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Why I’m Excited for Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
We’ve all heard people talk about when they decided to stop playing Pokemon, and more often than not, the third generation of Pokemon games is the most common response.
It always surprised people to learn that I still played Pokemon, as they kindly explained to me that the series never changed much, and I must like replaying the same old adventure over and over.
Still, despite the complaints of these people, Pokemon has continued on strong into a sixth generation of games, as well as bringing out the occasional remake, having tackled both the first and second generations of the Pokemon games.
Yet, it was still surprising when Nintendo announced Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, 3DS remakes of Pokemon’s most unpopular generation – that’s right, we are getting revamped versions of the third generation of Pokemon.
With the major advancements in the Pokemon engine since the original versions released in 2003, there should be a lot that can be done with those Pokemon games. It’s my hope that the remakes will help to rebuild a positive reputation for Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire.
Now, I always loved Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, putting in at least a hundred hours into each game during my time in junior high school, even though I didn’t actually own a Game Boy Advance, accessing the games through…more nefarious means.
They aren’t weak entries into the Pokemon series, and in fact, introduced one of the most important concepts for all Pokemon games going forward – Abilities. The invention of this mechanic allowed Pokemon to become more unique, giving them a dynamic factor outside of their stats and movepools.
While Abilities aren’t always beneficial (such as Slaking’s Truant, giving him only one move per every two turns of battle), they are now as important a part of Pokemon’s combat system as any other, and the third generation of Pokemon is where they originated, so give credit where it’s due.
While maybe not as big an innovation as how the fourth generation redefined physical and special attacks, it’s still a huge development worth noting for the Pokemon series. It also introduced Double Battles, where you send two Pokemon into the fray at once – this would pave the way for later concepts such as Triple and Rotation Battles.
Thematically, Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire introduced the common goal of most of Pokemon’s villainous team organizations – to bring about the arrival of, and capture, one of the game’s legendary Pokemon. This model has carried on up until Pokemon X and Y, and shows no signs of disappearing soon.
So why exactly am I excited for the remakes, outside of a nostalgic appreciation? For one, I enjoyed Hoenn as a location – it has a huge focus on water and features some interesting cities, like Sootopolis, which was built inside a volcanic crater. I can’t wait to see how the 3DS presents areas such as this, as I’m sure they’ll look fantastic.
It goes without saying that it can be painfully difficult to return to older generations of the Pokemon series without feeling like the mechanics have aged. The third generation maintains some of its grace, but I look forward to seeing how the sixth generation mechanics will update Ruby and Sapphire.
It’s pretty much proven with remakes in this series – they will improve upon what was there. I doubt this time around will be any different. Will new Mega Evolutions crop up, focused on monsters from the third generation of Pokemon?
And one more reason, if I may dig up a tired old meme…