Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire aren’t going to turn anyone who doesn’t like Pokemon into a believer, but then, that isn’t their goal. Instead, they set out to take the Pokemon that we know and love, and deliver the best version of it .
We were never big fans of Hoenn, the region where the third generation of Pokémon games took place, but Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire changed our minds. These remakes go beyond the usual new lick of paint and give players so many cool new mega evolutions, story lines and overhauled versions of familiar locations, that the whole experience feels almost as fresh as X and Y did.
Once again, the main series of Pokemon games have kept its traditions intact with players battling, trading and training. New additions keep bringing players back with each new release. Plus, with The Pokemon Company International ratcheting up competitive support for these games at its live event, there is seemingly no end to what is possible for Pokemon.
And now I find myself in 2014 with a shiny new 3D remake and everything is okay. Everything is more than okay. I can finally go out into the Hoenn region and discover the magic that it was supposed to have all of those years ago. And believe me, from one Pokémon master to another, the magic is there.
It says Pokemon on the box and that's what you get: A loving rework of 2003's GBA game that beats Pokemon X and Y in technical terms. Some issues of the originals are still present here, but don’t do much to lessen the package.
Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby are worthy updates of classic games from the Pokemon pet battle series. They add modern graphics and sound, the gameplay updates of the previous few installments, and the new evolutions without ruining the nostalgia of the original Sapphire and Ruby titles.
Considered in this way, Pokémon looks kind of like a Le Corbusier chair: everything in its right place, nothing without purpose, all parts contributing toward a clear, singular end. Then again, also like a Le Corbusier chair, it's a lot more comfortable in theory than in practice.
Pokemon XY + ORAS allowed you to complete the entire Gen 6 National Pokedex, all the way up to 721 (after mythical events). The competitive scenes were absolutely revolutionary for their time. Gen 6 featured a bigger Smogon than ever and the two most recognizable VGC tours to this date. The Vs. Recorder was a sandbox that allowed you to create matches against AIs in any way you wanted. This worked especially if you had 2 consoles with 2 compatible games. Gen 6 had the best online system to this date with the PSS having extremely convenient interface. Gen 6 introduced 3D models and advanced interaction with your Pokemon, allowing you to connect with them more. The 3DS games had some of the deepest lore in the series to talk about with other people. Super Secret Bases in ORAS ensured the Hoenn region was kept alive with something new and refreshing potentially coming every day. The introduction of megas were amazing and they gave the series so much life. This mechanic aimed to focus more on connecting the player to the Pokemon they have, unlike Dynamax and Terastallization. Gen 6 also expanded on shinies to make them more feasible to obtain, which gave rise to a dedicated shiny hunting community. Gen 6 was a time where the entire Pokemon community was at its most united since Gen 1, all because it mastered the fundamentals of what made Pokemon stand out while also leaving a lot to play with and discuss. You could really catch them all and aim to be the very best, like no one ever was.
I'm putting this up just for Omega Ruby in case I want to use Alpha Sapphire to elaborate on my thoughts on ORAS specifically. atm I just wanted to give this game a score.
Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire take the region of Hoenn and bring it into full 3D, at a cost. The graphics are appealing and the music has also leapt forward from the Game Boy Advance. However, when it comes to content, these games are a noticeable step back from Emerald. Features that made Hoenn so hugely memorable, such as the Battle Frontier, were ignored. In fact, unlike Heart Gold and Soul Silver including almost all of Crystal's additional content, ORAS includes almost nothing from Emerald. It even retains the archaic double battle system from Ruby and Sapphire where the opponent can only use two Pokémon total, when every game from Emerald onward had double battles with more than that.
The game even misses content from the original Ruby and Sapphire. The Safari Zone, an area where you catch Pokémon with bait and rocks as a change of pace, was **** to be exactly the same as any other area you catch Pokémon in. The Game Corner, a building with slots and roulettes, was removed for censorship purposes and nothing was added in its place, again in contrast to Heart Gold replacing the Game Corner with a fun new minigame. Several areas were changed for the worse, shrinking places like New Mauville and Mt. Pyre and changing the small crossroads of Mauville City into essentially a gaudy shopping mall that's tedious to navigate.
The difficulty was also cut down and more handholding was added. Pokémon is already an easy series, but this game will insult your intelligence if you're more than five years old. It retains the new Experience Share from Pokémon XY, levelling your Pokémon far higher than the difficulty curve expects them to be at. This is able to be turned off, but it being on by default meant plenty of people went through the game without any challenge whatsoever, and Pokémon is not a series you just play for the story.
To end on a positive note, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire do add new features that improve the game from the original. The Dexnav is a new device that allows you to find Pokémon with special moves and abilities that you normally can't get in the wild, specializing your party if you choose to use it. The Secret Base feature from the originals was expanded to have online features and allows you to set up your own Gym, and I had a lot of fun messing with it. However, the game as a whole is missing content compared to the versions on the Game Boy Advance, and what is there has been watered down in some places. If you've never experienced a Pokémon game set in Hoenn, I recommend looking for a copy of Pokémon Emerald instead. It gives a much better single player experience.
SummaryPokemon gamers initially experienced Pokemon Ruby Version and Pokemon Sapphire Version when it launched in 2003 for the GBA. Now, a new generation of Pokemon people can experience the storyline that unfolds in Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire.