Pokémon Ultra Sun – Nintendo 3DS Review

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Genre: RPG
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: The Pokémon Company
Release Date: Nov 17, 2017
Edited by KnightAvenger

Your opening cinematic is a bit more exciting than talking to one of the tree professors and waking up in your bedroom like in previous games. You see a mysterious lady running from a group of assumed baddies; when she gets cornered, her gym bag reacts and saves her life. This cutscene and the rest of the cutscenes in the game cannot be skipped. If you are like me, after the first playthrough, it will become an irritation. If you played the original Sun and/or Moon, it might be a little difficult to go back through the story with the Ultra version. However, if you enjoy other JRPG titles, the cinematics and replays shouldn’t bother you too much. This opening gives me the impression the story will be more in-depth than previous Pokémon titles.

Starter Pokémon are still cute. Popplio is your water-type that resembles a seal, Rowlet is a grass-type as well as flying-type that resembles an owl, and Litten is a fire-type that resembles a cat. I chose Litten to adventure since I’m a little partial to fire type; I’ve been using them since Pokémon Gold. Also, cats, who doesn’t love a fire cat? Litten evolves into Incineroar, which has worse stats than the other two as far as Sp. Attack/Defense and speed go, but you can catch other Pokémon to balance out your party.

Ultra Sun brings in new Pokémon, bringing the grand total to 807 spread across seven generations, including Ultra Beast and Alola variations. Rockruff is among this new generation. What makes Rockruff so special is its evolution. In Sun and Ultra Sun, starting at level 25, you can get the evolved Pokémon Lycanroc in two different forms: Midday Form or Dusk Form. Midday form can be achieved by leveling up Rockruff during the day; Dusk form comes between 5 p.m. and 5:59 p.m. in in-game time. If you want Midnight form, you will need to pick up Moon or Ultra Moon or trade with other players.

The Pokedex has changed over the history of Pokémon. This version has a Pokémon named Rotom that will talk to you throughout your adventure. It does get slightly annoying but it’s a nice touch. You still have your basic Pokedex, bag, and options tabs. New to Pokémon Sun and Moon series are the Festival Plaza, Trainer Passport, Pokémon refresh, QR scanner and Battle Video tabs. Festival Plaza tab takes you to the Festival Plaza: Bouncy House for Pokémon to train, haunted house to gather rewards, food stall, goody shop, etc. Here, you can trade and battle other people from around the world; you need to be connected via wifi. Leaving Festival Plaza disconnects you from the Internet. Pokémon Refresh lets you interact with the Pokémon in your party by petting or feeding them beans. On occasion, as a battle wraps up, you will be given the option to go into this menu and “clean up” your Pokémon. Trainer Passport will track your stats for you, starting with when you started your adventure and how long you have played as well as tracking milestones you complete. Your Battle Video tab will record your Link Battles and battles at the Battle Spot battles for you to replay or even reenact them. These videos can be made public using the Festival Plaza tab. One of the more exciting features is the QR Scanner.

I hate QR scanners but if they give me info on Pokémon and where to catch them, give me the damn codes. They are bundled right here for your viewing and scanning pleasure, thanks to redditor u/byf9, enjoy! The QR Scanner also acts as a radar for rare Pokémon using the Island Scan. Keep in mind; if you don’t have access to that spot of Alola, you cannot get the Pokémon.

Shiny gold stickers can be found all over Alola. You are talked to by a couple of NPCs about them. Ultra Sun has 100 in total and is spread across the four islands; you will need to look everywhere-they can be outside or in an NPC’s home. The reward is worth the look for stickers, as you will be able to get a gigantic totem-like Pokémon for your team. Among the prizes is Gumshoos and Vikavolt; of course, the Pokémon change depending on which game you pick up.

No Pokémon game is complete without a gang to harass you. Team Skull fills that position for Ultra Sun. Team Skull members present themselves in black and white attire with skulls over everything. They also have a skewed sense of how rappers act. This poor group is seen as nothing more than a nuisance. Team Skull brings great humor breaks to Pokémon Ultra Sun.

Two words: Mantine Surfing. One of the mini-games you get with Ultra Sun is surfing on a Mantine. While surfing, you can perform tricks to earn points. When you reach the beach, your points and tricks will be added up and turned into Battle Points. The BP can be traded in for useful prizes to help you and your party. This mini-game is great because it fits in with the island theme of the game.

Another noticeable change is the fact there are no more gyms. Instead, you will be battling Kahuna and facing Island Trials. Kahuna are people presiding over the four islands you will be adventuring. Island Trials are set by Trial Captains, the first given by Ilmia on Melemele Island. You won’t battle the Trial Captains to complete the trial; instead, you will battle the islands’ Totem Pokémon. No gyms mean no Pokémon level limits, right? Nope, you still have your leveling limits before your party members stop listening to you. Defeating Kahuna Hala on your first island will bump that level up to 35. What level your Pokémon will listen to you is listed in your Trainer Passport. Your party won’t have a hard time reaching that number if you keep the exp share turned on. Without leaving the first Island, my party reached level 20 with little to no effort.

Pros:

  • Soundtrack is beautiful as usual
  • Plenty of mini-games
  • Animations

Cons:

  • Unskippable cutscenes
  • Amount of tutorials were packed full of content; the tutorials can be a bit much

Nakupenda91 gives Pokémon Ultra Sun a Drastik Measure 9.5 out of 10! (95)

Pokémon Ultra Sun was designed after the islands of Hawaii. The feel of Pokémon Ultra Sun reflects the nice light-hearted atmosphere that presents the laid back sense you get with islanders. There is enough action and excitement to keep the game moving at a great pace and you catching your favorite Pokémon.

You can pick up Pokémon Ultra Sun or its counterpart Ultra Moon for $39.99 (USD) or your regional equivalent at Pokemon Center.