Finally, I get to review a freakin’ Pokemon game! Sweet Arceus, how long have I’ve been holding it off?!
Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire
Released on November 21, 2014
Developer: Game Freak
Pokemon needs no introduction, literally. In 1996 in Japan, the Game Boy is pretty much at the rate of discontinuation. The developers a Game Freak have been hard at work creating a video game for the system that allows us to capture and train creatures to share with other people via the Link Cable, and battle with other players. These games saved the Game boy’s life and expanded it, bringing us more and more generations of Pokemon on Nintendo’s evolving handheld legacy. Those games from the past are Pokemon Red & Green.
We in America do get the game as Pokemon Red & Blue, being games that was from the Japanese Blue’s engine. Back then, there were only 151 Pokemon, ranging from the first three starters we have to choose from, all the way to Mew, which before we learned about the Mew glitch to legitimately catch, we tried to get Mew from the truck where the S.S. Anne was. Now, we have 721 Pokemon, none of us could be able to fully cement our favorites before the next generation of Pokemon comes out, older fans IV breed their Pokemon for competitive tournaments, kids still play them for fun, and the fanbase just continues to grow.
I’m one of those people that started off my never-ending journey to become the very best with Pokemon Red version, and I still play Pokemon to this very day. I’m not a Genwunner, I’m not a former fan that gave up when Ruby and Sapphire came out- in fact, my favorite generation happens to be the 3rd generation, specifically Pokemon Emerald, which gave me the dream to fully defeat the Battle Frontier! In fact, the starter I chose influenced my Youtube and DeviantART name for f*** sake! I played every Pokemon game from each generation, and that’s just the main games. These are the following I played: Red, Yellow, Gold, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Fire Red & Leaf Green, Platinum, Heart Gold, White, Black 2, X, and the one I’m reviewing now, which will follow to every Pokemon game from the past and into the future: Omega Ruby.
I’m not gonna bother doing the introduction, because they are all the same: The Professor of each region tells you about themselves, about Pokemon, and about despite their researches, the mysteries of Pokemon just keeps on going and going! But the Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire intro does hit you with the intro for the 3rd gen GBA games at first, but then transitions into the full 3D graphical engine that X & Y gave us! Believe me, I was oozing nostalgia when I first saw the intro. When continuing on your journey, the terraforming organization from which version you are playing: Team Magma for Omega Ruby and Team Aqua for Alpha Sapphire, would be in your way, wanting to either expand the landmass or expand the ocean, and the legendary Pokemon that would do their job are either Groudon or Kyogre. And I’m not gonna talk about the Delta Episode, you just have play the game for yourself.
The gameplay is what it is back in Red and Green, and it’s pretty long for me to explain, but I’ll only touch it for what is on the outside and not assault you with competitive concepts, IVs and egg moves. The basics for Pokemon are as such: You send out your Pokemon against a wild Pokemon or against a trainer’s Pokemon, and the goal is to wipe out the opposing Pokemon. For wild battles, you have to weaken the wild Pokemon, then capture it in a Pokeball. Once caught, it’ll add up to your Pokedex, and you can nickname it if you want. That’s just Pokemon at it’s core, but there are also the Pokedex, which is a big encyclopedia of Pokemon you’ve seen or caught. Obtaining a Pokemon you never had before shows you it’s height, weight, gender-specific looks (if any), and where it’s habitat is (if any). Like I said, there are 721 Pokemon now, so you are going to be catching and trading, and breeding them all!
Now, for the graphics, and I will be going back to the mechanics later, let’s look at Pokemon X and Y. First off, the 6th generation left the 2D/psudo-3D sprite graphics from the previous generations, and introduces us to full 3D model, fleshing out the Pokemon world more than ever before. Sure it isn’t HD, but it’s a marvelous transition from 2D to 3D. The Pokemon before the 6th gen are sprites, animated in the 5th gen, and before X and Y, there are games that displays them in 3D: Pokemon Stadium 1 & 2, Colosseum & XD: Gale of Darkness, Pokedex 3D Pro, Pokemon Battle Revolution, Pokemon Snap, Hey you Pikachu, the Pokemon Rumble games, My Pokemon Ranch, Pokemon Channel, Pokemon Dash, Pokepark- *gasps for breath* all of these Pokemon games displayed them in 3D in one fashion or another. But now, since X and Y is out, it looks like Game Freak doesn’t need to make 3D spinoff titles anymore. We’ve been asking for a full 3D Pokemon game, and now we got it, so there’s no need to make a spinoff Pokemon title- *sees Pokemon: Art Academy* oh wait!
Now, back to the gameplay. In the Pokemon games, there are 18 types: Normal, Fire, Water, Electric, Grass, Ice, Poison, Fighting, Ghost, Bug, Steel, Dark, Rock, Ground, Flying, Dragon, Psychic, and the newest type: Fairy, Each type has it’s own weaknesses, resistances, and a few are immune to others. Some Pokemon has a second typing, and there are a f***ton of moves that a Pokemon can learn upon leveling up or with TM, although there are moves that some Pokemon cannot learn. All Pokemon can only learn 4 moves at as time, so you can’t have them have a full moveset, so you have to choose what to keep, and what to get rid of. Also, Pokemon can evolve in certain ways. The majority of Pokemon can evolve by just being at a certain level, but other Pokemon evolve in a different criteria, which are either maxing their happiness, trading them with someone then trade them back, using evolution stones, having a certain move, evolving them at daytime or nighttime, flipping your 3DS upside down- there’s so much!
And now we must look into the features that X and Y gave us, and what Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire brought back. First off: the Mega Evolutions. Introduced in Generation 6, Mega Evolutions, which temporarily transforms fully evolved Pokemon or Pokemon with no evolutionary stages into their mega forms, which is the equivalent the Dragonball franchise’ Super Sayan forms, Bleach’s Bankai, Digimon’s Digivolutions and blah blah blarg. Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire brings in more Mega Evolutions, even for the event Pokemon: Diancie. Some Mega Evos are awesome, while others are not that strong. Oh, and about Mega Gallade and Mega Altaria from my Top 10 Mega Evolution Wishlist, I totally called them!
Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire brought back many features that gave me something to do other than battling post-game. First: the Pokemon Contests. Contests are separated into 5 categories: Coolness, Cuteness, Beauty, Smartness/Cleverness and Toughness, and every Pokemon move has been put into separate categories, and they all have different effects, from startling Pokemon to decrease their appeal they made with their moves, to preventing them from even getting a move in after you did yours. The goal is to complete all the contests to obtain contest mastery ribbons for your Pokemon, but the bigger prize is with completing all of them with one Pokemon entirely, but I’ll not worry about explaining that. Of course, you do need to feed your Pokemon Pokeblocks, which is why you get the Pokeblock Kit. The Pokeblock Kit creates and stores Pokeblocks with berries, and it does it automatically instead of having to perform a tedious timing minigame that determine how good it is.
Another thing ORAS brought back are the Secret Bases. This is the most eccentric feature for Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald. There are various spots all over the Hoenn region, way too many to count in fact. And yes, you don’t have to worry about picking your permanent favorite. Secret Power, one of the moves you can teach to your Pokemon, can open any indentations on rocky walls, trees or bushes, and after you chose where to have your secret base at, then you can decorate it and in the GBA versions, link up with your friends, mix records, and gain access to their secret bases, so you’ll get to fight them as you please. In Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, they improved it! First of all, you don’t have to worry about actually trying to find someone to mix records and gain access to their secret bases like in the original, when you connect online, 30 random secret bases are immediately accessible every day or 12 hours or whatever, and you can visit them! Also returning for secret bases, but from Diamond, Peral & Platinum, you can take the flags of their secret bases, so it’ll build up on your collection, and you can collect from the same place the next day. You can also invite the founders of their secret bases to yours and use their abilities like finding rocks and incubating your Pokemon eggs, like the Joint Avenue markets from Black & White 2. (You see the resemblance here?)
And before I discuss about user-specific secret base abilities, I need to discuss something to you all: In the 4th and 5th generation, we have to choose the NPC trainer that’s suppose to represent us, and all of that’s abolished when X and Y came out, giving us to customize our trainer avatar. But in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, it regressed back to the NPC Trainer representation from 2 generations ago! I’m going to guess that some people I’ve seen didn’t bother with this and stuck with X and Y because of it.
I wish there’s more to talk about Pokemon, but from where I’m standing, it’s better to just experience the franchise instead of reading this review or watching them talk about. Sure the number of Pokemon is just overwhelming, but that’s the point of the tagline: Gotta Catch ‘em All. From the youngest of age groups to the mature, competitive crowd, Pokemon has something for everyone invested in this franchise. That’s why the final score for Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire and all sequential Pokemon games from the past and onto the future is a 25 out of 25. There’s no way around it, if Game Freak didn’t create this franchise, the Game Boy would’ve been dead, an we wouldn’t be having out 3DS/2DS systems today.