The demo for Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon has been released today and with it, a lot of new information about the new style of play and structure of the next instalment in the franchise. Playing through the really short demo with Greninja by your side, you first have a nice introduction to the new region with your brand new mother and some pretty chill background music. Very islandly, it is quite nice.
You begin in Hau’oli City a large coastal town that is presumably the first stage in your journey, considering that is where you leave your Mum and meet Hau, the friendly trainer who is going to help you throughout this journey. However before you can do that you have a little run in with the new evil team – Team Skull. Ambling in with their crappy hip-hop moves (how I love these guys) they challenged my Trainer to a battle with a bravado that was not backed up by their skill.
Changes To The Battle Format
First and foremost we are given a new set up of the options screen, where we select what action we want to take. It now encompasses the digitalised field of battle in many ways making it a lot neater and still showcasing all the information we need to have at our fingertips. However the top screen still plays the rotating view of the battlefield and all combatants. But with the lower screen we are able to see any and all battling Pokemon so to make a proper decision as to what our next aggressive or defensive move will be.
As for the digitalised Pokemon, they serve another purpose other than simply animated bundles of joy. If any Pokemon are inflicted with a nerf or buff to their stats such as is given by Leer or Defense Curl, a plus mark appears on the Pokemon affected. Tapping on the Pokemon will showcase the above screen, presenting all seven stats, each with six dots next to them. The dots gain or lose arrows as they are nerfed or buffed. Your Pokemon can be boosted to a total of six buffs per stat and, while it didn’t result in that, I presume it can be reduced by six dots per stat also. This provides a more visual interface allowing Trainers to consider their next moves more carefully. Definitely more user friendly.
When opening up the Fight screen we are given a new and improved view of the Fight screens we are used to from Pokemon X and Y and Pokemon ORAS. The moves utilisable are now held on the sides and have some cool new shading based on what type they are (awesome). We also have the Z-Power (when one is applicable) held on the left hand side and when selected brings up another screen that overlaps the moves on the right. This screen showcases the different types of Z-Moves available. Within this demo we were only granted Gigavolt Havoc. But the fact that you can select different Z-Moves suggests that Pokemon can learn more than one depending on the Crystals you find. If that is the case I am even more hyped for this new battle system.
However on the flip side, the fact that Z-Moves occupy such a large space in the Fight screen may mean that there will be no Mega Evolution in the Alola Region. But have hope Mega Evolution lovers, it may just mean that any Pokemon that Mega Evolve cannot also utilise Z-Moves. As such the selectable screen will change depending on what item your Pokemon is holding.
Further providing assistance to trainers both new and old, we are also given an information button. When clicked it displays information about the type of attack, how it functions, how much PP you have left and stuff like that. Also in certain battles the moves themselves contain the notion of whether or not a move will be super effective or not effective on your current target. It was within a battle against a Totem Pokemon that I noticed this so it could possibly only be present in wild Pokemon battles. This would help to develop a working knowledge of the different Pokemon typings, their strengths and weaknesses, while at the same time not providing too much assistance in actual battles.
The new world of Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon is revamped too. Just look at the Pokemon centre. Refined, elegant, charming – we have the main elements we have come to expect from these Poke-hubs, that is the healing station womaned by a red haired nurse, as well as a PokeMart. However on the left hand side there is a new vendor – a Cafe. Whether this will be a place to buy stat boosting items for your Pokemon or cool food for your Trainer to eat is still unknown as the owner was off buying exotic ingredients or making Poffins or something. Long story short he wasn’t there.
However there is a lot more detail in the Alola Region. Faces and personal details are more distinct. Every one in the world is no longer short and stumpy and there is a lot more colour and variation – especially when it comes to clothes. The cities or at least Hau’oli city is large with longer streets and more detailed buildings. Not just the city but the entire world seems larger, with the camera being tilted at such an angle to give you views of the horizon as well as a little more detail of the world in directions that just do not consist of sideways or up and down.
The Alola Region of Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon feels more open and refreshing that I for one can hardly wait to dive in to this new Pokemon adventure.