I started playing Pokemon way back in 1999, starting off with Red and Blue. But that was when I was just 7-years-old, and most of my memories of that, as well as Gold and Silver, are a little bit fuzzy. Fast forward a bit to the 2003 release of Ruby and Sapphire and my memories are a lot more vivid. Reminiscing about that time brings about positive feelings. The question now however is this: how do the remakes, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (ORAS,) hold up?
Presentation: While the game runs on the same engine as Pokemon X and Y, there are definitely some notable improvements that have come about in the game’s overall appearance. What X and Y lacked was a sense of real feeling that you’re in the Pokemon world. With ORAS, there is a much more atmospheric feel. Cutscenes show off Pokemon flying or running around the over-world. The new “sneaking” feature allows us to check and see what kind of Pokemon we can catch in tall grass before even entering the battle. It’s fun to see Pokemon actually acting like Pokemon in the wild, it’s a nice touch that makes the game feel more whole.
ORAS is a huge improvement over X and Y in that aforementioned atmospheric standpoint, but there is one aspect of the game’s presentation that falters compared to its older versions, Ruby and Sapphire. The music is still good, but it lacks the same “oomph” that the originals had. Maybe it was just the compressed sound of the GameBoy Advanced that gave it a unique feel or maybe it’s just blind nostalgia. Unfortunately it was a notable difference to me, and I definitely preferred the sound of the original games.
As for battles, they are exactly the same as X and Y. They look great, but at times the frame rate will drop. Is it noticeable? Yes, but it never really hampers the experience at all.
Gameplay: It’s Pokemon. It’s the same exact system it has had for years and that’s okay. You battle, you level up, you beat the Gym Leaders and then you become the Champion. The story doesn’t stray too far from the originals, so you’re either battling Team Aqua or Team Magma throughout your campaign, depending on your version. The core gameplay is the same as the originals, as should be expected from a remake.
So you’ve beaten the game. Now what? There’s a post-game story called the Delta Episode. I wont dive too deep into it, but I will say it’s definitely something fresh that the original games didn’t have. One glaring omission, thus far at least, was the lack of the Battle Frontier from Pokemon Emerald. While it wasn’t in the originals, may expected it to be in ORAS. As of now it’s not in the game, but there is some reason to believe it may exist at some point.
Final: As I’ve said a number of times, this is Pokemon. You are more than likely getting what you expect from the game. With that said, the lack of the Battle Frontier and the removal of customization has left many fans scratching their heads. Game Freak has been notorious for adding great features one game and then removing them in the next. It was no different in ORAS, and as a result I docked the games a couple of points.