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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

New Pokémon games nostalgic and fun

On Nov. 21, I took a seat at a table in a Caribou Coffee and started a new file in Pokémon Omega Ruby, prepared for a new, yet familiar adventure in 3D. Instead, I was overcome with the memory my nine-year-old self sitting down at my parents’ dining room table, eager to play Pokémon Ruby. In both games, a two-dimensional male greeted me and welcomed me to the world of Pokémon.

I was not beginning anew but instead revisiting my past.

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are fantasy role-playing games created by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the 3DS. They were released in North America on Nov. 21. ORAS are recreations of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, which were released 12 years ago.

The games cost roughly $40 each and can be acquired either by purchasing a physical copy or by buying a digital copy on Nintendo’s eShop.

Given their nature as remakes, it would not be shocking for ORAS to invoke nostalgia in longtime fans.

“The opening almost brought me to tears,” said sophomore Taylor Brown. “(It) paid quite the homage to the original games.”

In addition to the familiar opening, ORAS implemented some of the old graphics in a few places, and the setting remains nearly the same, albeit transformed into beautiful 3D. The soundtrack is revamped from the original musical score. Important characters returned, and an abundance of the original dialogue was brought over. Lastly, the storyline — which is slightly different depending on the game played — and features returned.

While staying true to their predecessors, ORAS made changes to or included characteristics not present in the originals. Locations, characters, features, etc. were altered to fix any issues from the first versions and to take advantage of the updated modern graphics, such as a somewhat gated city transformed into a miniature mall-esque setting. With recent advances in technology, players can also connect with fellow Pokémon fans wirelessly or globally.

ORAS also introduced new characters, areas and features in addition to the Pokémon and features from previous games. One significant addition is the ample number of activities for players to partake in after beating the main storyline, something that the predecessors — and many other Pokémon games — lacked.

“One of the best parts about (ORAS) is the post-game,” said first-year Christopher Perez. “It seems like (Game Freak) is making (Pokémon) games a lot more story driven, so (post-game content) really adds to (ORAS).”

The first notable piece of post-game content is an extension to the story. After watching the end credits, the “Delta Episode” begins. This special episode features a new story and must be completed in order to access even more activities, such as taking on the Battle Maison, a facility for Pokémon battles.

Players may also re-battle the Pokémon League, a group of the region’s toughest people. Their teams consist of different Pokémon and are more challenging than the first time they are battled. All of them can now “Mega Evolve” one of their Pokémon, boosting their power for the duration of the battle.

The new features are also worth noting. One in particular is the DexNav, a search application that identifies Pokémon sticking their head or tail out of grass, sand or water. Depending on the app’s search level, the Pokémon may have special traits, such as a higher level than normal or a move typically obtainable through breeding certain Pokémon. As someone who avoids capturing Pokémon, I have spent hours using the DexNav to encounter and capture Pokémon.

Another new addition is the ability to fly freely across the region and find “Mirage Spots,” areas that contain rare Pokémon, including legendary Pokémon.

“The amount of legendaries in the game is ridiculous,” said sophomore Ward Sandberg. “I never really kept up with legendaries and never transferred them to new games … now I have the chance (to obtain them).”

Before ORAS were released, many of these elusive, powerful Pokémon could only be obtained by transporting them from older games via an online server accessed through a separate application. This prevented people who did not own the older games or could not connect to the Internet on their 3DS from acquiring most legendary Pokémon.

Although many new features are added, ORAS does not neglect original features, namely Secret Bases. These bases are created by using a special attack in certain places, such as a hole in a wall. Players may decorate their bases as they like and can set up teams for others to battle. Thanks to the current technology, players can share their Secret Base with others globally via a QR Code or by passing other players.

Though ORAS attempted to make the games more fun by including, revamping and adding numerous features, I found myself feeling less excited than when I first played the previous Pokémon games: X and Y. One of the main factors is the games’ difficulty: long-time or experienced Pokémon players may find most of the gameplay poses no challenge.

The lack of difficulty may be due to ORAS being a remake. Many characters retained the Pokémon they owned in the original games. With new game mechanics making leveling Pokémon easier, the characters are not as challenging as they were.

Fortunately, ORAS becomes more difficult toward the end and after the main story. I particularly found the Delta Episode and Pokémon League rematches formidable. The Battle Maison is also challenging, as it requires considerable knowledge in Pokémon and some strategy in order to conquer it.

When considering whether to play ORAS, people must first consider their status as remakes: they need to include many aspects from the games they are recreated from. As a result, they may be initially perceived as lacking in quality compared to other recent Pokémon games. However, ORAS succeed in being good remakes, as they appeal to children and both new and older fans.

“A lot of kids who like Pokémon may have never played or even heard of Ruby and Sapphire,” said junior Ryan Siebens. “The release of (ORAS) is a way for them to play, and the people who have played (the originals) would really love (the remakes).”

By remaking older games, Game Freak allows new fans and children to experience Pokémon’s earlier generations and features.

“I feel as though (children) just get spoiled by (new Pokémon games) without knowing what the original story, characters or Pokémon were,” said sophomore Taylor Brown in an email interview.

For new and old Pokémon fans and people looking to lose themselves in a simple but fantastical adventure, ORAS are the perfect games to get.

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