On November 21st, the US had the ability to plunge back into the world of Hoenn after a twelve year “hiatus”. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are remakes of Ruby and Sapphire that came out in 2002, so Pokemon trainers around the world were excited to take a wonderous journey down memory lane.
Overall, ORAS (Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire) was a visually pleasing game with an entralling plot. New characters and updated designs kept the Hoenn region fresh and exciting. The remastered soundtracks pulled at your heart strings in rememberance of the old 8-bit Game Boy tunes, and the return of old features brought out your inner child as you decorate your secret base with virtual Pokemon plushies.
With the semi-recent release of Mega Evolution, ORAS certainly didn’t pass up the chance of including some Hoenn-exclusives. The main starters recieved Megas, which were shown in the Demo, along with Beedrill, Steelix, Pidgeot, and even Audino. Mega Latios and Latias play a big part in the game mechanics, but not within the plot. Steven takes you to a place where you recieve a Latios or Latias depending on what game you own. (Through StreetPass you can recieve the Eon Ticket to capture the Eon Pokemon you didn’t get from Steven.) You then gain a Mega Stone for said Latios or Latias, giving you the ability to use the Eon Flute and fly around the region. The HM Fly is put to shame as you can simply register the Eon Flute and fly to your desired city, route, or cave in a matter of seconds with Latios/Latias without them being in your party. The main antagonists, Team Aqua and Team Magma both gained Mega Evolutions for their main team member. Team Magma’s leader Maxie now uses a Mega Camerupt, and Team Aqua’s leader Archie now uses a Mega Sharpedo.
You can’t have a new game play feature without some nifty additions. With the Eon’s flute release, players are now able to obtain legendaries in new and interesting ways. Upon flying about the Hoenn region, depending on how far you are in game (and as early as before the Pokemon League) you will see little glints of light on “Nameless Caverns”, “Pathless Plain”, and other oddball locations. These “Mirage Spots” have little hoop-like portals that once activated start an encounter with a legendary (depending on location). These hoops were recently announced to be the production of Hoopa. Rumors of a second form or evolution of Hoopa have been floating around, to which fans haven’t been told what’s fact or fiction. Later in the game you will then find rifts in the sky which let you encounter more rare legends such as Dialga or Landorus. You are able to obtain all legendaries except event ones such as Shaymin or Jirachi.
A brand new kind of evolution was introduced in ORAS, which is what the plot is centered around. Primal Evolution made its debut, this special kind of evolution is powered by the Red/Blue Orbs you obtain in the main plot to use on Kyogre and Groudon. However, Rayquaza was exempt of this new evolution. Rayquaza was given a Mega evolution rather than a Primal Evolution.
A lot of the mechanics of the original games were updated and included in ORAS. Secret bases made their return along with a new character named Aarune. Aarune meets with the main character, hands them over a basic secret base to start, and the Secret Power TM. Contests were also reintroduced with a new character. Lisia and her partner Altaria take a shine to the main character when spotted outside of the Contest Hall in Slateport. She gives the protagonist their Contest Outfit and encourages you to participate. An updated PokeNav is also given which includes Pokemon Amie, Super Training, and the Player Search System from Pokemon X/Y. Shiny hunters rejoiced as the PokeNav included a new feature called the DexNav. You’re able to find wild Pokemon using this radar, leaving shiny hunters the ability to chain very easily.
The most exciting feature loved by fans everywhere was the post-game Delta Episode. This introduced a new character named Zinnia and her companion, Aster the Whismur. When a strange meteor is headed to collide into the Hoenn region, former-champion Steven calls on you to help. I won’t go into this further to avoid major spoilers, but being included into a storyline that was unlike any other told in Pokemon was a pleasant surprise for all fans.
Overall, the reboot of Ruby and Sapphire was a huge success and for all the right reasons. The new graphics and remastered soundtracks made the game a joy to experience, the new features didn’t feel out of place and fit right in, and the improved plot with the addition of the Delta Episode kept the player going from the start of the game to the post-game goodies. Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire gets a 9 out of 10. The only reason it is not getting a perfect score is the over abundance of Mega Evolutions. Granted it is a new feature and everyone wants their favorite Pokemon to get a Mega Evolution, but there comes a point in time where there are too many unnecessary ones. Also, with fan favorites Milotic and Flygon lacking the obvious need for Megas, ORAS turned fans a bit sour. However, the game was an outstanding remake for the respected Gameboy originals.
Hannah Makholm/Graphics Dept.