Given the constant shift of the video gaming landscape, it is quite astounding that Game Freak and The Pokemon Company have managed to maintain an air of freshness in the long-running franchise that is Pokemon. Transcending the simple ‘fad’ phase, the series has gone from strength to strength – shifting and adapting with each new generation. In a move reminiscent of yesteryear, the latest instalments to the world of Pokemon serve as the ‘definitive’ editions, in the vein of Yellow, Crystal, Emerald and so on. Seeking to serve both the hardcore Pokemon audiences as well as those who might have missed the original Sun and Moon, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon provide the perfect bookends to the series on the 3DS.
As in Sun and Moon, the journey begins prior to arriving in Alola, where you are prepped by Professor Kukui as you move from Kanto. Setting out with your starter Pokemon, you save Lillie and Nebby from a group of attacking Spearow, and are in turn saved by the island’s guardian totem Tapu Koko, who leaves behind a mysterious stone which goes on to become the Z-Ring for special Z-Moves later in the game. From here on in your character must perform the Island Trials which replace Gym Battles, while holding off Team Skull as well as discovering the motives behind the supposedly peaceful Aether Foundation. Focusing more around the Pokemon Necrozma, the game’s story differs from that presented in Sun and Moon, including new NPCs such as the Ultra Recon Squad, whose motives are strange and not known until later in the game.