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Pokemon Unite Beta Is Surprisingly Good, Almost Ready for Launch

It's said that 50% of the work always happens in the last 10%. That's a funny way of saying it takes a long time to add that last bit of polish to a game before it's done. To our surprise, the beta of Pokemon Unite is already most of the way there.

The game plays great on mobile hardware, running at a full 60fps on high settings on my Pixel 3. That is a massive achievement, especially for a game built in Unity, and the developers at Timi should be proud. The netcode for the game is also very stable and, more importantly, FAST. Everyone knows that Nintendo has lagged behind the competition (pun intended) with online games for almost two decades now. Games like Mario Kart and Smash Bros can be nearly unplayable due to stuttering and ping issues. Pokemon Unite, however, has none of these issues in all of our time testing it.

There are still rough edges, obviously. Some of the tutorials aren't fully in yet, and you'll occasionally come across a blank text box or an untranslated bit of Chinese. Some of the English translation is PAINFULLY literal and will surely benefit from a humanizing final pass. This is what that last 10% is for. You can guarantee Nintendo is using these last few months to go over every aspect of the game with their famously fine-toothed comb.

This Canadian beta test is more likely to gather data about the game's balance more than its core features. It's clear already that certain Pokemon (coughpikachucough) are way over-powered. With games as short as they are, these balance issues aren't as big a deal as they might be in other MOBA games. It will still be important to get it right however, because unlike other games there are fewer options to build and adapt your character to counter an individual opponent.

We look forward to seeing you on the battle field - whenever this game finally comes out.

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