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SPOILERS: The Difficulty Discussion (USUM)

Face the Darkness
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Well, it's time, I searched for this thread but failed to find anything and as such, I decided to make it. As always feel free to let me know if this thread already exists.

For a long time now many have complained that the difficulty of these games is to easy. In usum Gamefreak seems to have answered these cries by uping the difficulty. Now USUM are not the dark souls of Pokemon or anything like that. But I noticed that a lot of trainers are harder to handle and can actually knock out a few of your Pokemon if you're not ready. Pokemon owned by most in-game trainers only have three moves in order to make it so the AI picks a good move more often or to make sure they execute a specific strategy when needed.

In addition, there is also the big difficulty spike that is the fight with Ultra Necrozma. This fight can and probably will end nuzlock challenges if you go in unprepared and his type coverage is amazing.

So now the question is this difficulty just right, is it too much, or is it still not hard enough?
 
Darth Ignis
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I took Ultra Necrozma down with Mimikyu and it's Z-move. Mimikyu's ability is really useful.
 
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Just looking at the boss design, I think they did hear the complaints about XYORAS being too easy. There's so much more effort put and care into it, with Totems making use of things like held items, egg moves, and genuine doubles strategies. I've even heard that some Pokemon have EV's invested into them?
 
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Yes, the difficulty is the best part of the game. This time they took the Exp Share into account, so if you don't choose to battle wild mons you can be very unprepared for a certain battle. Also, my team was very slow, so I had a lot of fun on this part. I hope they continue the trend.

However, there are some times where they made the same mistake they did in SM: If you know about type matchups, the battle is made a thousand times easier. This happened to me with Ultra Necrozma, which I 3HKNO with Mimikyu.
 
Stuck
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How many of you used the Exp. Share? I suspect that the challenge only applies to those who keep it off more often than not, but hey, whatever works.
 
ᴛʜᴇ ɴᴀᴍᴇ'ꜱ ᴘᴏɴᴅ, ᴊᴀᴍᴇꜱ ᴘᴏɴᴅ
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I think this difficulty was close to just right. It certainly wasn't a walk in the park like Generation 6 and it was more difficult than Sun & Moon. Notably, the Totem Battles were all much more difficult-Totem Araquanid, Marowak, Togedemaru, Mimikyu and Ribombee all gave me trouble. Like its been said before, the combination of Egg Moves, Move Tutor moves, held items, and synergy were all nicely done and well thought out. Additionally, some of the scripted battles were difficult too like Hau's on Ula'ula. Then there's the infamous Ultra Necrozma-nothing more needs to be said here. The TM rearrangement added to the difficulty too (ex. no more Scald before the 2nd Trial!).

Lastly, I really like the EXP system for this generation. In tandem with things like Pokemon Refresh, it helps you to be strong but not overlevelled-so even using the EXP Share isn't as big a game breaker as the generation before it. It certainly helped add to USUM's difficulty, otherwise this all would have been a rehash of Generation 6.

Now, there are still some elements I wish USUM would have utilized to truly make the game my definition of difficult-namely, having trainers have more than one Pokemon in a party and having opposing Pokemon have full move-sets. There are so many instances where your opponent only knows 1-3 moves-it's ridiculous. I don't know who at Game Freak thought this would be a grand idea to start implementing, but it sucks and they should be demoted.

Anyways, I digress. I do think USUM's difficulty was a step in the right direction and should be the new basis going forward. Maybe we can recapture the authentic challenge that was Generation 2-4, someday.
 
ᴛʜᴇ ɴᴀᴍᴇ'ꜱ ᴘᴏɴᴅ, ᴊᴀᴍᴇꜱ ᴘᴏɴᴅ
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How many of you used the Exp. Share? I suspect that the challenge only applies to those who keep it off more often than not, but hey, whatever works.
I hate using the EXP Share because I detest overlevelling. Admittedly though, I used it upon arrival on Poni Island because my team was quickly beginning to be outmatched in level the higher we climbed at the Aether Paradise. I turned it off once everyone reached about level 50 though.
 
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I would say it's the second hardest Pokémon game I have played, behind HGSS. While I didn't particularly find myself struggling with the battles as such, I got Ultra Sun for my 9-year-old niece who is really getting into Pokémon (and already had played X&Y), and I felt it was necessary to warn her that this game was MUCH harder than those games.
 
"What do you mean, my Gengarite is contraband?!"
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Hard Pokémon games and I, we have this interesting dynamic.

The harder it is, the more seriously I take it, thus it begins to actually feel easy. I felt it with the Sinnoh games (beat Cynthia with four Pokémon), Super Mystery Dungeon (defeated Yveltal on the first attempt with a Chikorita hero), and now Ultra Moon (Amnesia Primarina beat Ultra Necrozma 1v1). In comparison, I played through the Gen VI games more whimsically because those aren't really touted as challenging games in comparison.

Simply, when a Pokémon game pushes me, I push back.
 
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I quite liked the increased difficulty of USUM. After the extreme easiness of Gen 6 games, a little more difficulty is always welcome. It could still use adjustment (for example, I'd make Exp. Share a held item again, or slightly reduce its effectiveness, not to mention improving AI a bit more).
 
Face the Darkness
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How many of you used the Exp. Share? I suspect that the challenge only applies to those who keep it off more often than not, but hey, whatever works.
I didn't use the EXP share but I was raised on gen 1 so I still grind out of habit so I would probably be the worst person to ask about this. Still even considering this I could definitely feel the increased challenge during boss fights even some npc trainer fights. Not only that but that challenge feels different than the kind of challenge gen 1 provided. In gen 1 it often feels like it's the multitude of trainers and the rarity of money and healing items that provide the difficulty, not anyone trainer or boss fight.
 
Lovely
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I'll just straight up say that I kept the exp.share on ever since Totem Lurantis because I do not like being stuck at one place for days and watch my pokemon repeatedly die. (I had Flareon, but it wasn't able to withstand Solar Blade) Besides, if overlevelling was going to be my only chance of winning the difficult battles, what's the point of stressing myself out by deliberately staying underlevelled. Keeping the exp.share off made the game hellish, but keeping it on didn't make it a walk in the park. It was still difficult even with overlevelled mons.

Almost every Totem battle required me to soft reset at least 3 times because they kept killing off my team. Biggest offenders being the Water Spider, Marowak (that Salazzle as its helper ._.), Lurantis, Togedemaru, Mimikyu, and Ribombee.

I even lost a couple of rival battles because my pokemon just kept flinching when Hau's Torracat used Bite. Guzma's Vikavolt packing Flash Cannon also caught me off guard.

Necrozma Dusk and Ultra Necrozma were, surprisingly, the only battles I found quite tolerable, even easy. Biggest reason being that they never healed themselves, unlike Yveltal who kept sucking the life outta my mons for its own HP, or Primal Groudon who'd spam Rest. So one successful Toxic via Salazzle on both of them, and a few health restoring items later, the game was set. And mind, my Salazzle, despite being the weakest member of my team, loved me so much that she survived a supposedly guaranteed OHKO with 1 HP.

The E4 were pretty exciting. Molayne's use of Prankster Klefki really surprised me. So many spikes XD.

So, thus, my opinion of the difficulty of USUM:
Totem battles>>Trainer battles>>>Necrozma/Ultra Necrozma
 
Son of Two Deities
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I wish the games would include an optional "Phoenix Mode" difficulty like in Fire Emblem Fates.

*holds up flame shield*
 
Outlaws for Life
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I can't deny that USM were harder than SM, but overall they're still a bit on the easy side. Trial Captains and Kahunas were the only boss trainers to use Z-Crystals, while Lusamine and Guzma's aces lacked held items. The totems and U-Necrozma were a step in the right direction in my opinion; their movesets exploited their abilities and types, and used held items to their advantage. U-Necrozma's moveset enabled it to counter a wide variety of types.
I believe USM's difficulty is proof Pokemon needs an actual difficulty system like most modern games. This way, GameFreak can have a game that's easy for kids and casual play, but difficult for people wanting a challenge.
 
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Gobble Gobble Gobble
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I think they definitely upped it. I haven’t beaten it yet, but not having a full team and being on the last island I still have to grind or run to the poke center and whatnot. I also may just have a tram that can’t take hits but still pretty difficult despite only training four Pokémon currently.
 
"What do you mean, my Gengarite is contraband?!"
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I think the only battles which really threw me off my game were the Totem Kommo-o and Ribombee ones. It wasn't too bad with the former's Poison Jab as Primarina still managed to pull through, but I had to reset against the latter and use Primarina's Wonder Room just to let Kartana survive some hits and pull off the Corkscrew Crash wincon.
 
Now with a m̶e̶g̶a̶ Gigantamax
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I will admit, this game is a bit more challenging for me than the last few entries. I haven’t actually beaten it, I’ve just been busy, but I just beat Lusamine for the first time. I’ve had to reset a couple times during her battle, Guzma’s battle, and a couple totems just cuz I didn’t start with the right Pokémon or I had to figure out a strategy. That said, I’m also not using the exp. share, and I also kind of hinder myself by using relatively weaker Pokémon, like Sudowoodo and Lunineon. The challenge is fun.
 
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TBH... every game is difficult or easy. Imo, it all depends on how your team is build-up.

For example: If you have a Bug and Grass type as your Pokemon, and your opponent has only one Pokemon but has a Fire type, then that battle is more difficult (Despite you having the advantage with more Pokemon) than against a Pokemons opponent that is weak or neutral against yours.
 
PK.......
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The difficulty in this game has definitely been upped a lot. I'm a lazy person and hate grinding, so I just turn the Exp. Share on. And even then I still have trouble with certain trainers. However, since I had already played Pokemon Moon it wasn't too difficult because I already expected what a trainer has, which kinda killed the toughness of the Elite 4. Also, I believe B2W2's normal mode is harder than USUM.
 
Call of Fate
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I can't say much about the difficulty, since I have yet to play the games, but are Trainers using Pokemon with incomplete movesets late in the game really necessary? It borders on lazy. In Generation IV, this wasn't a thing, and the games were challenging but still playable.
 
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