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SM or USUM?

~Kilza~

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So both Gen 7 games took place in Alola, with Sun/Moon being the originals and Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon taking SM and making some changes/additions to them. So which one did you prefer more? Which one would you recommend for somebody who hasn't played either game?
 

DeletedUser02525

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Well, ignoring some US/UM feature I classify as completely unnecessary... *looking at you, Rotroll Pokédex advice*, I would say S/M feels incomplete in many parts compared to the 2nd release.

US/UM feels like a much more complete game, in my opinion. There's a lot of content I enjoy: examples are the Mantine Ride, the wider quantity of Pokémon in the wild, the Ultra Wormhole in which you can catch a lot of useful stuff, Matsurika's trial, Team Rainbow Rocket, less lag, etc...

Another thing. I think S/M is a bit too much focused on Lillie, which I'm not even a big fan of.
 

smoky

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i’d like to preface i haven’t actually finished usum but i know basically everything that happens already ok cool

i think usum is better tbh. i know i hate on it a lot, but comparing it to sm, it definitely feels more complete. sm felt very rushed and boring at times. usum still has those issues, but the newer features help fill in gaps that were stale. it still has lots of flaws, but it’s better than sm and i’m sticking with that.
 

Rubad Ubdub

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USUM felt like what SUMO should have been. Instead they released the Early Access version of it then made you buy the complete version separately.
 

Dregran

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USUM is more enjoyable if you've played SM, but I'm with the consensus here that USUM is better.
 

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I would love to say USUM, but to be honest? I haven't even finished the games yet (rip lack of free time). I have far more fonder memories SOS shiny chaining with friends in SM and talking about how amazing the games are, how interesting the plot was even if it can be summed up as family drama at the end of the day.

USUM may be better in terms of things like being overall more polished than SM (as third games typically are), but I've had more fun playing through SM, so I'm going to go with that.
 

Pendraflare

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I know there are a handful of people here who have made their distaste for Ultra over the original clear, but I am not one of them. Not to discredit the original games at all, but Ultra has many more small touches with greater involvement that make it more enjoyable for me to play. More challenge factor, too. While I may have done more in my main copy of Sun than Ultra Sun, I've felt more engaged throughout the adventure in Ultra than the original. And likewise I'd recommend Ultra if one could only go with one.

I mean, I've talked about how Gen VII parallels Gen V in terms of how their first games are significantly more story-driven than a majority of the main series has, and they're followed with a second game with a more washed down story but attempts to make up for that with much more involved gameplay. So, depends on which you'd rather have there.
 

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Here I go again, back on my essay mess.

Story/Characters
S/M has a clear story that, for better or for worse, flows with a specific trajectory from beginning to end. Sure, many people dislike the focus on Lillie, but I don't fault Lilly as a character for that; rather, I fault the pacing in general, which most games struggle with anyway. The rivalry between Kukui and Guzma was interesting, but it was never really explored past the first interaction between them. However, the story they did tell was pretty good, and they made so many of the characters likable — not to the level of Gen 5, but definitely more so than most other generations. The first few captains are pretty involved, but then they kinda drop away as the games continued. Lusamine is a threat that has never been seen in an official Pokémon game; anyone with any sort of genre savviness would have seen the twist coming with the foreshadowing, but it was still neat. The player character, however, never once had any stake in the story; Guzma fights you because of his rival with Kukui, Gladion fights you because of affiliation with Team Skull, Lusamine fights you because of Lillie, et cetera. The player character could just not be there, and I'm sure the scenes could play pretty much the same.

US/UM begins exactly the same. Same character beats, same interactions, same foreshadowing, same order. However, about halfway through, a huge twist happens that frames Lusamine as the "good guy". That single change rips the story in half, because Lusamine is never shown to be manipulative or obsessed after that. Lillie and Gladion are made to look like fools for stopping Lusamine, and that goes against everything that was set up. The Ultra Recon Squad (whose name is just as obvious a hint as Lysandre's hair and monologue) adds nothing to the story except clunky exposition and terrible battles; Ultra Space was not explored nearly as well as it should have been, and nothing is different between it and the human world except how dark most of it is. Key points of the main story is dropped and replaced with nothing; Lusamine lost all of her standout moments, Lillie and Gladion hadd their motivations ruined, and Guzma was never shown actually changing his mind like in the original (making his change of heart later come somewhat out of nowhere). However, the later captains were given things to do, earlier captains were able to be battled (which is something I really wanted), and Hau finally gets to conclude his character arc in a meaningful way. In fact, this game made Hau my favorite rival character in all of the games. Additionally, Faba came into his own (sorta) with the Rainbow Rocket mini-story.

Hau, Molayne, and Mina all benefited from US/UM, and Faba actually had a point; however, many more character suffered from the terrible translation of the story, and the new characters were painfully useless. As such, I prefer S/M in terms of characters and story.

Features/Postgame
S/M brought a fair level of difficulty in some places, but I didn't lose any battles (even though I came close). The Battle Royal was interesting but undercooked, and Zygarde Collection was weird. The PokéPelago was convenient but dull, and the Festival Plaza was half-baked. The Battle Tree is probably the best version of a standalone copy of Crystal's Battle Tower that we've gotten so far, but it's still not very fun with the lack of variation. Ultra Beasts are of limited supply, making them much more like legendary Pokémon; I did enjoy that Looker mission (including Anabelle's involvement), and I also enjoy how they brought in Necrozma that way.

US/UM is much more complete, though. It has all of the things I've mentioned before, new locations (Ultra Space, though that's still undercooked), Mantine Surf (perfect for BP), Photo Clubs (which I used quite a bit), Roto-Powers, and more. The Festival Plaza was still clunky, but you could make it look cool with a Team Rocket skin. And speaking of "Team Rocket skin", the Rainbow Rocket postgame plot was actually exciting, in its own dumb way. While I was playing through it, I just kept thinking about how similar it was to the many different crossovers that I've watched in Power Rangers; however, once that ended, that's all there was. All that was left was the Battle Tree. This just feel more complete.

So obviously, this would go to US/UM. Both games are strapped for many features and postgame content, but US/UM delivered a much more complete experience.

Extra Discussion
I think that the main reason why so many people are so loud to dislike US/UM is the marketing. People expected another B2/W2, but they got something different. People hoped to have a significantly different storyline, but it remained too familiar for too long, then snatchd the rug from under us in an unsatisfying way. After the initial shock of that, it could have been received similarly to something like Platinum, fixing a bunch of problems with the mechanics and engine while only changing some small chunks of the story; however, most of the grievances of S/M stayed in US/UM, such as the hand-holdy tutorial, the terrible online interface, the overly lengthy unskippable cutscenes, and the inability to rematch trainers. I thoroughly enjoyed some of the changes that US/UM made with the totems and Necrozma. However, there were way too few changes in the beginning, and the sudden turn in the middle was terribly executed. The story in S/M was heavy-handed, yes; but come US/UM, such things was only viewed as lazy, especially considering how being an "alternate universe" to S/M was such a selling point to begin with.

Conclusion
So if you're into Pokémon for story, I'd first recommend Platinum, B/W, and B2/W2. But if I had to stick with Gen 7, then I'd say to play S/M. The story is heavy-handed, but it at least follows a logical progression. US/UM's story feels like the writers picked a point in the script and said "this is where we'll start doing stuff differently" without adjusting the story before that point in order to actually fit.

If you don't care about story and just want to explore and catch Pokémon, then US/UM will be your best bet. It has the more features and content, and the region actually feels more complete (not as much as Sinnoh, Unova, or remake Johto, but definitely more than S/M and Kalos). The regular trainers a bit more difficult, the totems are definitely more difficult, and you get to find way more Pokémon in general. Plus, it has all of the items due to S/M not being updated, so competitive battling would be better done there anyway. US/UM is honestly better at nearly everything than S/M except story cohesion. If story isn't what you most care about, then you might as well skip S/M and go with the more complete game.

A slight upgrade is still an upgrade.
 

Neb

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I lean more towards the original SM because of the fact that USUM didn’t add as much as the other third versions.
 
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