An Upgraded Pokemon Vacation

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“Pokémon Sun and Moon” was released last year, and was well received and loved for mixing up the formula of the Pokémon game franchise. However, many fans and critics still had their issues with the games. The developers at Gamefreak quickly began work on another game that would enhance “Sun and Moon” and make it more enjoyable to all players. “Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon” was released Nov. 27 for the Nintendo 3DS, and Pokémon fans were hyped to see what the two new games had in store.

The main story isn’t very different from the original “Sun and Moon.” The player’s 11-year-old character has moved and arrived in the Alolan region, a still-Hawaiian themed area. The player has a quick tutorial on how to catch Pokémon and most of the Pokémon basics like in every other game, and is then sent on a journey to beat the Pokémon trials on the different islands. The player runs into a villainous team called Team Skull, and a group of charitable individuals called the Aether Foundation. When the player meets a girl named Ellie and her special Pokémon, Nebby, they go on adventures with the player’s new town friend/rival Hau.

While this story borders the same lines as the last two games, “Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon” has some new twists and story elements added in to make it slightly new and less predictable than the story from the last games.

One great thing about the game is how aesthetically pleasing it to play it. While “Pokémon Sun and Moon” was pretty and colorful, these versions have better-detailed areas and a more appealing UI (menu). There is also more detail in dialogue when interacting with other characters in the game than there was in its predecessor.

The games Alolan trials are much better from the ones in the last games, with much better puzzles to solve and new trial Pokémon that put up more of a challenge for the player. However, the regular trainers could use more work as most only had one to four Pokémon on their team instead of the six that a normal trainer should have.

The games have continued with the fan-favorite gameplay of using Pokémon to get around the Alolan region, adding a new type for getting across water called Mantine Surf. It is essentially riding on the back of a Mantine like a surfboard and going over waves for a short amount of time. By pressing certain buttons, the player can rack up points, which can then be used to buy items at the surf shop. Speaking of Pokémon, there aren’t many new Pokémon that have been added to “Ultra Sun and Moon,” though there are some new ultra-beasts.

Another new addition is the dimensional pockets and wormholes the player can run through and catch specific and even legendary Pokémon. In the postgame, there are a few new things that players can do, as well; they can visit the team rainbow rocket and take on leaders from villainous teams in past games. They can also look for totem stickers that, when obtaining enough, allow the player to have a chance at capturing a totem Pokémon.

There are still some issues with this game that many fans wish Gamefreak could have taken time to improve on. Once again, the story is still pretty much the same, which is a shame because most fans were excited for a new story in the Alolan region. Another issue is how easy the games still are. Some Alolan trials, if the player has grinded enough, can be a breeze to get through and can be finished within a few minutes. And finally, while the team did improve on the writing and dialogue for the characters found in the region, the main characters and villains dialogue is still very stiff and mediocre at best.

“Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon” has a lot of cool and interesting things to keep a player busy and coming back to the game, but so did the first “Sun and Moon” games. If you haven’t played “Pokémon Sun and Moon” or are a Pokémon fan that wanted more from the last games, then this game is recommended for you.

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