The Alola games seemed to be the most divisive games to have come from the Pokemon franchise (Galar National Dex aside, of course), and I wanted to pinpoint just where the games went wrong.
I’ve noticed people not enjoying the Alola games, nor were the Ultra games picked up by some, which sparked my interest.
The Long Prologue
This was fixed in the Ultra games, but even when I was playing through Sun for the first time, I was just so bored with the prologue, I just wanted to get on with the story and go about my challenge. Like I said, the Ultra games fixed this, but it was still fairly long for my liking.
The worst thing was that the prologue didn’t capture my attention like it could have. Compare it to Emerald, which I’ve been playing recently, and it’s about a fifth of the time if you’re taking it really easy. The scenic cutscenes also drag out the length because it’ll focus on a character for about ten seconds before the cut to something else.
I felt that the Alola games, in general, were very handholding, in the sense that you couldn’t walk five steps without being told about something by Hau or Lillie. I’d rather have had them come up as optional information that was useful, but not in the form of a cutscene.
If I wanted handholding, I’d ask my boyfriend.
Mega Evolution/Z-Move Combo
A big thanks to Tim for this input! We didn’t need both mechanics in the games, and I personally would rather have kept Mega Evolutions. However, we were allowed to have both in the game, and it just didn’t make sense to me. Not only that, the Mega Evolution mechanic wasn’t even necessary in these games, as none of the characters that you fought really utilised it, nor did you as a player obtain it until you had become the Champion.
There wasn’t any use for Mega Evolutions in the games, especially as no new Mega Evolutions were introduced. It definitely got an improvement when the Rainbow Rocket story unfolded, as the evil team leaders used Mega Evolutions. But I still think something had to give, and it should have been one or the other – not both.
The story didn’t change a lot between versions
When we were told that the Ultra games were going to be a retelling of the original story, I expected a lot more changes than what we get. Aside from the subplot of Necrozma and the Ultra Recon Squad, there weren’t really any changes of note until the encounter of Solgaleo/Lunala.
In terms of characterisation between the versions, I was hoping for a lot of character changes in terms of both Hau and Lillie. I was expecting Hau to be more serious, and Lillie to be a proper rival in the sense that she’d actually take part in the Island Challenge too. She still could have been carrying Nebby, but also being given a Pokemon alongside yourself as a player, and she would take the Pokemon that was strong against yours.
Ultra Megalopolis was hyped up to hell from the promos that we saw, and it set the stage to fight Ultra Necrozma. However, after that, there was no point in revisiting. I mean, you did get a singular Poipole as a reward. It was very linear, and not worth much in the end.
An amazing post-game would have been to traverse the Ultra Worlds more like how you explore Kanto after the Johto League. Ultra Megalopolis was a let-down for me. We still don’t know much about the other side, and now, we never will.
I like a lot of the Ultra Beasts, don’t get me wrong. However, I felt that (especially in Sun/Moon) they were under-utilised. They were there as a plot device for the post-game, and not much else.
The fact that you can’t even get Blacephalon, Stakataka and Poipole in the Ultra Wormholes stung heavily, as you can only get a limited amount of each in the games, and they are then forgotten about. To tie in with my last point, it would have been good to explore the Ultra Worlds properly after the events of the Alola segment, in order to discover more about what the Ultra Beasts are and how they function.
For the most part, I really do like the Rotom Dex, don’t get me wrong. You can earn Roto Boosts by answering questions and other stuff, and they would be very handy depending on what you needed. However, it started trying to give me unsolicited advice when I had more than completed the post-game and long picked up shiny hunting. I’m actually relieved that in Sword and Shield that it managed to lose its voice and just became a normal Rotom Phone. It’s a shame, it would have been fine had it just shut up.
Island Trials replacing the Gym Leaders
Thanks to Tim again for bringing this point up. The Island Trials were an interesting gimmick, but the rewards felt more empty than the most basic of Gym Leader rewards. I liked the idea of fighting Totem Pokemon, but I feel that we should have had Gym Leaders carry a specific Totem Pokemon as their ace. For example, Acerola could have had a Totem Mimikyu to finish her battle, while Sophocles could have ended with Totem Togedemaru. It would have added an extra spin to the battle, much like we’re seeing with Dynamax and Gigantamax Pokemon in Sword and Shield.
Fighting the Kahunas as the Grand Trial was interesting, but should have been reserved for the Elite Four – after all, they are elites. We would have had Hala, Olivia, Nanu and Hapu as the Elite Four in that respect. The Grand Trial battles were unnecessary and were there simply to pad out the game length.
Also who the fuck is Kahili?
It pushed the 3DS too hard
I think that with the amount of lag in normal Double battles in the main section of the game, it’s clear to see that the 3DS was pushed too hard with little pay-off (I do remember people saying that the graphics of Sword and Shield are just like a ported Sun/Moon but you can count pixels of the Alola games, don’t at me). It was clear that the Pokemon games no longer belonged on the 3DS, just for the fact that the capabilities were pushed too far, in my opinion.
What even was this?
Am I missing something? Probably. Let me know in the comments below!