Beta for Pokémon GO has finally come to a close. Here are the latest news right before the release of Pokémon GO on Android and Apple devices worldwide.
Pokémon GO was one of the biggest announcements to come to the gaming world, one of the first mainstream augmented-reality game for the Android and iOS mobile platforms. The game allows the player to locate, capture, train, and battle with pokémon, just like its predecessors. Pokémon GO comes with a wearable Pokémon GO Plus device that makes the experience even more immersive and acts as a Pokédex of sorts, alerting the player when a pokémon is nearby.
Developed first in 2013 by Satoru Iwata of Nintendo, Tsunekazu Ishihara of The Pokémon Company, and Tatsuo Nomura of Google Maps, people are expecting Pokémon GO to finally become publicly available this July.
Niantic has finally announced that the Pokémon GO beta and field testing already closed on June 30, 2016. Access to the mobile game has temporarily been disabled as preparation for the worldwide launch. Throughout the beta and field tests, a number of players were able to get their hands first on the Pokémon GO experience, helping Niantic improve the game by identifying bugs and problems. While we have been constantly updated with what’s happening inside the beta testings, what sort of new features are getting changed and added every so often, we finally hear what the beta testers have to say about the whole Pokémon GO experience. Will it be worth it? Is it worth all the hype?
The Verge starts off with a realistic comment: temper your expectations. Of course, augmented reality and the huge Pokémon GO trailer blew our minds off, but then again, we have to reel in our imaginations and place ourselves within the constraints of today’s technology. Nick Statt of the Verge writes the following.
“After spending a few days with the beta version of developer Niantic’s new mobile game, I can safely say the title mostly makes good on this promise. What’s holding it back, however, is the technology.
“AR software, coupled with the limitations of current phone hardware, can’t fully map out the environment or understand objects in physical space, not yet. It sounds silly to have expected such a mind-blowing experience in the first place, but it’s important to temper your expectations.”
A lot of Pokémon GO beta testers have been corroborating this information that you won’t necessarily see Snorlax lunging around a body of water or Charizard sleeping under a cave. For now, algorithms dictate where the pokémon will spawn—and pokémon floating along the sidewalk may very well be the best you can get for now.
We all loved the whole Pokémon franchise and we’ve all clocked in hundreds of hours battling wild pokémon, trying to catch ’em all. But the battle mechanics of Pokémon GO—or the lack thereof—is primarily what turned off Allegra Frank of Polygon.
“I’ve been playing Pokémon Go every morning for the past week, Nick, and I’m going to be honest: I don’t think I like it.
“I’d be walking down the street to the train station when, suddenly, my phone would vibrate and show me a Zubat in the middle of Manhattan. That’s cool, I guess… except for the fact that fighting and catching that Zubat played out nothing like it would in an actual Pokémon game. I just swiped a Poké Ball across the screen ad nauseam and hoped for the best. There’s no strategy to that, and, to me, there’s no fun.”
It’s understandable for Niantic and The Pokémon Company to tune down the roughly six-minute battle into this no-sweat capture mechanics since battling while walking on the street doesn’t seem too feasible nor safe. At the end of the day, Pokémon GO is a more casual game for those who don’t have the time or patience to invest anymore in the more hardcore Pokémon titles. It shows how mobile gaming is still very much different from handheld gaming.
More than the mechanics of the game, however, Mike Fahey of Kotaku notes that thanks to Pokémon GO, he actually got to learn more about the town he’s living in and visit more places since Pokémon GO pushes him to explore the outside world.
“In addition to walking around trying to find new Pokemon, I also think walking in general is rewarding in Pokemon GO. I’ve been living in the same neighborhood for over three years, and the short blurbs about some of the PokeStops near my apartment taught me things about the area I wouldn’t have known.”
While the gaming generation is usually blamed to be a generation that never goes out anymore, Pokémon GO might actually be the key to encourage these kids to go back to the streets. Hopefully, they don’t stay out too late, though, trying to capture a Golbat.
From what beta testers are sounding off, it seems like overall, Pokémon GO is going to be a unique and fresh take on the Pokémon franchise that we’ve all grown to love. Whether it is a good change or an unwanted change, you get to decide when Pokémon GO finally lands on mobile devices sometime this July.
For a comprehensive list of everything beta testers were able to uncover about Pokémon GO, check out the Pokemon GO COMPREHENSIVE Field Test Mega-Thread Details on Reddit.
[Image via The Pokémon Company]