Back to Hoenn 12 years later.
The gameplay is done on Pokemon Alpha Sapphire.
Like everyone else, playing Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire brings back memories of the original games, first released back in 2002. This is the third time Pokemon released a remake game, but the first that runs in the full 3D, glorious engine shared with Pokemon X and Y. The result is a beautiful game full of nostalgia. However, the game missed the opportunity to fix some problems first presented in the original game, and it reminded me: Were Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire really good games in the first place?
Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire play like every other Pokemon games, with the main protagonist’s goal is to capture Pokemon, collect gym badges and eventually challenge the Elite Four. The game also features a villainous team, but unlike the other games, different version features different villain team. Alpha Sapphire features Team Aqua, whose goal is to cover the world in ocean. Omega Ruby features Team Magma, whose goal is to expand the landmass of the world.
It’s really something seeing an old game coming to life in the present day. From the opening animation where the protagonist is in the back of a moving truck, to the ending sequences after you defeated Elite Four, it’s great to see some classic moments in full 3D graphics. The weather effects are more obvious than ever in the remake, and there are some great redesigns that make the game more suitable for the present day. Mauville City is the perfect example. The city is totally revamped, and it turns from a plain city to some sort of indoor city that represents a giant mall. The city features a lot of new things not presented in the original game, and it’s fun discovering things I didn’t know are there.
Other than graphics, the game receives a lot of updates and features similar to Pokemon X and Y. The button screen serves as the hub for the newly developed PokeNav Plus, and it comes with many function previously not available such as Pokemon Amie, Super Training, the Player Search System. Out of all the new functions, the one that stands out the most is the DexNav. The new app allows you to see what Pokemon are already captured in the area, and how many more are missing. Also, the new game allows you to sneak up on Pokemon peeking its ears or tail out, and DexNav will let you know what Pokemon you’re about to face next.
By the way, the Pokemon that peek out the grass usually come with special moves. I’ve caught a Poochyena with Fire Fang, and a Skitty with Hidden Ability too. It’s awesome the game allows us more opportunities to capture decent Pokemon, and preparation for competitive gameplay.
However, not every new addition to the game is positive. The addition of Mega Evolution can be quite distracting, and since the plot of the remake is the same as the original, everything about Mega Evolution feel like something added in by the last second. Yes, in a way or two, adding Primal Kyogre and Groudon makes more sense to the villain team’s scheme, but actually stopping the adventure for Steven to explain about Mega Evolution? That’s a distraction we don’t need.
The post-game Delta Episode can be fun from time to time, but the story doesn’t really bring much too the table, other than a confusing lore of what Mega Pokemon are. Even though the antagonist is cool, the episode still feels like an glorified excuse for the remake, and it’s a short one too. We do get a really, really overpowered Rayquaza at the end though, so I guess everything is worth it.
Also, the game reminds me how counter-intuitive the gameplay of Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire really was. The game requires a lot backtracking, more than any other Pokemon games, and they all happened before the player acquires Fly. Since the remake follows the exact same plot as the original, the backtracking gameplay remains too. Even though the remake gives you the option to fast travel back to the previous city with a rival such as May or Wally, the sudden appearance of these characters are kind of awkward. I was also hoping the game would give Wally a bigger role too, since Wally has always been a rival who’s just kind of there. A small part of me actually believe the remake will have Wally taking up the third beginner’s Pokemon. I guess if Game Freak actually changes the story too much, there would be a different kind of complaint all over again.
In many ways, I don’t believe a remake of Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire is really necessary. A lot of things first introduced in these games are already stables in the franchise, and the only things the remake brings are revisiting Hoenn and retell a story that’s not really a classic. I’m not saying Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire were not good games, as they brought a lot of important elements such as Abilities and Natures to the franchise. However, the story really isn’t enough for us to revisit or even call it a classic.
I have to admit though, decorating Secret Base is really awesome. Game Freak should really consider bringing it back again for future game.
Overall, Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are fun games. While I don’t believe the remake is necessary, it’s still a nice effort regardless. The story can be stale from time to time, but the game provides more opportunities to capture powerful Pokemon, so it’s easy to play beyond the initial 20 something-hour gameplay.
Categories: Video Game Reviews