Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

Game Freak is no stranger to remakes. We've already seen upgrades of Pokémon Red and Green on the Game Boy Advance, as well as Gold and Silver on the DS. The time's finally come for Ruby and Sapphire. And compared to the others, this is the best yet.

If you've played any Pokémon game before you know the score by now - grab a Pokédex, nab your starter critter, and head out on on your merry way to becoming a Pokémon Master by fighting Gym Leaders, taking on the champ, saving the world, and catching 'em all.

The remastered areas and cutscenes have been spruced up enough to make the game feel new, with a few completely redesigned locations now near-unrecognisable.

The localisation is up with Nintendo's best. While I'm not one for storylines in Pokémon games, Game Freak has fleshed out the characters enough to make the overarching plot more palatable and, dare I say it, bordering on interesting.

Each title has its own set of exclusive Pokémon, with Omega Ruby featuring the Legendary Groudon and Alpha Sapphire the Legendary Kyogre. The focus on miscreants Team Magma and Team Aqua also shifts depending on which version of the game you pick up.

All your base

One aspect Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire focuses on is injecting replayability into just about every area in the game. You can re-battle Pokémon Trainers and Gym Leaders every 24 hours, as well as scout out new Super Secret Bases, and pick and replant berries.

Super Secret Bases replace the Secret Bases of yore, which were previously only transferable via Game Boy Advance link cables. Now, thanks to the modern tech of StreetPassing and QR codes, populating each and every Super Secret Base is incredibly easy.

Trainers in each Secret Base can be recruited for your own, meaning you can store several trainers to create an impromptu Pokémon Gym of sorts. Each of these trainers can be battled daily, and will also craft some sort of furniture for your base to boot.

There are plenty more Secret Bases to find and fill here, and it'll take some time for you to choose between a prime, easily accessible location or a huge base with great berry access out in the middle of nowhere.

Berry good

Berries are much more important in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire as they can be made into Pokéblocks, thankfully without going through the rigamarole of the mini-game in the original versions.

Pokéblocks are used to improve the Cool, Beauty, Cute, Smart, and Tough stats that are checked in Pokémon Contests, another feature returning to the Pokémon games.

Every move in the game correlates to one of the aforementioned stats, meaning you'll have to shake things up accordingly if you're planning on clearing each Master Rank with the same 'mon.

After your first Contest you'll receive a special Pikachu that changes its form and one of its Moves depending on which Contest type you want to take on.

Nu tech

While you can storm through the main campaign in a dozen hours or so, but the new PokéNav features make blitzing it just a might tougher for completionists.

DexNav displays all the Pokémon you've caught in the area, as well as a badge once you've nabbed each and every one.

Once a beastie's been caught, it can be summoned out by tapping its icon on the bottom screen. The more you fight each type of critter, the more likely it is to have a rarer moveset, hidden abilities, and even better stats.

AreaNav is much more interactive than previous maps, enabling you to fly to routes and caves as well as the usual towns and cities. You can also see when berries are prime for picking, and which Trainers are ready to battle again.

BuzzNav displays news of in-game events and interviews with StreetPassers. The Player Search System, Pokémon-Amie, and Super Training also return in their own PokéNav tab.

Old dog

The post-game is ripe with an inordinate amount of things to do and Legendary Pokémon to catch. If you're a Pokéfanatic you'll have dozens, if not hundreds of hours of content to keep you busy.

The biggest disappointment for Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire is the lack of trainer customisation, especially when you consider the focus on exchanging Super Secret Bases.

It's worth noting that new Mega Evolutions and Primal Reversions won't be playable in or transferable to Pokémon X and Y, but this has been the case for new Forms since the DS generation of Pokémon games.

If Pokémon is your cup of tea, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire is a must whether you've played the originals or not. It's not quite as great a place to start for newcomers as Pokémon as X and Y were though.

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire brings back and adds some great features, but not without cutting out some of the standards set in Pokémon X and Y
Danny Russell
Danny Russell
After spending years in Japan collecting game developers' business cards, Danny has returned to the UK to breed Pokemon. He spends his time championing elusive region-exclusive games while shaking his fist at the whole region-locking thing.