There’s a long history of Nintendo and GamesFreak releasing revamped versions of Pokémon games with relatively negligible differences. The most famous — and perhaps best — remains Pokémon Yellow, which saw Pikachu follow players around as they venture through Kanto, now able to collect the three original starters.
Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are like Yellow, just to Sun and Moon. Rather than change the story, the designers have added small tidbits to improve everything, ranging from adding more Pokémon to utilising certain features such as the Rotom-dex.
Almost everything about the original Sun and Moon — the challenges, setting, and paths forward — remains the same. As a result, playing through the early campaign again can feel like a chore, especially considering the original version came out only a year ago. Really, the new content comes late/post game, when Legendary monsters from every generation past become available and new villains step forward.
For new players, of course, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are the ultimate versions of this generation’s games. There’s no doubt about that. Small improvements help the overall flow of the game (while some quibbles, such as how easy the game often seems, remain unfixed). Plus, the world of Sun and Moon — Alola’s four colourful, Hawaii-inspired islands — are delightful, and not having gyms keeps things feeling fresh.
Really, all this begs the question, though: why not just release an additional DLC for Sun and Moon? Games have moved past releasing “ultimate” versions, which seems slightly backwards. (The easy answer is money.) Grinding through the game’s beginning was fun, but hardly necessary. Still, Pokémon enthusiasts will still enjoy the adventure again — but those who never experienced this world before with have the best time