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Pokemon Sun and Moon Demo Footage and First Impressions

The free demo for Pokemon Sun & Moon is now available and ready to be downloaded from the 3DS eShop. The demo will give you a brief introduction of the Alolan region and allows you to explore a number of new features. The download is pretty hefty at 3058 blocks, but most SD cards should be able to handle it. We've played through the demo and recorded a walkthrough of it that you can catch after the break. Also included are some first impressions of the game from the demo from myself and fellow staff member Jonathan. Check them out below and enjoy the demo!

Rial Johnson

You know that feeling you get when turning on a new Pokemon game for the first time? That sense of adventure that fills your very core when the title music begins to play? The first time I felt that was on Christmas day in 2001 when I opened up a copy of Pokemon Silver, my first Pokemon game. Throughout the years, Pokemon has been continually able to draw that feeling of excitement from me each time I play a new game. Some ended up being better than others, but there's always that same sense of adventure.

This year, I got to experience that feeling a little bit early with the demo for Sun & Moon. And honestly, it's probably mostly because of the music. The island tunes are fantastic and funky and seriously got me ready to play some Pokemon. Especially the battle themes. It's probably the best Pokemon's music has ever been. The island environment is pretty cool too. Generation 7 is the most 3D a main-series Pokemon game has ever been, and it shows. Movement is not limited to eight directions and the environments have greater depth. It's refreshing and progressive without straying to far from it's predecessors.

The residents of Alola seem to have real character. Your mom comes fully equipped with her silly, motherly charm and your buddy Hau has an innocent islander vibe. The members of Team Skull act just like a stereotypical interpretation of a teenage thug and it works pretty well. Everything we seem so far indicates that Sun and Moon will be very story driven and bring a lot to the series.

As far as the demo of the gameplay goes, it's about what you'd expect; it's not incredibly engaging in it's own right, but it gets you hyped for more. You'll be briefly introduced to a few Alolan environments and have the chance to battle a few Pokemon. You're fully equipped with an Ash-Greninja (this can be transferred to the full version of the game) and you'll get to see Pikachu's new Z-move. You'll have no trouble completing it and it'll only take about 30 minutes. You'll probably leave the demo unsatisfied, but that's exactly what a demo should do: leave you hungry for more.

Jonathan N

My first experience with Pokemon was September 2000 with Pokemon Yellow, so I’ve been around since Generation 1. For a while now, each new generation’s initial wow factor has gradually worn themselves down but it finally feels like we really have something new to look forward to. Just running around the few areas in the demo feels much more lively.

Much like Rial, I really have to give credit to Game Freak for the atmosphere, particularly the music. The portrayal of the Alolan locales combined with the lively tunes presented to you really makes the world feel alive. So much character has been put into even this small vertical slice of the game that I just can’t wait to experience the main course. Even the people present have more character to them, having various expressions to convey the mood of each scene. Props out to Team Skull, their exaggerated actions and dialogue are a real treat.

But now to get down to the nitty-gritty. Did you ever experience performance issues in Generation 6, particularly in battle? Frame drops plagued both XY and ORAS for the battles, even in 2D (don’t every try triple battles with multiple Primal Groudons or Kyogres unless you like single-digit frame rates). Thankfully, Game Freak have finally managed a generally stable 30 frames per second, on New 3DS anyway. If you have an old 3DS, battles can still chug when both trainers and their Pokemon are visible on screen and it’s a real shame that it is. The demo, and most definitely the full game, disable extra functions on a normal 3DS much like other CPU intensive games like SSB and Monster Hunter. On New 3DS models, these functions aren’t disabled due to the boosted CPU power. For some reason though, both on New and old 3DS, using the camera to take pictures of Pokemon still suffers from a little performance issues (especially odd as this is the only part of the game in 3D).

Fortunately, the demo doesn’t just end today. From the point when you start, there are extra events for 5, 12, 18 and 24 days later. There’s still more to look forward to in the demo alone, let alone the full game. But until then, happy gaming, and malasadas for all!

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