I have been an obsessive Pokémon fan since the franchise first began. My room has plenty of Pokémon merchandise and I own every main series game. I’d usually be super hyped for a new Pokémon game. Normally, the new Pokémon game would be pre-ordered and on my door step day one. Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon had been announced after E3 and I felt nothing. No excitement, no hype, just one big “meh.” My blasé reaction was probably because a Pokémon game on Switch is around the corner. I was hoping Nintendo would have announced something regarding the Switch. Instead, Ultra Sun/Moon were announced for the 3DS and I had no desire to have it. Release day came and went with no purchase. Being a curious little kitty, I looked into what others had to say. Based on what I read, I was right not to purchase it. Not enough was changed and several changes actually made it worse than Sun and Moon.
The Story Was Ruined
Pokémon Sun and Moon had one of the best stories in any Pokémon game. Lillie was the true star of Sun and Moon. It was her journey and you were along for the ride. Ultra Sun and Moon made her story less compelling. Lillie and Gladion left home to escape Lusamine’s abusive grasp. Lillie wishes to stop her mother from tearing open an Ultra Wormhole. Lusamine was corrupted by lust for power and the influence of Ultra Beasts. The portrayal of an abusive mother/child relationship was captivating. Sun and Moon was dark and mature for Pokémon. Lusamine went completely off the rails insane. The motivation of Lillie and Gladion was driven by Lusamine’s abuse and obsession with Ultra Beasts. We see Lillie grow as a character and you want to help her. She felt like a traveling companion.
Ultra Sun and Moon butchered the plot by muddying up character motivations. Game Freak decided to tone down how evil Lusamine was. They made it so that she wanted to stop the Ultra Beasts instead of releasing them upon the world. This had a trickle-down effect on Lillie and Gladion. Their actions no longer seemed urgent or made sense. Sun and Moon kept the motives simple yet compelling. Ultra Sun/Moon dumbed it down and made things unnecessarily complicated.
This Isn’t Black and White 2
While similar in concept, Ultra Sun and Moon is no Black and White 2. Black and White 2 was a direct sequel to the original Black and White. The story was completely different. Black/White 2 starts in a different town, some new gym leaders and a new champion. There are recurring characters from the originals, like N, Cheren, and Bianca. You get to see how the events of the previous games impacted them. Black/White 2 made enough changes to justify a sequel. Ultra Sun and Moon seems to take place in an alternate timeline. Not enough was changed to make it worth buying. Everything in Sun and Moon was wiped away, starting with a clean slate. I would have liked to see how Lillie grew on her Pokémon journey. Maybe she could have become a trial captain or a Pokémon researcher. Ultra Sun and Moon delivered an underwhelming sequel to one of the best stories in the franchise.
It Was Rushed
Ultra Sun and Moon may have been rushed out due some backlash the announcement of a Switch game had. The Pokémon Company wanted to give 3DS owners another Pokémon game. They may also want to get another game out of the Sun and Moon engine. The death of the 3DS is on the horizon and the Pokémon Company wants to squeeze a little money out of it before its laid to rest.
At first, I was concerned that I was losing interest in Pokémon. Maybe I finally outgrew it. Further investigation and reflection says otherwise. The reason I had no interest in Ultra Sun and Moon because it had no reason to exist. It dumbed down the story yet made it unnecessarily complicated. Ultra Sun and Moon should have been more like Black and White 2. A direct sequel would have been better than an alternate retelling. The game was rushed out to pacify those unhappy about a future Switch release and squeezing a few extra bucks out of the dying 3DS. I wasn’t interested in Ultra Sun and Moon, not Pokémon itself. All I want is to play Pokémon on Switch. I can’t wait for that day. Until then, I won’t be playing new Pokémon games on the 3DS. What did you think of Ultra Sun and Moon?