Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon Offers Improved Pacing And Interactions

By Jenni . November 24, 2017 . 12:00pm

pokemon move

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon have arrived. These installments are essentially updates of last year’s Pokémon Sun and Moon. Some things have changed. Most things are the same. Essentially, you are still a young person who has just moved to the Alola region with your mother and begun your coming of age story. You get the chance to defy the odds and become a Pokémon master. However, there are some rather notable story-elements to this installment that improve the overall quality of the game. Things feel a bit quicker this time around, making sure important things happen with fewer delays, and we get to learn more about different characters.


The first thing I noticed is how Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon picks up the pace. While the general introduction is not too dissimilar from the original Pokémon Sun and Moon’s start, there is less downtime. Almost immediately after leaving your house, you get Litten, Popplio, or Rowlet as your starter. Lillie and Hau show up sooner, and Lillie engages in more interactions that paint her as a more active assistant than before. You are more quickly ushers into battle, improving the pacing. And almost immediately after reaching Hau’oli City, Ilima is putting you on the path to complete the first trial.



There is also more of a sense of gravity in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. In the original game, it took a while before the antagonists were really established. Yes, we saw Team Skull skulking around, but they weren’t a menace on the same level as a Team Rocket or Team Aqua. Here, we see hints at a greater destiny and larger storyline almost immediately. Foreshadowing regarding Necrozma’s influence comes almost immediately, due to the appearance of Phyco and Soliera early on in Pokémon Ultra Moon and a brief eclipse after visiting Professor Kukui’s lab for the first time.


Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon really focuses more on Lillie than ever before. In the original Pokémon Sun and Moon, we saw her come into her own just as the game was coming to a close. Her character development is sped up here, for the better. Instead of her only pulling her hair back and becoming a stronger character after confronting the person who left her feeling inadequate for so long, we see the influence of our avatar and her other friends on her sooner. Her backbone becomes sturdier faster, making the entire adventure more interesting.


Lillie is not the only character getting more time to shine. Even the Rotom Dex gets more attention. When you happen upon a new Pokémon, it lets you know. The character now speaks to you in your free time. Usually, it is small talk. How do you feel about this concept or event? Are you excited to do something? Paying attention and actually responding is a good idea. Rotom will give you rewards. You know how in Pokémon Refresh, you can become closer friends with your critters and get more experience or a chance for them to dodge attacks? Well, when these events happen you are befriending Rotom in a similar way. It will pay it forward by sometimes giving you extra experience, more money, or even items.




This makes Necrozma a far more notable figure. I don’t want to offer up too many spoilers, but it goes from a throwaway legendary you might find on an island to a creature that actually matters. Not long after we arrive in Alola, we hear some people from the other side of the wormhole talking about the effect this creature had on their home. We even see it temporarily take the light from our world. And that isn’t even getting into what starts happening when Necrozma hits its stride and becomes an actual threat.


The Ultra Beasts and parallel universes are more than an afterthought this time around. Before, there was a nice storyline after all was said and done that briefly sent you around the islands searching for Ultra Beasts. In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, these other creatures are more prominently featured and we are even able to venture into wormholes. However, I felt this was anticlimactic. It is nice that the option is there and these legendaries enjoy a bit more prominence, but it isn’t like we are getting a whole new city or island to explore. In practice, the parallel area feels a bit small and Ultra Beasts still some add-on.


Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon give the Pokémon Sun and Moon adventure more meaning. It strengthens the storyline. There is less filler there and fewer slow points, giving us more to see and do. I felt like there was more happening and it was less a slice-of-life game. It also lends more importance to characters like Lillie, Rotom Dex, and Necrozma. These figures matter more, and our interactions with them carry more weight. It results in a fuller experience.


Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are available for the Nintendo 3DS.

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