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Ultra Sun: A Fresh Perspective

Discussion in 'Pokémon - Generation VII Discussion' started by JohnLynch, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. JohnLynch

    JohnLynch Well-Known Member

    I've heard a lot of negative opinions on Ultra Sun so I thought it might be worthwhile reviewing it from my perspective. I am someone who:
    * Owns a version of Pokemon for every Generation, but has only completed Pokemon Red (original Gameboy), Pokemon FireRed, Pokemon Black and now Pokemon Ultra Sun (I've gotten stuck at the Elite 4 in Pokemon Crystal in Virtual Console).
    * The last two games I played were Pokemon FireRed (essentially completed 4 years ago) and Pokemon Black (completed 5 years ago).

    The Story
    I actually really like the story. I think it's a step up from Pokemon Black. You get fairly one-dimensional characters to start with in Hau, Lilly and Gladion, but by the end of the game they actually grow a fair bit.

    The Ultra Recon Squad was enjoyable to watch what they were doing. The game took a surprising pivot with them and ultimately they played a role in the game I was not foreseeing.

    The Rainbow Rocket episode at the end felt very tacked on. It felt completely unnecessary and added little to the story. However by the end it felt like the big boss of Rainbow Rocket was getting set up to play a big role in future games. Unfortunately I suspect the character will be dropped and we won't see anything about him. However I'd love it if he made cameos in say Let's Go Pikachu and the potential Let's Go Marill before becoming the big boss guy in a future mainline game.

    Hand Holding and Hand Outs
    This was pretty bad in the game. By the end of the game I was averaging around $700,000 and this was with breeding, only buying Ultra Balls and Beast Balls plus potions and such. Then the game went ahead and gave me the equivalent of $1.1 million after Rainbow Rocket. I don't think I've ever played a Pokemon game that was this ridiculous with handing out money.

    But it's not just money that was the issue. I couldn't go more than 2 blocks without someone healing my Pokemon and giving me potions or pokeballs. Given how friendly everyone was and the hand outs (plus copious healing making it so a trip back to the Pokecenter was almost never needed) I felt like the game was making sure I just couldn't fail.

    The hand holding was even worse. The red flags on the map made the game world feel so small because I never had a chance to explore to try to discover where I'm going. I'm playing Pokemon Sapphire as well at the moment and after getting my 2nd gym badge I came across a T intersection with little clue as to which direction to go. I went left to start with, encountered a bunch of trainers and went maybe I'll go right instead and get to a dead end and then continue on. I got into a fight with the rival by going right (and lost quite badly) so I went left again and found a dead end. I got to make choices. The choices were ultimately meaningless. But they at least felt like I was exploring the game world. Instead of traveling along the choo choo train. The hand holding is just awful in Ultra Sun. It does get better after Tutorial Island. But it's always there to a degree.

    Difficulty
    Pokemon Crystal's difficulty is quite bad. I get put up against foes I can't defeat and nothing really of a comparable level to grind on. Same with Pokemon Sapphire to a degree. Not so with Ultra Sun. The level curve is actually much smoother, which is good. But it's meaningless because thanks to EXP Share your entire party over levels everything very quickly. The Elite 4 were a joke and only Rainbow Rocket finally provided a challenge.

    The EXP share is a great idea. It means you don't have to spam a pikachu against rock pokemon just to make sure it keeps up with the party level. But it was poorly implemented. Either the level curve needed to be increased or the XP reward needed to be decreased.

    Content
    There was a lot that was actually fun about this game. The totem stickers were annoying until I realised what they gave away then they became awesome. The manatee surfing is a great side game that can be a fun distraction every now and then. Breeding has been improved thank god so you don't level pokemon by breeding them. And the removal of HMs for Pokeride is also a great addition.

    Pokepelago started out as something fun but quickly grew tiresome. Also the Festival Plaza has just been a complete waste of time for me.

    I also really enjoyed the Ultra Wormholes. Yes, the Shiny chances are significantly higher then in past games. But it's limited to 20 pokemon and the shiny values have changed from gen to gen (with Gen 2 giving the most favourable odds outside of the wormholes and that's for any breedable pokemon). I also really enjoy fighting legendaries from past games. Getting to fight and catch Moltres last night was a lot of fun. I think the story justification is also quite clever and overall this has been a great sidequest for the game.

    The lack of a national pokedex however is disappointing, and I feel like it was done to push people into using Pokebank. I really hope it returns in Pokemon Switch 2019.

    The post game legendaries have also been a lot of fun to capture. I'm also abusing false swipes to go and catch the rest of the pokemon to get the shiny charm. Island Scan is also a great addition as well (although annoying to find and much like some evolutions requires talking to other players to learn about it).

    I felt like there was a decent amount of post-game content. Especially with the IV checker allowing you to get sucked into the breeding game as I prepare to create tempting offers for people who have event only pokemon to work towards a Living Pokedex.

    Conclusion
    Overall this was a pretty fun game and easily as good as Pokemon Black. It has some significant flaws unfortunately, but I am 100 hours into the game and only now looking to start another Pokemon game to provide a break from completing my Alola Dex. I've spent more time in the Wormholes then I should and have enjoyed it.

    Having read up on the differences between Ultra Sun and Sun I can see why anyone who played Sun would dislike Ultra Sun. This is a minor difference in game similar to Pokemon Crystal and Pokemon Gold/Silver. After getting spoiled with Pokemon Black2 (I never played it unfortunately) I can see why people are dissatisfied with Pokemon Ultra Sun. However I do think the hardcore fans who buy 2 of every game (and this is a growing segment of the playerbase with Gamefreak pandering to them with the steelbook collector's cases) hurt the franchise to a degree. By the time they get to Ultra Sun this will be the 3rd time they play what is essentially the same game. No wonder they're tired of the story. But I do think Ultra Sun demonstrates the market for a "third game" for each generation has decreased substantially. I won't be surprised if we don't see these sorts of games anymore (at worst we'd get another Black2).

    But on it's own merits, for someone who hasn't played Pokemon Sun, I think Ultra Sun is a great game.
     
    Colt45 and Madame Chocobo like this.
  2. JohnLynch

    JohnLynch Well-Known Member

    One thing I forgot to include: Island Trials and the Alola setting.

    I do like how Japanese the entire setting is with a clear inspiration from Hawaii (not that I've ever been). I also like the younger Pokemon professor but I do miss professors in the style of Oak.

    I loved the Alolan variants. Some were just stupidly ugly (grimer and muk), but most were cool and a great way to give an older Pokemon a new lease of life.

    The Island Trials were a nice feature that I quite liked. They were like the gym puzzles of prior generations. However I don't consider the totem fights to be gym leader equivalents. Instead I see the kahunas as gym leader equivalents. It means we get the gyms reduced from 8 to 4. But with supervised gyms I didn't mind that at all.
     
  3. Sceptile Leaf Blade

    Sceptile Leaf Blade Happy Minun

    I think the level curve depends drastically on playing style and on which pokémon you're using. Some pokémon require vastly more exp than others to level. It also depends on how much you grind in between on wild pokémon. I personally did not encounter getting overlevelled quickly, most of my pokémon were generally around the levels the wild pokémon in the area had, so in practice that meant I was generally lower level than most trainers on the routes and quite a bit lower level than the Totems and Kahunas. Most of my pokémon were around level 20 when facing Olivia for instance.

    Overall you can do some crazy things and still end up being roughly in the right level range, the exp you receive scales with levels, you get more if you're lower level so it naturally corrects itself again. You'll hardly get any exp if you're higher level than the stuff you're facing, so the game should catch up again.
     
    Ariki likes this.
  4. Leonhart

    Leonhart Disney fanatic

    The leveling curve in Ultra Sun/Moon gets genuinely dreadful when we face Necrozma. I mean, facing its Dusk Mane/Dawn Wings form at Level 50 isn't that hard, but fighting Ultra Necrozma five minutes later at Level 60 is a pretty big jump.
     
  5. Sceptile Leaf Blade

    Sceptile Leaf Blade Happy Minun

    True, but Necrozma is still only one pokémon, so it's essentially six-on-one, and Necrozma doesn't have any items. It's meant to be a boss fight that's kind of tough, but it's far from impossible. I think I was around level 47 or so and beat it without much trouble.
     
  6. Denko Sekka

    Denko Sekka Well-Known Member

    The E4 in USUM was difficult. I know many players like a good challenge, but man I didn't think it'd be so tedious even though my whole team was above level 65.
     
  7. Madame Chocobo

    Madame Chocobo PokéDrawer

    I agree that the game did hold your hands almost the way through, but I also agree that the it did have its difficult moments(I really really have trouble with the trials, those dang totem pokemons kept wiping out my pokemon).

    Another thing I liked is the RR story being an after game thing. I kinda wish they expanded on it more, but it was a pretty fun ride from what's it worth. (I can't remember anything went for S/M's after game event, or if it has one)
     
    Denko Sekka likes this.
  8. Leonhart

    Leonhart Disney fanatic

    It ended too soon from my point of view, and Sakaki himself gave up his ambition too easily. I honestly prefer S/M's Ultra Beast post-game plot over US/UM's RR mini-arc.
     
  9. Zhydra

    Zhydra Master of Chaos!

    But Giovanni does this in every game he has been in. In Gen 1, he disbands Team Rocket after losing to you three times, in the Gen 2 remakes, Giovanni leaves from his hiding place after you beaten him. Right when he was about to return to the save Team Rocket from its death throes.
    Backing away when you beat him is a common thing he does because he knows when he is beaten and when it is better to cut his losses.
    The RR arc ended with Giovanni taking his evil business into another dimension. He isn't giving up his long term goal, he is just taking business elsewhere.

    I also disagree on S/M's post game being good... at all.
    The side quest is boring as hell in that you go to an Inn, listen to dialogue, catch the UBs... that should have been dealt with during S/M's climax instead of completely ignored. Rinse and repeat, with you doing all the work as bait.
    All that is given is when you fall into an Ultra Wormhole, you attract Ultra Beasts because they ultimately want to go home. Something that the Anime does a better job at, by letting us see the Beasts in that light.

    At least in RR, we had Lillie begin her career as a trainer, Guzma having a redemption arc and... even if Team RR is out there, it fits with Gen 7's trans dimensional shenanigans, by taking bad guys from dimensions where they won in their goal.
    The fights against the past bosses were fun, fitting for the characters. Examples is Cyrus regretting everything and especially Ghetsis reminding us why he is the most evil villain in the entire franchise. (Do I have to make a list of why this guy is the equivalent to Satan in this franchise?) Colress showing up to rescue Lillie and banish Ghetsis perfectly fits in what we know about both characters. (Colress hates the guy!)
    Then we have Giovanni finally getting his own theme and it was glorious.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
    Madame Chocobo likes this.
  10. JohnLynch

    JohnLynch Well-Known Member

    Can't say that was my experience and I believe most of my team was under 65 then.
     
  11. Nyter

    Nyter Island Challenger

    I have to say that Ultra Sun was an interesting game. I found myself going through those wormholes for days on end. The return of various villains were cool too. I think the most tedious of all was the Battle Agency. The payout is bonkers and if you found a very overleveled Pokemon to recruit, you found your golden ticket to the higher ups.

    And the return of Red and Blue was cool to witness too, seeing them grown up. One of the things you are right about, OP, is that level curve. That is why in Black 2 and White 2, unlocking that difficulty key for the game was God-sent. That was truly a challenge, raising levels to AI Trainer Pokemon and an additional Pokemon to gym leaders rosters.

    I give Ultra Sun an 8.5/10.
     

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