Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are the latest Pokémon games, remakes of the 2002 Game Boy Advance titles Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, with added features, such as the competitive element of Mega Evolution, introduced by Pokémon X and Y, which were released last year. Is this enough? Do Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire have enough added features to stand up on their two feet, or would gamers be better off purchasing the previously released Pokémon X and Y? Read on, dear gamer.
This game starts off in the Hoenn Region, where you and your family have moved to Littleroot Town. Here you meet the region’s professor, Birch, and his son or daughter (the opposite gender to whatever one you chose as your character). You get your starter Pokémon, and off you go on a grand adventure, with the goal, as always, to catch every single Pokémon. Soon, you’ll run into the malicious Team Magma in Pokémon Omega Ruby who want the world to be covered in land, or the arrogant Team Aqua in Pokémon Alpha Sapphire who want the world to be covered in water. In between catching Pokémon and earning gym badges, it’s your duty to stop your version exclusive team from endangering the lives of both people and Pokémon. It does seem a little childish, but there’s quite a few touching moments, more than in X and Y. A few moments might even give some trainers goose bumps, not to mention the post-story story of the Delta Episode.
At its core, the base gameplay is still the same, with catching Pocket Monsters and fighting with convoluted scissors-paper-rock turn based RPG elements against other Pokémon trainers, gym leaders, and then the Elite Four and the Champion. Just like X and Y, there’s also the hidden secret of Mega Evolution, the same post-battle facility, the social functions of the Player Search System, the ability to form close bonds face to face with your Pokémon in Pokémon-Amie and the ability to boost your Pokémon’s stats with Super Training. However, this is where the similarities end.
As mentioned prior, Mega Evolution sees itself for the first time in the Hoenn region. In Pokémon X and Y, certain Pokémon held Mega Stones that allowed them to evolve further in the midst of battle, giving them a competitive edge. However, only some Mega Stones were found in X, which couldn’t be found in Y, and vice versa. Now, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire changes this up for the better, with every single Mega Stone available to be found in both versions, and introducing new Mega Stones as well. Even if you had one or both of X and Y, there’s still more Pokémon to Mega Evolve which can only be done in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.
Contests return and remain the same as they were in Ruby and Sapphire as Pokémon Contest Spectaculars; they’re still split into the five categories of coolness, beauty, cuteness, smartness and toughness, with the goal to stand out from the other four contestants in the entered category by performing moves that fall into one of the five categories. With four ranks to be won in each category, that’s at least 20 different play throughs if you want to totally complete the Pokémon Contest Spectaculars, assuming you’ll win every time you go through. There’s more to being a Trainer than winning battles; this time you have to win the hearts of the crowds too. The Pokémon Contest Spectacular are most definitely spectacular and add to the overall length of the game.
The other exclusive Ruby and Sapphire feature, Secret Bases, return in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, under the new name as Super-Secret Bases. Trainers can decorate their base, and leave an NPC that the computer controls when sent to other people, but this time the battle rules for your NPC can be altered and recruit friends as Super-Secret Base Grunts, turning your base into a make-shift gym. Super-Secret Bases can be shared by StreetPassing, by passing by someone locally or via online, or by sharing a generated QR code. These battles with the Secret Base owners result in experience points and the Pokémon being added to the Pokédex, so for trainers eager for a battle, there’s no excuse to miss out on Super-Secret Bases.
What’s slightly different about these two Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire exclusive features is that they’re introduced by in-game trainers: the Contest Idol Lisia recruits you into the Pokémon Contest Spectacular, and the Super-Secret Base expert Aarune shows you how to set up your Super-Secret Base. While these characters might be seen as a little bit of a tutorial, showing newer players what Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire has to offer, adding these little bit of character into these features results in adding just a little bit of a moreness to the games, gives it a little bit more life.
Many hard to find Pokémon, including Legendary Pokémon, can be found in abundance over the land of Hoenn thanks to the Eon Flute item. A little toot, and Latios in Omega Ruby and Latias in Alpha Sapphire whisks you away allowing you to soar through the skies. In the skies are Mirage spots which shine bright and signify a secret area where Trainers can land and find these secluded monsters. These spots change every day too giving variety for the hard core Pokémon collectors.
Speaking of finding Pokémon, the DexNav feature, used in the touch screen, is a Pokémon breeder and battler’s best friend. Occasionally, a Pokémon will be rustling somewhere in some tall grass. The trainer can then tap the bottom screen to find out more information about this Pokémon. Then by using the circle pad, the trainer can slowly sneak up on that Pokémon and enter it in battle. It’s quite a mix up to the usual technique of walking and random Pokémon popping up in the wild, although this happens as well. What’s particularly noteworthy about this is that more times you hunt for a particular Pokémon, you can find it with hard to obtain moves that can only be found by breeding, rare items being held by that Pokémon, hidden abilities, improved stats, and this time it’s not achieved by randomly walking around – the trainer has to workby sneaking up on many Pokémon. It definitely feels like that you’re actually working to find this rare Pokémon, as opposed to randomly walking around.
The StreetPass functionality in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire works like a dream. The Super-Secret Base and Mirage spots from one Trainer can be shared to another simply by StreetPassing. Don’t live near other 3DS owners and feel that these StreetPass functionality is wasted on you? Game Freak has you covered. When connected online via the PSS function, every passer-by you pass by for up to 30 people, you gain their mirage spot and Super-Secret Base for your game too! With accessibility like that, Trainers have a fountain of randomised trainers and hard to find Pokémon to look forward to every day!
- Many hours ahead for all kinds of trainers, be it contests, super-secret bases, or just catching ‘em all
- Fantastic incorporation of StreetPass features
- Actually being able to work at finding rare Pokémon
- Still, at times, tutorials do feel a little forced on you
Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are just what the doctor ordered, for both hard core PokéManiacs and beginner trainers alike. With a plot that seems to revolve around more than Pokémon X and Y’s story, and loads of things to do post-story like Contests, Super-Secret Bases, and finding all the hidden legendary Pokémon, this is a must-have for any 3DS owner.
Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are both out now exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS.