To buy, or not to buy? Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were announced only days ago, and already the great debate begins. Personally, I have pre-ordered every Pokémon game since I understood what income was, confident in the quality provided by both GameFreak and Nintendo when producing the series.
Pokémon, in its entirety, has been a series of excellent games, swelling with good quality and bug-free content, ever-improving graphics and mechanics, and far-reaching innovation in both design and gameplay. While I turn my nose up at pre-orders of shakier series, I will always pre-order Pokémon.
However, if it had been on the switch, I would not have done so.
Pokémon sequels have historically been a success. Although this article began by spouting the positive attributes of each Pokémon generation, there was one exception. The critically panned Pokémon Black and White were not abandoned by their creators upon their difficult entry onto the market, but rather improved and expanded on in two sequels that came only a short time later. Pokémon Black and White 2 apologised for the slow story, useless cut-scenes, and clunky mechanics of their predecessors by eliminating all of the above. Black and White 2 were engaging, relevant entries to the series, and certainly won back the confidence and appreciation of the audience.
Even with this excellent track record, however, a new Pokémon game would not be worth the switch. The immense price-tag of £279, coupled with online charges before one even invests in the actual game, is far beyond the reach of many consumers. Not to mention Nintendo’s poor practice of constantly leaving its consoles undernourished with an extremely limited library of games in comparison to its predecessors. Nintendo practices quality over quantity, and although it’s a business practice I admire and wish to see more of (I mean, I am sick of day one patches on bigger games), it would be fine if limited to one console. The Nintendo 3DS was a sturdier, cheaper system that contained a wealth of games and apps, and still holds its own on the market today. As with the Wii and then the WiiU, a new console is superfluous. I don’t care about the quality of the game or the innovation of the new console. I work in a co-op. I don’t even make rent every month, and my rent is less than the cost of the switch.
The thing is, Sun and Moon were stellar games. Many have slated the new instalments for deviating too much from the originals; abolishing gyms and pumping them full of cut-scenes and useless character development. While I agree that the campaign had far too many cut-scenes, Pokémon games go way further than that. I have a Pokémon Y save file with 860 hours on it because the competitive scene is such a valid use of time, and there are no cut-scenes there. Plus, isn’t the age-old criticism of Pokémon always that the formula is tired and over-used? Abolishing gyms and switching to a somewhat similar system of trials was exactly the innovation needed to give the series a fresh breath of air.
Still, my discussion is irrelevant. I don’t actually want to talk about Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon. I just wanted to criticise the Switch’s uselessness and audacious cost. Pokémon Ultra SuMo was just a ruse.
And you fell for it.