Gotta Catch the Latest Pokémon Installment

There have been several mixed thoughts and opinions on the newest Pokémon game installment for the Nintendo 3DS.

This was mainly due to the fact “Pokémon Sun” and “Moon” have only been out for a year, and people fear it would just be a cleaned-up version of the game with slightly more Pokémon.

The original “Sun” and “Moon” games were heavy on tutorials and made experienced Pokémon trainers feel like Game Freak, the company that developed the game, was holding their hand throughout the game.

However, “Pokémon Ultra Sun” and “Ultra Moon” were released Nov.17 and have taken the world by storm.

As a diehard Pokémon fan, I acquired both games and played through them extensively over Thanksgiving break.

The question that needs to be posed: are the newest games good enough to warrant another trip to the Alola region?

In short, the answer is yes.

Similar to what “Pokémon Emerald” was to “Ruby” and “Sapphire” or “Pokémon Crystal” was to “Gold” and “Silver,” “Pokémon Ultra Sun” and “Ultra Moon” are meant to be the definitive versions of the seventh generation’s game.

FLICKR | PHOTO COURTESY
Players are invited to return to Pokémon’s Alola region in an updated version of ‘Pokémon Sun’ and ‘Moon,’ ‘Ultra Sun’ and ‘Ultra Moon.’

“Ultra Sun” and “Ultra Moon” build upon the game foundation that was established in regular “Sun” and “Moon” by adding several new features, new story elements and more. It is no surprise a lot of the content in the new game is exactly the same as it is in the original titles.

The main character is tasked with travelling around the Alola region to complete the Island Challenge. During the challenge, players take on trials across the four islands in the game while meeting new Pokémon.

The original characters — Professor Kukui, Lillie, Nebby and Hau — are still prominent characters throughout the game’s narrative. Additionally, so is the infamous Team Skull who is just as mischievous in the new game as they were in the original.

My initial impression of the game was full of concern that “Ultra Sun” and “Ultra Moon” were going to be identical to their predecessors. Thankfully, that was not the case.

“Ultra Sun” and “Ultra Moon” shine the most with the new content that is introduced in the game. Nearly all of the ideas will leave you thinking, ‘Oh, now that’s cool,’ in a similar way that the original titles did.

Some of the new content includes collecting Totem Stickers, Mantine surfing and the addition of the Ultra Recon Squad.

The Totem Stickers are placed all throughout the Alola region and can be traded in to receive a huge, Totem-sized Pokémon.

Mantine surfing is stationed at specific spots throughout the game and allows you to play a mini-game as you travel between islands. This takes the place of the regular boat ride cutscene that was in the original game.

The most interesting addition was the Ultra Recon Squad, which is a new organization that arrived in the region. Initially, players have very brief encounters with them, but they instantly become one of the more interesting groups that the series has created.

Their weird way of moving, their slightly out-of-place ways in conversation and the musical theme that plays whenever they are encountered, all tell players there is something very different – and therefore compelling – about them.

Some scenes that play out in the original games have been recreated with new, or different, information coming to light from the new characters.

Upgrading the original “Sun” and “Moon” games with a handful of new ideas has easily allowed “Ultra Sun” and “Ultra Moon” to be the definitive version of the seventh generation.

In some ways, it feels like the newest game came out too soon because “Pokémon Sun” and “Moon” were still so fresh in the players’ minds.

However, whether you have already been to Alola and are looking for a return trip or have yet to journey through it, “Ultra Sun” and “Ultra Moon” is the way to do it.

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