Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Review
Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Review
Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are finally here, and having a re-release of these franchise gems – pun intended – is great. Despire issues that have plague every game in this franchise, the update to these games and the nostalgic feeling you get while playing makes this trip back to the Hoenn region 100% worth it!
Pokemon games have never had strong stories, and since this is a remake, very little can can be done about it. I do feel, however, that Game Freak could have made minor changes to the story – like they did by adding Mega Evolution – that would have made it more interesting. Regardless, it is your typical, passable story whose purpose is really to push you along in your Pokemon adventure rather than keep you on the edge of your seat. After all, Pokemon really is about “catching them all.”
Another annoying downside to these remakes is the continual desire for players to remove great moves from Pokemon in their party only to replace them with often useless HM moves like Fly. For Pokemon X and Y, Game Greak gave us only 5 HMs. In Ruby and Sapphire, we return to 7, many of which prove useless in regular battle. While keeping all the HMs in the game keeps this title true to the originals, I feel it is about time Game Freak messed with this formula a bit more. Ideally, they should allow HMs to be treated like TMs, removable at any time.
The final issue really isn’t a problem at all. If anything, it is something that just doesn’t need to be in the game. I am referencing secret bases. While the idea behind creating your own base, and your own gym if you want, is good in theory, I feel it is a tacked on feature – more than likely put in as another way to offset this from being a shot-for-shot remake of the originals. A special move is even required to locate your friends secret areas! It is a feature that some people will use, but a feature that most people will probably just ignore.
Great Changes to an Old System
Regardless of those issues, there is so much good here that the issues seem minuscule. All of the great features from X and Y are carried over to Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire and new ideas make these titles not only feel different from the originals, but also different from X and Y.
One of my favorite new features is the sneak mechanic. In every area, you may see a Pokemon’s tail pop out of the long grass. Run up, and the Pokemon will disappear. Sneak however, and you have the potential of fighting the rarest Pokemon available in that region, with moves that Pokemon normally wouldn’t have. This gives players an alternative way of snagging a rare Pokemon. Previously, you got one by luckily bumping into a Pokemon with a rare move in the wild or breeding Pokemon and hoping for something rare. I was never lucky in X and Y, and now I don’t have to be. In the first few hours I located and caught numerous Pokemon with rare moves.
The system is improved with the DexNav. The DexNav, new to Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, will display the information of the Pokemon you are trying to catch on the lower screen. The screen can – I say can because the more you find a Pokemon while sneaking, the better the system is at detecting their information – tell you the Pokemon’s level, potential first move, whether or not he has a rare move or not, and much more. What makes the DexNav and sneaking mechanics so much fun is the randomness of what you might find. For example, I encountered a level 13 Lotad early in the game, and had to fight it with my level 10 Torchic. The final bonus of this new DexNav is that it will tell you once you have found all the Pokemon in a specific region.
The other improvements over X and Y are the visuals. A quick glance will tell you the games look similar, but if you really take the time to look around, you will notice the slight differences. The most obvious differences is that the world looks alive, and beautiful, rather than just looking good (for the sake of look good). Another great feature that doesn’t change the game, but makes it great to play in, are the flock of birds hanging out on beaches and flying overhead, as well as the schools of fish that will swim around you as you dive for treasure in the water.
These aren’t crazy changes, but they are improvements over X and Y. Had this just been Sapphire and Ruby with the graphics of X and Y slapped on, I would probably score this game lower than I will now. Game Freak is making slight improvements, and as long as they continue doing that, Pokemon games, new or refreshed, will always feel like the best possible product.
Pokemon Omega Ruby / Alpha Sapphire Review – Conclusion
There are enough changes to revisit the Hoenn region 12 years after the original games were released. The updated visuals makes the game feel different than its 2002 predecessor, as well as different from X and Y. The new sneak mechanic and DexNav integration is the best new added feature. Unfortunately, you will still cringe every time you have to teach one of your Pokemon an HM move which inevitably removes a move you may love having in your arsenal. Regardless, the issues are minor. Whether it is your first trip to Hoenn, or your second, you are in for a some great surprises and rewarding experiences.
- Better visuals than X and Y
- Sneak Mechanic and DexNav
- Great Post-Game Content! (no spoilers)
- Too many HMs (why are these not gone yet!)
- Secret hideouts is a nice idea, but probably a wasted idea