Nintendo 3DS

Hands On With The Pokémon Omega Ruby And Alpha Sapphire Demo

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The Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire demo opens with Steven and you (preset to the male protagonist, named Orlando) flying on Latios. He swoops down into the world, and things kick off from there.

 

The moment I landed in Mossdeep, I was truly taken aback by the scale of the town. Though Mossdeep always was one of the larger towns in the game, it is truly enormous (though slightly empty for it) with the new 3D graphics. The background music is beautifully orchestrated, although some people may be somewhat disappointed at the lack of dominating brass instruments. The water texture, the rocks along the side of the island, and the mangroves standing outside Mossdeep are all vividly detailed, and the Space Center actually has a launch pad this time around!

 

Unfortunately, since this was just a demo, all of the houses are locked, and your only real option is to talk to Steven. Steven guides your adventures in your demo, and he and a Latios or Latias will take you to a nearby island every time you start up the game and complete a mission. The first time is the main quest, where Steven takes you to a cavern where a new Mega Evolution Pokémon is hiding.

 

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The introduction to the battles with Teams Magma and Aqua were re-done, and I really enjoyed the effects implemented here. Tabitha and Matt also appear (Admins for Team Magma and Aqua, respectively), and their banter is a nice example of the dialogue in the new games. Technology has advanced enormously since the Game Boy Advance, so the dialogue in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire is a lot smoother than that in the original games. The sentences flow better, and are generally longer. In Pokémon Emerald, they were shorter and felt cut down because of the character limit. You could tell the localization team was working within restrictions. Now, everyone is amazingly eloquent.

 

More importantly, in terms of personality, the dialogue still is oddly quirky as ever, with people calling each other "pretty boy," and saying they’re "practically trembling with excitement at the limitless potential" in you. It wouldn’t be Pokemon without it.

 

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I feel like the battle animation is actually a bit faster than here than in Pokémon X and Y, with throwing animations and battle attacks being slightly quicker. Most everything else is the same, although I’m not a big fan of the bottom screen during battles. (I think it would look more at home in Pokémon Black and White.) Unfortunately, the heavy lag present when you turned 3D on during battles in X and Y is also present here.

 

There is one new feature that is hard to miss, though, since it takes up the bottom screen on your 3DS the whole time. The BuzzNav is designed like a live Pokémon News feed, with an announcer spewing loads and loads of events, advertisements, random editorials, and gameplay hints independent of your gameplay. It just keeps going. I’m sure at some point you will get the option to switch out from this screen, but until then, you can see hints about many of the events in the main game.

 

Another new feature that is introduced is the ability to sneak around. This can be done anywhere by slowly moving the Circle Pad, and I honestly like this set up of Run, Walk, Sneak better than Pokémon X and Y’s Skate, Run, Walk. I think it allows for tighter control of your character, although it sacrifices speed and renders the D-pad useless.

 

After you beat up the Admins and capture the new Pokémon, Steven takes you back and the demo ends. Despite this, you can still play the demo over again for other quests by talking to Steven again. Every time you complete a mission, the demo will save and then end. Sometimes, you can even receive gifts for completing these runs. This can be repeated multiple times.

Laura