On Nov. 21, Nintendo and Game Freak released the long-awaited remakes of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire versions: Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire versions for the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS systems. In the past games and the remakes, players could choose to play as either a male or female character and start their journey in Littleroot Town as the child of the Petalburg City gym leader, Norman.
Essentially, the storyline of both the old versions and the remakes are the same having the player travel around the Hoenn Region, catch and train Pokémon, earn Gym badges, strive to fill his or her Pokédex, and save the world from the clutches of the evil teams Aqua and Magma. Though this main plot is the same, there are many changes and updates to the games in the remakes.
The sixth generation of Pokémon games, X and Y versions, revealed the new fairy typing and the new mechanic of Mega Evolution, which is a special power-up form of a Pokémon that can only be accessed during battle through the use of special items. While the X and Y version had many fan-favorites Mega Evolve, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire nearly doubled the amount of Mega Evolved Pokémon. Many of these new Megas are from the third generation of the games such as the starter Pokémon and the mascot legends while others are favorites both new and old, including Pidgeot, Steelix, and Diancie.
In the original Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald games, Pokémon talent contests and Secret Bases were introduced. Both of these functions got updates to their graphics and mechanics. The contests are now called Pokémon Contests Spectacular and offer players the chance to Mega Evolve a Pokémon during competitions and give their Pokémon special introductory animations and effects to earn more points. Secret Bases are now called Super-Secret Bases and function similarly to clubhouses. There are more decorations that can be placed in the bases and players can recruit each other to be members of their respective bases to battle and play an on-going game of capture-the-flag to earn points and level up their bases.
Carried over from the X and Y versions is the ability to see and ride certain Pokémon in the over-world rather than generic sprites. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire enhances these over-world encounters by allowing playing players to track Pokémon with their Pokédexes and follow them in the over-world with the possibility of finding rare Pokémon with uncommon abilities and attacks. These new games also allow players to fly freely around the expansive map on either Latios or Latias and even fly to specific landmarks and routes instead of solely to the individual towns and cities.
Many people who have played the original Ruby and Sapphire versions may remember the large amount of water that needed to be traversed in order to reach some destinations and possibly dreaded it. While these watery routes did not disappear, the rate of travel across them did get an update. The speed at which certain Pokémon can carry players across water was increased, and new islands were added, giving players a chance to rest their sea-legs. In fact, the game review website IGN gave the Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire remakes a score of 7.8 out of 10, citing that there was “too much water” in the games. One can only expect so much from a game that takes place on a large island surrounded by many smaller islands.
These new Pokémon games are priced equally to other 3DS and 2DS games and are worth the nostalgia remakes can provide. The updates to the mechanics and graphics from the original games was needed and gave new life to the older games. While some fans may have been upset that the options for character customization from the X and Y versions or having Pokémon follow the players in the over-world from the Gold and Silver version remakes, others were probably just glad to have a new set of remakes to play to remind them of the fun they had with the original games.