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Pokemon Ultra Moon

3DS
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Full Review for Pokemon Ultra Moon by TVKL

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Introduction

The final game in generation 7, Pokemon Ultra Moon (and it's primary counterpart Ultra Sun) has the distinct honour of being the last Pokemon game released for the 3DS. The game's story runs parallel to that of last year's Pokemon Moon, taking place in an alternate universe. For the most part Ultra Moon is identical to it's predecessor, but with many notable changes. Will it deliver a satisfying send-off to Pokemon on the 3DS? Spoilers, obviously.

 

Graphics

While USUM's graphics may seem outstanding at first, it doesn't take a trained eye to quickly notice faults - most of them in-battle. A feature new to generation 7 is that trainers now use the exact same model for their overworld model and battle model. Since overworld models are still rather stout and chibi, this means battle models are actually worse than they were in generation 6, with Lysandre and Wally being the most notable as they previously had battle models in the past generation. Aside from that, Ultra Moon maintains most of the issues held with SM and generation 6's graphics - Pokemon animations are dull and soulless (special mention goes to Salamence, which may as well not be animated) and certain models such as Blastoise look nothing like the Pokemon they're supposed to represent.

 

Sound

Definitely one of the best entries in the series so far on terms of sound. Ultra Moon's soundtrack is overall very good, and while there are a couple disappointments (the Champion theme, for example), they're outshone by themes such as Battle! (Ultra Necrozma) and Battle! (Ghetsis). There's not much more that can be said about the game's soundtrack.

 

Gameplay

Despite expectations, USUM is a notable step-up from the casualized difficulty of it's predecessor games (and generation, for that matter). This becomes most notable at the respective start and end of the game - Teacher Emily, an early-game "casual block" has the starter Pokemon super-effective against yours, making her a definite challenge. At the other end of the scale, the game's final boss, Ultra Necrozma, is about 10 levels higher than you're expected to be when you fight it, has an aura boosting all of it's stats by 1 stage (except accuracy and evasion) and is statistically the strongest Pokemon yet, not counting Mega Evolutions or Primal Reversions.

Many new gameplay mechanics are introduced such as the Roto Loto, which can be a life-saver in tense battles. Most of the game's trials have been overhauled from SM and the most notable of them is Mina's trial which has you go around Alola defeating each of the trial captains in a Pokemon battle, something of an echo of the Pokemon Gyms of previous generations.

 

Lastability

Ultra Moon is supposed to last us until 2019, when Pokemon Switch will presumably be released (or at least, that's what everyone is assuming), and yet the game and most of it's post-game content takes all of three days to complete at a slow and steady pace. There's little-to-no replay value to speak of, and while the 100 events sprinkled throughout the game do make the game world feel a lot more alive, by no means are they genuine content. The entire point of USUM strategically is to give us a game to capture our attention until Game Freak can push out the next Pokemon game, but it seems the games fail to accomplish even that.

 

Overall

If I said USUM were good it'd be a lie, but if I said they were bad I feel it wouldn't really be the whole truth either. The best word to describe my experience with Ultra Moon would have to be disappointing, above all else. Game Freak and Nintendo had hyped this game up to be amazing, even going so far as to use the phrase "ultra changes", but in reality it's ultra nothing. The plot is so similar to it's predecessor that if you plan to play a generation 7 game, it's worth skipping SM entirely because otherwise you'll just be irritated by how repetitive this game is.

Overall, I'd have to say that USUM is indeed a good send-off to Pokemon on the 3DS. Not because it's that good of a game, but rather because Pokemon on the 3DS has been nothing but non-stop disappointment, and what better way to end it all than with an equally disappointing game.


Final Score: 52%

Review by: TVKL

 

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