Average Playtime: 40 hours

Pokémon Alpha Sapphire review
Meh
by JustCozzie

The region and characters are still a blast so if this is your first time with Hoenn it's worth a play, but for anyone who DID play the originals back in the day there's no need to try this one out.



This generation is the first Pokemon I grew up with, so I was the perfect nostalgia filled audience for this game, but even the 3DS' graphical improvements aren't enough to make this remake feel worth the time. 3D is still framerate ruining and straight-up disabled for more of the game than it's available for. The big new addition is the Area Nav which, despite being much hyped, basically boils down to just an easier way of finding Pokemon with the ability you want. Any other new features are ported straight from X and Y without tweaking, which is a shame because some (like Super Training) had a lot of unrealised potential. 

Other than that several things have also unfortunately been changed for the worse. The much needed changes of pace that were the Game Corner and Safari Zone have been removed (partly due to stricter age ratings on game depictions of "gambling" than when Ruby/Sapphire released), as has the Battle Frontier, but most annoyingly the tradition of Game Freak making each successive game easier, and therefore less interesting, has continued.

You barely need to pay attention to work your way through Hoenn now, as you will (at any point in the game) be about 15-25 levels higher than your opponents and everything will just die to you in one hit. You'll never run out of money or need to use items and tactics only need go as far as spamming your best offensive move until it runs out of PP. The modern features only exaggerate this as the EXP Share now levels your whole team, Wonder Trade can give you super powerful pokemon the second you start the game (I got a Charizard on Route 104) and, bafflingly, entering any online battle fully heals your team - negating the need for ever using healing items. Why worry about ever fainting when you can hop online if your pokemon are low on health and get a free health top up, win or lose.

On top of that healing NPCs and, amazingly, warp NPCs (who put you back where you need to go for story purposes to save any of that off-the-rails exploring) are added around the world in abundance, as if worried that the player might be challenged at some point. Basically all sense of difficulty is self imposed.

Just add different difficulty levels already Nintendo, come on, it's been a concept since before the 1980's for a reason.

To slightly redeem the game the post-game story (known as the Delta Episode) is legitimately great - with build-up, tension and pay-off not normally seen in Pokemon stories. - which makes up for the lack of Battle Frontier for me, although I'm sure it wouldn't for people more into the competitive side of the series.