Friday, November 28, 2014

Pokémon: Omega Ruby journal - entry two

This 3DS remake is proving, in some ways, a notable improvement over its GBA precursor, and in others, a game that is made frustrating by outdated design elements. First, the good – the Pokénav is a major step forward in scouring tall grass along routes, looking for a certain Pokémon or even specific movesets. It makes wild encounters less of a gamble, and random wild encounters are far less frequent than any Pokémon game beforehand, which is all fine and dandy, considering that the experience share from X and Y makes its triumphant return and seriously boosts the rate at which all party members level up. Also, it appears that one of the sidequests/subplots surrounding a machine piece needed to aid electric gym leader Wattson has been removed entirely – a welcome removal, in my opinion, as it was clunky and was one of the first major moments of the pacing being thrown off in the original Ruby and Sapphire.

Now for the not-so-great – the 3DS retelling of these Pokémon adventures in the Hoenn region suffers from the same lack of direction that I encountered around the halfway point of my playthrough of the GBA Sapphire. This is especially disappointing as Omega Ruby had been going out of its way a bit to give players more clear indication of what their next step was supposed to be. Now that has apparently dropped off, right as I’m reaching the areas of Hoenn where paths begin to split and the environments become winding, lengthy, and generally confusing. IGN received some flack for their dislike of the large water regions in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, but I personally have no problem with the Hoenn seaways – at the very least, those are navigable, and rarely are any of the ocean segments of any Pokémon game too large to frequently lose your way. But man, maybe Team Aqua was on to something when they said they wanted to drown the continent, because Hoenn’s continental layout is not the best.

On the topic of my current team, I have put Squirtle away in the PC, favoring Corpish for the time being. Chimchar has since evolved into Monferno, Beldum into Metang, and I’ve added an Emolga to my team to better round it out. This new lineup has worked out pretty well so far, and I’ve only had to box any of them temporarily to progress north with the use of HMs (another aspect of Omega Ruby that feels archaic and saps from the fun factor a bit).

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