The Pokemon Sun/Moon demo released today, October 18th 2016. It gives us our first hands on experience with the latest Pokemon game! How did our staff rate their experience?
Right off the bat I have to say I really enjoy Team Skull in this game. They are so charming compared to the last few major teams from both the grunts to Plumeria. Walking around and exploring the world with the dynamic camera angles and the new 3D models is also a treat. Every character in this game shoes personality and I think that is great.
However in terms of the core gameplay I realized straight away that this is still Pokemon. It does not feel any different being in battles or going through menus. The core of the series is still there even if it is now covered in a fancier coat of paint.
First of all, I must say the demo was shorter than I had expected. Right from the beginning, you get to meet some of the characters like Hau and some Team Skull members, whom you battle against. Overall, the core mechanics of battles remain the same as previous games. There are a few changes, though: you can see a move’s effectiveness right off the bat, which I feel it undermines a bit of the strategic aspect of battles. At the same time, you can finally check status changes during your turn. Most of the demo’s battles are fairly easy and there aren’t many of them either. You get to try out a Z-Move, an island trial, use the Poké Finder and explore a small bit of the entire world, which feels much more dynamic thanks to the new visuals and camera angles. No longer is the movement tile-based either. Characters are also more expressive, even the generic trainers you find in routes. As for the music, it definitely feels more tropical, fitting with the Hawaii-based setting. After clearing the trial, you can get the option to ride a Tauros, feeling like this will replace bikes from previous games. Some obstacles in the world can only be removed by riding Pokémon as well.
Overall, in spite of the new visuals and presentation, it doesn’t stray too far from the series’ roots. On the other hand, it finally feels that the series has done a complete jump to 3D thanks to movement, dynamics and even usage of 3D models for every aspect of the game, which reminds me of Pokémon Colosseum. On a technical side, using the Poké Finder results in significant frame rate drops, but otherwise, the game runs smoothly and consistently, with short loading times as well.
My first thought concluding the demo was that it was extremely short. Almost pointless in its length. My only real takeaway comes from the changes in mechanics and graphics. While not full-3D, this game does feel like a true 3DS experience, no doubt thanks to the more fluid movement. The environments are vastly superior to the 6th Gen games. This is still Pokemon as I know and love it, but the demo left me wanting.
But hey, I got that sweet Ash-Greninja, so that’s gravy.
What did you think of the Sun/Moon demo? Let us know in the comments!