By Dalton McClain / January 24th, 2015
|Title||Pokémon Omega Ruby/ Alpha Sapphire|
|Publisher||Nintendo, The Pokémon Company|
|Release Date||November 21, 2014|
|Age Rating||ESRB – Everyone|
Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are the latest two games and are remakes of their GameBoy Advance counterparts, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. The game has been both praised and criticized for many aspects, like the new secret bases and the map being comprised of over 50% water. While it is true that the game has a lot of water, was it enough to quench my thirst for an amazing Pokémon remake? Let’s dive in and find out, shall we? For the majority, Game Freak has been pretty good at churning out Pokémon remakes, such as Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, which were pretty darn good. The game looked and felt a lot better than the games that they were based on. This is what I feel a remake should be, so I will be judging it not only as a game, but as a remake, as well.
Firstly, I’m going to talk about the graphics of the game. The graphics are a huge improvement over the original, and even slightly better than Pokémon X and Y, showing that the company is evolving and growing every passing minute. However, I do have one major problem with this game — the frame rate. I’m not talking about the frame rate for moving around because, oddly enough, that’s very solid. Instead I’m talking about the frame rate during battles. Whenever my Pokémon were fighting, and the camera zoomed in on them, I noticed a significant drop in frames. This was only a small problem, but it really took me out of the Pokémon experience.
Next, we have the oh, so wonderful music. The original soundtrack to the games remains intact, along with some remixes of favorites and some new custom songs specifically designed for the remake. Game Freak never fails to disappoint in the music department, and this game is no exception. The music is absolutely stupendous and is some of the best that I’ve heard from any Pokémon game thus far. The remixes perfectly capture the feel of the original, while, at the same time, also adding a new spin to spice it up. The music fits whatever is going on perfectly, and I think that that’s one of the best parts of any Pokémon game.
Finally, we have the part everyone’s been waiting so very patiently for: the gameplay. It’s your typical Pokémon game; you collect badges, collect all the Pokémon, beat the Elite Four and Champion, win the game, cry that you can’t beat anyone in competitive with your team that you’ve spent the entire game with and, finally, decide that Garchomp is your friend and proceed to wreck everyone who dares to oppose you. You know, the usual Pokémon stuff. Other than the slight frame rate issues from earlier, I don’t really have a problem with it, other than one slight thing… the game is WAY too easy.
I know, I know, I’m complaining about a kids game from Nintendo being easy, but just hear me out before you start spamming me with hate comments. I admit that, even today, I have some trouble with the original Pokémon Ruby for the GBA, but, in this game, I put in little-to-no effort and breezed through the game in only about 10 or so hours. Plus, the game didn’t help by giving me not one, but TWO free Mega Pokémon without me having to put in any effort, one of them being a LEGENDARY! I know that this was done in order to advance the story, but it seems a little ridiculous to be able to get a free legendary before you even fight the sixth gym leader. You could’ve just as easily done the same exact thing with a non-legendary. It just made the game a little bit too easy for me. Also, I love the idea of the EXP Share giving your full team experience, but I wish they would’ve implemented that a little bit later in the game, for balance reasons. I believe that they should’ve kept the EXP Share from the older games in there, and then given the one from Pokémon X and Y as an upgrade after you beat the game, to give the game some sort of difficulty. This way, the EXP share wouldn’t give experience to your whole team after a battle, and it would just give it to the Pokémon that was holding it. Granted, this game was not as bad as Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, with an entire button that does nothing except tell you how to play the game, but it still seemed pretty unnecessary.
The game also added in and updated some features, one of my favorite being the new and updated Secret Base system. The game has many secret base locations that you can choose from, each with their own diverse look and feel. You can decorate this how you wish and even create your own personal, little gym for battling people. This idea is really cool, and I think should be continued in later installments of the franchise. Some of the other features were the ability to ride Mega Latios and Latias (completely defeating the purpose of Fly), new Mega Pokémon and the re-addition of contests, with a special Cosplay Pikachu to help you through them. Speaking of contests, this was another of my favorite features that returned better than ever. I loved seeing all my Pokémon compete in glorious 3D and seeing their special moves come to life and knocking the socks right off of the judges. I genuinely like most of these features and think they add a lot to make this game actually pretty good.
I do have one little problem, however, and that comes in the form of a missing feature, the Battle Frontier. I know that everyone has already talked about this so much, so I’ll keep this short and sweet. We did get the Battle Maison from Pokémon X and Y, but at the cost of the nostalgia of a great feature from the original games, and I feel that it drives older fans away because they miss what they probably loved the most from those games. What I fear is that they will try to sell it as a DLC later on, and that just doesn’t sit right with me.
I guess the only thing I have left to talk about now is the Delta Episode that happens at the end of the game. I’m not going to spoil it for anyone, but it’s probably got some of the best storytelling that I’ve seen from a Pokémon game. The Delta Episode makes up for not having a Pokémon Emerald remake, giving us a completely new story with new characters and a special appearance by two very familiar legendaries. The only problems that I have with it are that, for one, you get yet another free legendary, and, two, it’s short. I get that it’s an epilogue, but, after seeing it, I really wanted more from it instead of the very lackluster ending that I thought it had. Despite the ending, though, The Delta Episode was, by far, my favorite part of the whole game.
So, there are my opinions on the latest Pokémon remakes. Were the games bad? No. Were they good? Kind of. I didn’t particularly hate these games, but they were simply flawed. As a long-time fan of the series, I am conflicted about what I’m going to score this game because they just don’t live up to the standards of a Pokémon game remake, but they’re still fun to play and have a lot of good aspects to them, so I think I’ll just split the difference. I just wish they would up the difficulty a little, so that old players, as well as new players can enjoy the series. What were your favorite/ least favorite aspects of the game, and what do you think of my review? Let me know down below, and, until next time, take care!
Review copy purchased by reviewer
3DSGame FreakNintendoPokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha SapphireReview