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Why Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are the Best and Worst Pokemon Games in a Long Time

The Problems with Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

by the NWR Staff - December 2, 2014, 5:33 am EST

Not everything is sunny on our return trip to Hoenn.

Perhaps the largest problem I have with these new remakes is that they carry a total lack of consistency.

For the first six badges (10 hours or so), the games are straight remakes with only about three major changes. The gameplay evolved to match X and Y standards and the presentation has been fully updated, but the only huge changes are Mauville City, the sneak mechanic, and the Latios or Latias you get soon after completion of the fifth gym. The sneaking stuff is excellent so I won’t rag on that, but I have major problems with the other two.

Frankly, the new incarnation of Mauville is poorly constructed, extremely convoluted, and boring. A shopping mall as a community isn’t a bad idea, but the one in this game isn’t very fun at all. I have no problems with major redesigns and I think Mauville is the perfect place to do it, but the town offers little to explore, and even less to do than meets the eye.

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Don’t even get me started on Latios. The idea of the game giving you a free legendary Pokémon halfway through without earning it insults the player’s capabilities enough (which the returning Exp. Share was already doing a great job of), but the post-league Latios hunt was one of the most fun things to do in Ruby – now with no roaming legendary to replace it.

Even outside of its vanilla first half, there are two more problems I have. The first is that Battle Frontier is straight up missing. It’s teased as “under construction” or something at the post-game Battle Resort, but all that says to me is either DLC, Delta Emerald in 2015, or a tease of Battle Frontier being in the X and Y sequels/third version – all things that equal to one of the most legendary features in Generation III not being in the remake I am playing right now.

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The second, more serious problem is that the game just doesn’t have the heart of the originals. The original Ruby and Sapphire games were weird. They looked nothing like any other Pokémon games, they sounded nothing like any other Pokémon games, traversing the region was nothing like any other Pokémon games, and the creature designs looked nothing like any other Pokémon games. Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire pulls a HeartGold/SoulSilver and polishes everything to such sheen that some of the character is lost in the process. It’s hard to describe, but everything just feels so neat, tidy, and straightforward in a way where it feels more like a product than something with real soul or passion beneath it.

One example of this “missing heart” can be found in the difficulty. Ruby and Sapphire were reasonably challenging games, and the remakes go out of their way to make everything as easy as possible. In addition to the Exp. Share continuing to being terrible and in addition to getting a legendary Pokémon before your team is even fully evolved, 90% of the in-game trainers have less than three Pokémon on their teams, legendary Pokémon grow on trees as soon as you get the Soar ability, and they’ve even done things like remove the Rayquaza bike puzzle and replace it with walking and story exposition.

Talkback

Evan_BDecember 02, 2014

Glad to know skipping this one was justified. Pretty much all the positives aside from Soar boiled down to "it's like Ruby and Sapphire" which are the worst titles in the series, in my opinion. The negatives are a lot more disappointing, and now I'm firmly convinced that Pokemon has gone from a "must-have" to a "maybe-once-a-new-game-adds-things-that-are-actually-interesting-in-a-generation" purchase for me.

Quote from: Evan_B

Glad to know skipping this one was justified. Pretty much all the positives aside from Soar boiled down to "it's like Ruby and Sapphire" which are the worst titles in the series, in my opinion. The negatives are a lot more disappointing, and now I'm firmly convinced that Pokemon has gone from a "must-have" to a "maybe-once-a-new-game-adds-things-that-are-actually-interesting-in-a-generation" purchase for me.

Just like Call of Duty.

ClexYoshiDecember 03, 2014

Some other negatives to go over...


-Move Tutors are in in spite of the lack of a battle frontier, but there is exactly one move it offers over move tutors in previous generations, particularly Black 2/White 2. While the proliferation of Electroweb as a new entry hazard is quite awesome (Because we needed another reason to run Rotom-W), this has been the least enticing set of Move Tutor Moves since their inception in Generation 3, which is a real shame. Really wish we would have gotten something crazy like Boomburst or Play Rough tutor.

-Cosplay Pikachu absolutely breaks the Pokemon Contest system in the exact same way that early game Latios/Latias and the EXP share breaks the single player experience. Cosplay Pikachu on the whole is disappointing, just as Surfing Pikachu's lack of transfer-ability. the improvements to lightningrod  and the Light ball that came in 5th gen would be GREAT with some of these moves if they were permanent editions to Pikachu's movepool, but they aren't.

- The crippling lack of updates to the engine. This game still chugs terribly if 3D is engaged, and 3D is limited, just as in X and Y. The fact that this Engine is pretty much the same thing makes it especially appaling that they couldn't be bothered to take that extra step and give Pokemon X and Y one more patch to bring last year's releases some peerity with these releases. There's a number of Mega Stones that must be sent from X and Y to Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire for those old Mega pokemon to be available in the new versions. Why then, can we not send those new stones, have access to Kyogre, Groudon, or Rayquaza's new moves, or put Cosplay Pikachu's models back into X and Y? what if I like having a customized trainer? what if I like level grinding in Battle Resturants? This absolutley baffles me, especially considering Mega Latios and Mega Latias' models are buried inside X and Y's code! isn't it absurd that you can't have Mega Diancie in X and Y? This bullet point alone is the reason I chose to watch LPs and read Serebii instead of shelling out for the Pokemon Tax.

-I personally feel the soundtrack is lazy after giving it a listen. Heart Gold/Soul Silver took a really bombastic and manic approach to it's music, going so completely all out to make all the tunes epic and awesome. I was expecting much the same for OR/AS, but ... I dunno. the trumpets feel more muted and reserved. Yeah, it's a better soundtrack than X and Y, but I feel X and Y probably have the weakest soundtrack of any Pokemon game. Particular disappointments include Route 113, the Aqua/Magma leader fight theme, and the lack of arrangements for the various legendary pokemon shoehorned in. Don't tell me that asking for such arrangements is unreasonable, because one need only look at the World Tournament from Black 2/White 2 to see that they will re-arrange music from every generation without hesitation. I will say that the Battle theme for Zinnia is REALLY good, though. Like, I feel that they could have SERIOUSLY used a theme like that for X and Y's gym leader battle instead of having reject F-Zero GX/Wipeout music.

- All the new Megas being revealed in pre-release material is quite disappointing. Mega balance feels quite a bit shakier here than it did in X and Y, where the Megas either offered pokemon very alternate builds or a reason to shine in the limelight with few exceptions. Stuff like Mega Audino, Mega Pidgeot, and Mega Steelix just seem VERY ill-concieved. (Not saying these are bad, but conceptually weak; Mega Pidgeot literally picks up no-guard for 100% accurate STAB hurricanes, which is nice, but they didn't really expand it's movepool in a way to make it a real contender. It's like if they would have done Mega Heracross but only given him acess to Rock Blast and not any of the other skill link related goodies he gets) The fact that Mega Rayquaza essentially breaks the Mega Evolution system is really stupid and I don't wanna play in Ubers where you can eat a base 120 STAB Life Orb boosted flying move from a pokemon with 180 base attack. or Draco Meteor, for that matter. Shout-outs to Mega Bedrill and Mega Sharpedo for being really GOOD examples of what I like out of a Mega Evolution. Kinda sad there's no Mega Exploud or Mega Torkoal.


And a couple of positives.


- Props to Gamefreak giving us a Deoxys that doesn't come from an event, even if it's raw statitude gets shat upon by Mega Evolutions. and a Cresselia you don't have to catch roaming, because it kinda made me sad when I caught myself a calm Cresselia back in the day and found out it's IVs were awful.

- Delta Episode is indeed an AWESOME idea for how post-game should be handled.

- mad shout-outs to my boy Sharpedo, who not only got a -GREAT- Mega Evolution, but also gets the distinct advantage of being a surf pokemon that moves at double speed on water, which coupled with lower water encounter rate makes Hoenn a slightly less painful region to explore.

- I do love that Gamefreak went out their way to try and make sure all pokemon are available between X, Y, OR, and AS. at the same time, I also like that if you have a pokemon that's got an OT from a Ruby/Sapphire game that you get a commemorative plaque from the developer room. Again, Shout-outs to my Sharpedo, who has been with me for a very, VERY long time.

- 'dat Zinnia battle theme.

ClexYoshiDecember 03, 2014

*as an aside, I forgot it's Sticky web that's the new entry hazard, not Electroweb. my bad. :I

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterDecember 26, 2014

You know what, I'm saying it now: god fucking bless the exp share.

I'm playing through White 2 at the moment and god damn, that game constantly feels like it it punishes you for trying to run a full team of 6 Pokemon.

Every time I get to a gym I have to grind a few levels for everyone because trying to keep everything at around the same level results in me getting to the next gym only to learn that everyone is at least 5 levels below where they are supposed to be. It's fucking awful.

Quote from: pokepal148

You know what, I'm saying it now: god fucking bless the exp share.

I'm playing through White 2 at the moment and god damn, that game constantly feels like it it punishes you for trying to run a full team of 6 Pokemon.

Every time I get to a gym I have to grind a few levels for everyone because trying to keep everything at around the same level results in me getting to the next gym only to learn that everyone is at least 5 levels below where they are supposed to be. It's fucking awful.

I don't know man. Even if that challenge involves grinding, at least there's something to it. The difficulty in ORAS is so incredibly low that it's hard for me to justify putting it too high on my personal GOTY list.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterDecember 31, 2014

Just to get this out of the way, grinding does not create difficulty, it creates tedium.

The issue Pokemon has in my opinion is that everyone in the game assumes that you'll be at a certain level when you reach a certain point.

One result of this is in my Black and White 2 playthrough I had a full team of 6 Pokemon before I even reached the 4th gym. However because I was trying to juggle a full team my Pokemon were mostly in the level 20-23 range when third Gym Leader had 3 Pokemon in the 28-30 range.

The EXP share attempted to solve this issue by making it easier to train multiple Pokemon but the Exp Share's effects are so darastic that it would be difficult to balance the game in a way that would accomodate both, those who did use it, and those who did not.

The easiest way to solve this issue is to make the EXP share mandatory and balance the game solely based on the idea that everyone is using it but that would likely end up pissing of the hardcore crowd.

The whole Lati@s thing would annoy me alot more if it weren't for soaring.

StratosDecember 31, 2014

Exp Share is what got me really into Pokemon again with X/Y. It is so convenient to not have to worry about the levels. I can focus on enjoying the parts of the game I like: catching Pokemon and building a cool team.


They could easily implement variable difficulty levels. Just increase the number of Pokemon that trainers carry and boost the levels of those Pokemon by 5-10.


I would like to see every trainer by the second or third gym carry a full set of monsters.

Mop it upJanuary 02, 2015

The new version of experience share is a good idea, but isn't implemented as well as it could be. The opponents are just too easy to compensate for having a beefier team on hand. A difficulty selection is probably the best way to handle that, though even with exp. share off I feel like the opponents in X/Y didn't have as many or as strong of teams as most previous games.

I'd still rather have it than not have it though, because I like to switch up Monz a lot and it makes for a lot less grinding.

Syed RedwanDecember 19, 2017

Around my place there is nobody to streetpass me the Eon Ticket or no event for getting Eon Ticket is available. Then why don't Nintendo set a forever code to get Eon Ticket in Pokemon Omega Ruby as there won't be any possibility of any other event happening?

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