other kid who’s about to beat the Elite Four too, so we’re gonna have you battle him and then whoever wins gets to be Champion.” No, he was just named Champion, even if it was just for a few minutes before I took the throne from him. So how come when our positions are reversed in Alola (I beat the Elite Four first and my rival is soon to follow), I have to wait and battle him before becoming Champion instead of just being the Champion and then having him challenge me for the title? I know, it’s a different region so there are probably different rules, plus the battle with Hau was to determine who’d be the first Champion of Alola, whereas there was probably a Champion of Kanto before my rival in the first Generation games, but I don’t know. It just seemed weird. I liked battling Kukui more.


Anyway, so you become Champion. The post-game in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is drastically different from the post-game in Sun and Moon; in fact this is probably the feature that distinguishes these new games from their predecessors the most. In Sun and Moon, you work for the International Police along with Detective Looker, who has appeared in previous games, to track down and catch Ultra Beasts. While I like the character of Looker a lot (the Looker Bureau post-game in X and Y was probably my favorite part of those games, and I loved those games), this post-game mission got pretty tedious pretty quickly. I didn’t hate it or anything, but ultimately, you’re kind of doing the same thing over and over. I did like seeing how Looker and Anabel interacted with Nanu and everything, as it added to the lore a little bit, so that was neat. But overall, I definitely prefer the post-game we get in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

The post-game in the new games start off with receiving a mission from the Ultra Recon Squad to catch some Ultra Beasts that have appeared on Poni Island. This is similar to the International Police post-game in Sun and Moon, but doesn’t last nearly as long, so it doesn’t have enough time to become tedious. After this, Episode Team RR begins, and I really enjoyed this. It starts off with having to go to Festival Plaza and battling a Team Rainbow Rocket grunt at the Battle Agency, which was kind of annoying since, as I stated earlier, I like just being able to use my own Pokémon instead of borrowing other random ones, but it was only one battle, so it wasn’t too bad. After this, however, you watch the news and discover that Aether Paradise has been taken over by Team Rainbow Rocket, so it is up to you, as the Champion of Alola, to kick them out.

The post-game in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is drastically different from the post-game in Sun and Moon.

The premise of Episode Team RR is that, due to the dimensional tearing caused by Ultra Wormholes, all the leaders of all the evil teams from past Pokémon games were able to all meet and team up in one, super evil team. Additionally, each of these evil leaders comes from a dimension where the player character didn’t exist, so they’ve all been successful in achieving their evil schemes. Maxie was able to expand the world’s land in his dimension, Archie expanded the sea in his dimension, Lysandre killed everyone who wasn’t in Team Flare in his dimension, etc. And now all of these accomplished evil masterminds have come together to take over your dimension. It’s a really cool concept. My problem with this idea heading into it, however, is how Game Freak would be able to justify having Team Rainbow Rocket exist as a threat only in a brief, post-game episode rather than its own full game. This is explained very simply but in a way that totally makes sense and is satisfying. Simply put, all these evil leaders have different evil ideas for the world. Sure they teamed up initially here, but do you really think that Maxie, who wants to eliminate the sea to make room for more land, and Archie who wants to eliminate the land to make room for the sea, are really going to be able to see eye-to-eye long enough to find some kind of common evil goal? This concept wouldn’t be able to be its own game because there would be so much in-fighting between all the leaders that they wouldn’t get anything done, start turning on each other and ultimately disband, all going back to their original teams and regions anyway. So it makes sense that Team Rainbow Rocket would only be able to exist briefly, at the beginning of its inception before being taken out by a heroic player character. It also makes sense that Team Rainbow Rocket would only be able to exist in the post-game of Generation VII games specifically, since these games deal so much with alternate dimensions and such, so each of these leaders are able to all come from the different games that they’re from to meet up here.

So it’s good in concept, but is it good in execution? Well, yes. We already established that Team Rainbow Rocket’s existence has to be pretty brief or else it will implode on itself, so given that, I think what we got was perfect. There are plenty of cool puzzles and grunt battles in Team Rainbow Rocket’s castle you have to get through while listening to a cool, new remix of the original Team Rocket hideout music from Red and Blue before fighting each leader. And the leader battles don’t disappoint either. Each of them have strong teams that resemble the ones they had in their original games, but also with the Legendary Pokémon they were after in their own universes. While nothing was too much of a challenge for my over-leveled Ultra Necrozma, I liked all these battles and thought that the whole Team RR post-game story was well executed. We’re also left with a monologue from Giovanni implying that he’ll be back, so that’s interesting…

The Verdict

Despite the many improvements that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon make on Sun and Moon, I have a hard time calling them “definitive” versions of Generation VII or the Alola region or anything like that. Despite the improvements these games make, there were also plenty of things that, as I’ve stated, changed for the worse, or things that were changed for no real reason, but that didn’t really impact me one way or the other. Due to this, it’s hard for me to say that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are better than Sun and Moon the way I’d say Emerald is better than Ruby and Sapphire, or Platinum is better than Diamond and Pearl. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are just different experiences than Sun and Moon. Some things are better, some things are worse and some things are just different. So I don’t think that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon can replace Sun and Moon, but rather they kind of just sit beside them. I don’t know that I’d recommend one set of games over the other; instead, I’m just kind of glad that I played both of them. In our review of Sun and Moon, we rated them 4.5 stars. While I was not the person who wrote that review, I agree with that assessment. I loved those games. And I love these games. It’s hard not to, since they’re largely the same games. When I was thinking of what score I’d give these games, I kind of used 4.5 as a starting point and had it fluctuate as I thought of the various new positives and negatives, but ultimately decided that it all kind of evened out and I ended up with 4.5 again. In conclusion, if you’re someone who has yet to experience the seventh Generation of Pokémon games, I’d definitely recommend picking these ones up, and if you’re someone who already played and enjoyed Sun and Moon, I’d probably recommend playing these ones too, anyway.

- This article was updated on March 7th, 2018


Pokemon Ultra Sun & Moon

  • Score: 4.5 / 5
  • Available On: Nintendo 3DS
  • Published By:
  • Developed By: Game Freak
  • Genre: RPG
  • US Release Date: November 17th, 2017
  • Reviewed On: Nintendo 3DS
  • Quote: "Some things are better, some things are worse and some things are just different. So I don’t think that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon can replace Sun and Moon, but rather they kind of just sit beside them. I don’t know that I’d recommend one set of games over the other; instead, I’m just kind of glad that I played both of them."
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