Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire 3DS - Review

NB: This review contains spoilers
I'll be honest. As a whole, the Hoenn region was probably the least memorable to me compared to all other regions. It was just that one region that never really stuck in my mind... Kanto, Johto, Sinnoh, Unova, Kalos... and oh yeah, Hoenn. Even though it never really stuck with me, I wanted Gen III remakes just as much as the next Pokemon fan, but why?

Thinking back, most of my memories from Gen III involved connectivity andd playing with others - battling with my friends, mixing records, finding their secret bases, heck, even my friend teaching me how to dupe Pokemon in Emerald - most of my fondest memories from Gen III come from playing the game with others, and not the storyline itself. I did consider playing through one of the original games to make me remember Hoenn's storyline, but in the end, I decided against it.

Back in March when the Pokemon YouTube channel suddenly uploaded an announcement video, I magically became excited for Hoenn. But as the weeks flew by, and we had received little to no information about these games, my hype diminished, and instead I started speculating what I'd like to see in the games.

Come June, and at E3, we finally get our first real concrete new information about these games, something fans had wanted to see - and that was new Mega Evolutions. It was at this point my hype for the games suddenly came back, and I began thinking of all the potential new Mega Evolutions this game could have in store.

Enough about pre-release chitchat though, time to talk about the game itself. As mentioned before, I previously decided not to play through one of the original games before release, solely so that when I played these remakes that they'd feel like a new game to me, whilst still having elements of nostalgia, allowing me to relive the originals, and that's exactly what they did. Even though I barely remembered Hoenn, every step I took, I somehow managed to remember more and more of Pokemon Ruby.

As soon as I turned the game on I was excited about everything to come. Like I mentioned before, every advancement I made, memories of me playing Ruby came flooding through my head, all the way from the visual to the audio, the more I progressed, the more I remembered. It's a funny feeling when you start a route and not have any idea what it's got in store, but the more you progress the more you seem to know what's coming - I really enjoyed that feeling of anticipation on every route I explored.

As for the storyline itself, each game basically retains the storyline of their original version, tweaked a little to account for the changes made in Gen VI. I'm not going to spoil to storyline but if you've played Ruby or Sapphire (or even Emerald), you basically have an idea of what it is. For those who haven't played the originals, sit back, and enjoy the story you've got to unfold.

Other than the small storyline tweak, there are a few other neat changes and additions to the game that add to the overall experience. The most notable, however, would be the DexNav feature. The DexNav essentially allows you to search for a Pokemon in that area which you have caught. The more you encounter that Pokemon, the more "rare" it becomes. It may have some good IV's, it's hidden ability, a rare item, an egg move, come at a higher level than usual, or if you've encountered that Pokemon multiple times, it may possess all those traits. Honestly, I've probably spent hours and hours using the DexNav trying to find Pokemon that are high leveled, with a nice egg move and a neat ability. It's such a simple thing but adds so much more fun to the game. Hopefully GameFreak see this as a positive and decide to add it to future games (it will be a real shame to never see this feature again).

Another loved feature are the wonderful Secret Bases, returning from the original games. The concept remains the same - you decorate your base, share with friends, they battle you, etc - but thanks to the beauty of technology, sharing your Secret Base is done by the quick flick of a QR Code and BOOM, you have someone else's base in your game. The only downside to this is that you can only register 15 Bases as your favorites (meaning they won't be overridden if you scan another Secret Base in the same spot), which does seem a little low, but hopefully this will be something that will increase as upgrade your base by capturing flags from other Bases.

Another neat feature, is that once you save the world from burning to death or flooding, you bump into Steven again who hands you the Eon Flute, allowing you to fly high in the sky on either Mega Latios or Latias, seeking out mirage spots, and finding Legendary Pokemon in the sky. This is a really fun feature, and the fact you can find unique Pokemon that you can't find anywhere else in the Hoenn region, along with Legendary Pokemon is a real bonus. It's just such a small part of the game, but feels so enjoyable, adding to the games overall experience.

Although with every game, there is always a downside. My first peeve would have to be the Mega Evolutions. Yes. Thank you GameFreak for giving us more, but why did you have to reveal every single new Mega Evolution before the games release? It just leaves the games without that sense of mystery that X&Y had, not knowing what other Mega Evolutions were around. And of course, a HUGE thank you for removing this "version exclusive Mega Stone" nonsense, as well as adding the option to fly to specific routes instead of just towns - it's a real time saver.

And whilst on the topic of X&Y, lets talk about how they wont be patching the games to account for the new Megas. Granted, this isn't something I really care for, since I'm not the type of person to go back and play my old games, but I really see how competitive players would be annoyed at this, basically buy ORAS or be at a disadvantage. It's a real shame they won't patch X&Y, especially considering we live in a time and age where these things are indeed possible.

As for more things that make these games feel...empty? Battle Frontier? Like yeah ok, thanks for the Battle Resort, but just..? I get these are remakes or Ruby and Sapphire, which didn't have the Battle Frontier, but as for people like me, who never bothered to deal with the Frontier in Emerald, it's a real shame we aren't able to do so in an updated version of the game. I know there are hints in the game that the Frontier may come as a DLC, but I have my doubts of that happening. I remember back in X&Y everyone was sure DLC would be a thing, since there was not many new Pokemon introduced, a lot of blank space on the map, and a lot of unexplained mysteries, but we never got a DLC update for the games. Though the non inclusion of the Battle Frontier isn't all that bad since there is a lot of post game content to enjoy (a lot more than in X&Y), especially the Delta Episode, which I won't go into since I don't want to spoil it.

Those two are my two disliked things about the game, so instead of going into major detail of the rest, I'll just quickly brush past some other things that I would have liked to see in the games - GBA Sounds, easier ways to attain soot, Feebas to maintain it's original rarity, Gym Leader rematches, actually make me work for Latios/Latias, and trainer customization (not that I really cared about it but I don't see why it had to be scrapped). I know these are really minor things to nit-pick on, but it's the small things that make the game feel better than it actually is.

That said, there are definitely a lot more positives to the game than there are negatives, so it's nothing to worry about. I mean, just minor things like Elite Four rematch teams, more rival battles, trainer rematches returning, and so much more, just make the game feel complete. Though from my perspective at least, most of the negatives are so a minor, I don't see why they weren't put in the game anyway (but yes, I do understand GameFreak's reasoning as to why most of these weren't implemented). 

All in all, I think nostalgia plays a huge factor in these games for me, but nostalgia aside, I absolutely loved these games.. As much as I used to forget Hoenn as a region, each time I enter a new town or route, the memories of me playing through Ruby seem to come flooding back. Nostalgia aside, I still really enjoy these games. With a revamped storyline to account for Mega Evolution, whilst still staying true to their original games, it really is an enjoyable experience, they really did improve things a lot from Ruby and Sapphire. I still wouldn't go around screaming that Hoenn is my favorite region or anything, but I do think these remakes have allowed me to see the region in a new light, and have definitely moved it up a spot or two. As for anyone who is undecided about buying these games, as much as I love them, I do think you should put a lot of thought into it. It really is a fun and enjoyable experience, but at the same time, it is just a revamped and updated version of a game that already exists. I personally loved these games, but I can see how others (specifically those not too keen on the idea of remakes) may not find these as enjoyable as I did.

Regardless, I hope you all decide to explore Hoenn sooner or later - whether it be via the originals or the remakes - and are able to see it in a new way, just as I was. I've probably skipped a lot of important features of this game, but that just shows how much content there actually is (plus it's probably more enjoyable for you to discover yourself, than have it spoiled in a review). For a Pokemon game, it's probably the most content packed and appealing game to date, so if you're considering getting back into the Pokemon franchise, or even just looking for a casual game to play, then this is the game for you!


  1. I've played pretty much every pokemon game thus far and I have to say, this one was very disappointing. They basically took out the fun aspects of the safari zone making it boring and just like any other route in the game. My main problem is the underground maze. That was easily my favorite part of the game. I loved going down and mining for stones and fossils. Plus it was fun to run around and steal flags. In the update you make bases, but like there's no point. There is no capture the flag element anymore really. They don't even explain how to acquire flags. I wouldn't be as upset if you could just take people's flags, but instead you have to do all that QR code stuff which is annoying and tedious. It had potential, but the remake really fell short. I was very disappointed and so were my friends.

    1. I agree about the safari, but the underground maze was a gen IV thing man, it would make no sense for them to add a gen IV feature in a gen III remake

  2. Nice Mr. Animal Crossing New Leaf

  3. I must say, when I heard Omega Ruby and Aloha Sapphire was coming out, I wasn't as excited as I thought I'd be. Maybe it was because I had only just gotten Pokémon X and Y and was currently playing through that. However, I must say that I am thoroughly pleased with how they added in the new megas and flying feature. Like you said as well, I was not to happy that they announced every new mega, instead of letting us find out on our own. All in all though, good game! I hope to play it in the future. c:


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