pokemon ultra sun and moon trailer analysis
With less than 2 months until the release of Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon, we finally got a trailer that better shows how these games are different from Sun & Moon. It provides a clearer context of what Alola has to offer and honestly makes us excited to see what else might be there. So it’s time to bring out the old Analysis Machine to see what secrets and hidden details the new Surf’s Up trailer might be hiding. Let’s begin with the return of the Trials. While the structure of them seems to be the same in that you’ll have to go to each Captain, complete their Trial, and defeat a Totem Pokémon before eventually challenging the Island Kahuna, the exact details have seen more than a few changes. First up is Mallow’s as the trainer is in the Lush Jungle. It even has the same large block that requires the Machamp Shove, but there’s one obvious difference, Sudowoodo are everywhere indicating that they’re now part of the Trial.
And this is confirmed by the Pokémon website which has an image of the trainer deciding whether to take the Big Root from Sudowoodo or not. So it seems they must be dealt with now in order to gather the necessary ingredients for Mallow. We then see the Hokulani Observatory which has a new scene with Togedemaru and Charjabug. Could Sophocles’ Trial be completely different this time around rather than simply identifying Pokémon calls? He appears to have some new kind of invention up his sleeves as we soon see a mechanical Vikavolt go haywire. Will we actually have to fight that? Or is it the reason the Totem Vikavolt arrives this time? We’d assume it’s the latter option. Even Acerola’s Trial at the Thrifty Megamart is going to change in some way though it’s not clear how. We see her calling out, ‘Get Out’ over and over again making it seem as if you’ve somehow been trapped inside the abandoned store.
We know from Sun and Moon that it’s haunted by the Totem Mimikyu but maybe this time it’s a lot more proactive. It’s hard to say for sure though. We believe however that the Trials will mostly be the same, at least as far as the broad details. After all, despite the changes to Mallow’s Trial, we still see the Totem Lurantis sneak up behind the trainer, drawn by the food Mallow made. There’s definitely one exception though, Mina. In the original games, she didn’t have a Trial at all and wasn’t met until you reached the Vast Poni Canyon. But here, she seems to greet you as soon as you reach the Seafolk Village. Mina even replaces the Seafolk Chief as that exact spot, atop the Wailord boat, was where he appeared. So maybe Mina will fulfill his role this time around. We then see her in her parents’ house which is when the Trial officially begins though we don’t know what that Trial could be. Perhaps it takes place on Exeggutor Island? After all, that island was described as the home of a Trial in the past according to the Seafolk Chief in Sun & Moon.
Whatever happens, you do eventually battle Mina but she only has 3 Pokémon rather than her usual 5. This is likely because she’s fought during the main story rather than in the post-game. It’s going to be new, we just don’t know exactly what it is or if it’ll even tie in with her Fairy Pokémon specialization. This somewhat ties into Lillie as the trailer is quite upfront about the transformation she goes through over the course of Sun & Moon. That all seems to be the same as this conversation still happens at Aether Foundation before travelling to Poni Island. And this reaction, which was for the Seafolk Chief, is now very likely in regards to Mina. Then there’s this scene with Necrozma which again confirms that it will appear soon after either Solgaleo or Lunala does. It all seems the same, but then there’s this new poster for Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon where Lillie is actually holding a Pokéball. She never had her own Pokémon during Sun & Moon. Could she actually receive one here? And which Pokémon would it be considering those familiar with the original games know who obtains the third starter, so it couldn’t be that one.
That is unless a major change happens to the story, which is possible, but a little unlikely considering everything else we’ve seen. It could take a page from the anime and give her an Alolan Vulpix, but we really don’t know for sure. Hau also has a few new scenes in this trailer. One features him talking to the trainer in the Hau’oli Cemetery where he talks about helping you win.
It doesn’t seem related to Pokémon battles though. Instead, we think this is about the new Mantine Surfing. Now, we’ll get to a proper analysis of this new feature soon enough, but the reason we think this is what Hau is referring to is because we can see him cheering you on in the background after you first take off with the Mantine. Perhaps he’s the one who shows you the ropes when it comes to surfing. The other Hau scene takes place during the Japanese trailer in Paniola Town. He still runs up to challenge you like before, but this time his Starter in its first evolution will be alongside him. It’s a minor change, but we wonder what it could mean for him. He calls out for Pikachu and his team to do their best in Sun & Moon so maybe he’ll have a stronger connection to his Starter in this version? We can’t be sure, but that would be our best bet. But speaking of Pokémon, the new trailer also stated that there were more than 400 Pokémon to catch in Alola this time around.
That’s over 100 more than what was in Sun & Moon. Kalos still has the largest regional Pokédex at over 450, but it seems possible that Alola could match it in Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon. We even get a preview of some of the Pokémon that can now be found in the region, and it includes Tropius, Larvesta, Mareep, Larvitar, Zorua, Houndoom in Ultra Sun, and Manectric in Ultra Moon. And thanks to the arenas that we see them in, we actually have an idea of where some of them can be found. For example, Mareep’s battle shows Wela Volcano in the background which likely means it can be found there. And Zorua may even be catchable near Hau’oli City as we can see the trainer school nearby. The others are a bit harder to place though. However, there are still more Pokémon coming to Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon. The Photo Club artwork shows that Swirlix will be in the game while some of the actual pictures show both Inkay and Litwick.
The Japanese trailer even shows that Heracross will be catchable along with Dedenne. These are some really great additions and the Pokémon website even confirms something else. The Alola forms of Vulpix and Sandshrew will remain exclusive to the version they were in originally so Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon respectively. There’s still way more Pokémon to see make it into the game though. The trailer also showed off a bit more of the new Photo Club and how the pictures you take can be customized.
More importantly, the Pokémon website has an image of all the options. You can choose the models, which Pokémon will be part of the models, the background, how the models are posed, and what the Trainer is wearing. We see plenty of examples of the possibilities in the trailer and how nothing is really off limits. You can even set the background to be the Hau’oli Cemetery though we do suspect that you have to visit a location in order for it to be an option.
Once the photo is taken, different after effects can be added, which even includes the photobombing Hiker and Poliwag musical notes. Another photo from Hano Beach has an effect showing Poké Puffs from Kalos. Could they return in some form here or is it simply a reference? The same question goes for the clothes that your Trainer wears. Is it decided from all the clothes you’ve bought or is there a special selection that you choose from. After all, we see the Trainer dressed up in both the Black Belt’s clothes and even the full Team Skull uniform. It would be pretty great if we could run around Alola in those outfits and maybe even dress like the other Trainer classes in the game. But we’re not positive that that’s actually possible. For now, it seems more likely that it’s exclusive to the Photo Club, but we’d love to be proven wrong. But the Photo Club does serve a purpose besides taking cute pictures. According to the Pokémon website, it also increases the affection a Pokémon has for you.
It’s nothing too major but at least it has some kind of gameplay benefit too. The Japanese trailer shows a bit more of the mode where we can see the Iki Town background that also contains a juice stand as well as a demonstration of how the photos are customized. And those customization options are even listed out at one point though there’s only three pages of them, which seems a bit short. So maybe, like the backgrounds, they have to be unlocked as you progress through Alola? Finally, we have the brand new Mantine Surfing. In the our last analysis, we pointed out the new beach and how Mantine seemed to be a new Ride Pokémon, but it wasn’t obvious how it would be different from Lapras or Sharpedo.
Now we know. Players will be able to literally surf on it and the competition on the beach is to see who can earn the most points by pulling off various tricks. These tricks include some standard spins but also Pokémon-inspired moves like the Primarina Twist, the Gorebyss Spiral, and the Huntail Spiral. The mention of the last two might also indicate that the Clamperl line is now catchable in Alola. The Surfing game can basically be considered an expanded version of the Pikachu Surfing game from Yellow. But unlike that game where you just had to pull off tricks, there seems to be hazards when riding Mantine. In the Japanese trailer, we can see Tentacool litter the water and they must be weaved through, kind of a like a slalom.
In addition, there are Sharpedo that charge at you from the waves that must be dodged as well. We’d assume that hitting either of them would cause your score to lower. So Mantine Surfing really does seem to be a pretty exciting mini-game. However, Mantine serves another purpose. It can also be used to travel between the islands of Alola. The problem is, we don’t really know how much freedom we’re given. Is it as simple as riding a wave and trying to score as many points as you can as you go? Or will it be like Soaring in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire where we can freely go across the ocean to potentially find secrets among small islands? So far it seems to be the former based on this image with Corsola on a nearby rock.
That is an absolutely massive wave that never seems to go down. Additionally, looking at the new map of Alola, there really isn’t that much to see between the islands. Just a few boats and what appears to be schools of water Pokémon. What’s much more prevalent are the waves and how the waters seem pretty rough out there, especially compared to the original map from Sun & Moon. So we don’t think you’ll be able to freely explore the waters of Alola. This is more of a fun way to travel between the islands though we wouldn’t be too shocked if there was a surprise or two discovered using this method rather than simply flying with the Ride Charizard. Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon is starting to come together as its own unique experience. With new areas, new Ultra Beasts, more Pokémon to catch, and more side activities, this is looking more and more like the director’s cut of Sun & Moon, a definitive version that’s split in two due to the nature of Solgaleo and Lunala. But will it come together as a better experience than the original Alola adventure? It won’t be long until we find that out.
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