Pokémon Sun and Moon Demo – Impressions
So Pokémon is kind of spooky right? There is a moon on the cover and one of the Pokémon is a scary bat, so… Ahh to hell with it, I love Pokémon and really want to talk about this demo. View this as a little interplay between the horrors of October and a short time to catch your breath before the frights return. That being cleared, the special demo of Sun and Moon hit this week and with it the leak of the entire Pokédex, which I will not discuss as I aim to play the game unspoiled. So set your sails for a first glimpse into the new region: Alola.
As the name might imply the new region is a heavily Hawaii-themed area. You are the new kid on the island and are given a Greninja as a gift form a mysterious person. From here you are led through the usual steps of a Pokémon game: meet your rival, meet the professor, get on a quest to do something for the professor etc. The odd things is that the most annoying tutorial of the series on how to catch Pokémon does not happen until the post-game when you can freely wander about. You also get to meet the new enemy team, a bunch of rejected hip-hop artists that now have found one another and formed the hilariously named Team Skull. Their intentions may seem trivial, since it is once again to steal Pokémon and one is fast to dismiss them as comic relief, but I will remind everyone that the last evil team, namely Flair, who at first came across as fashion obsessed hipsters turned out to be genocide seeking lunatics led by someone akin to Hitler. If that is to serve as a general direction, the endgame of Team Skull will probably involve the annihilation of the human race to turn them all into skeletons which would be kind of badass when you think about it.
– Brace yourselves for the return of the IGN water comments… –
What is to say about the gameplay at this point, it is Pokémon with its new little tweaks and add-ons which every generation brings with it. This time we get Z moves that can only be used one time per battle which are activated by embarrassing your Pokémon by doing you best dance moves and triggering a heightened state of shame which unlocks true power. There is a Pokémon Snap-esque minigame which I am not quite sure of as it heavily depends on how much and when it will be used in the final version. Most of the other changes are cosmetic, such as the trainers now being normal sized versions and not the miniature abstractions they used to be. In addition to that they are now also present in battles and stand behind their Pokémon which has me really worried about them when fireblasts and lightning bolts are thrown left and right.
– At least trainers now do something other than shouting commands. –
There are also minor adjustments to improve usability such as balls now being only a button press away instead of having to navigate the menu. One of these is also the necessity of having to press A to enter doors. This is a step I feel uncomfortable with and while this makes me sound like the most nitpicky guy ever imagined, I have good reason: I don’t understand why. I’d assume in testing they discovered people were too often entering places they did not want to go into and thus made sure to prevent that. First of all, I did not get the feeling that navigation was hard, second, if that was your problem then you should probably tweak your controls and not the interaction with doors. Anyway, that is enough petty stuff. The highlight of the demo was something promised in X and Y, but which was only present in a very minor and limited way: Riding Pokémon. But now it is here. In the city, in the field, on the beach, in the water, in the sky, you name it. I am not sure which Pokémon will be rideable, but it was a blast in the demo. Fingers crossed for surfing with Swampert (probably not going to happen).
– While the grass owl Rowlet is probably the best starter yet, I have a life-time commitment to water types. –
The demo gives us a good impression of the new little additions to this long established franchise. The music is catchy so far, but I need to test out the long term annoyance factor before I can make any safe judgements about that. In total, I had fun with the demo and the Greninja you get to keep for the full game is a nice added bonus. The strongest aspect of Pokémon is accessibility, meaning the irrelevance of which game to start with and this demo proves this once more. I look forward to the full version, though take that opinion with a grain of salt seeing as Pokémon and Kingdom Hearts are the only games I cannot view objectively.
Image sources in order of appearance:
- http://cdn.idigitaltimes.com/sites/idigitaltimes.com/files/2016/06/02/alola-islands720-pokemon-sun-moon.jpg (Last date of access: 20.10.2016)
- http://omnigamer.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Screenshot-17edit.png (Last date of access: 20.10.2016)
- http://cdn.pursuitist.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Litten-Rowlet-and-Popplio-Pokemon-Sun-and-Moon.png (Last date of access: 20.10.2016)