One Of The Worst Pokémon Games Is Getting Remade, And It Looks Good

One Of The Worst Pokémon Games Is Getting Remade, And It Looks Good

If we absolutely had to pick the worst Pokémon game, I wouldn't blame anyone for putting Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire high on the list. Don't get me wrong -- I love those games to death, they defined a chunk of my childhood. But looking back, even I can admit that Ruby and Sapphire aren't exactly the best entries in the franchise.

The Pokémon selection kind of sucked in those games. Hoenn, the setting for Ruby and Sapphire, is no Kanto. Your rivals in Ruby and Sapphire don't hold a candle to Blue, your rival in the original games, either. But regardless of how many shaky elements of Ruby and Sapphire we list, the fact remains that these games are getting remade for the 3DS. Based on a chat that I had last week with Junichi Masuda, producer of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, and Shigeru Ohmori, planning director on the remakes, the Game Freak development team seems genuinely confident in the games, a sentiment that seemed to ring true for me when I got to play them.

While I didn't get very far in my demo, I did get to play up to the first town with a gym, Petalburg City. This was enough to give me a taste of what the remakes bring to the table. Most notably, I got to see first-hand how the entire game has been remade with the Pokémon X & Y engine. Graphics aren't everything of course, but boy does the game pop when updated like this:

One Of The Worst Pokémon Games Is Getting Remade, And It Looks Good

The new character models work wonders for convincing you that even ugly Pokémon, like Luvdisc, deserve to be in your party too. This alone mediates the fact that the original games didn't have the best Pokémon selection. It also helps that the remakes introduce a new mechanic that make Pokémon you catch feel extra special. Players now have the ability to scan the area for unique Pokémon -- and, should you happen to find a patch of rustling grass, you'll be given the chance to sneak up on a Pokémon to catch it, like so:

One Of The Worst Pokémon Games Is Getting Remade, And It Looks Good

The mechanic makes use of the circlepad, which allows players to walk or run at different speeds -- or, in this case, even tip toe. While it's extra work, you'll want to catch Pokémon like this if you have the chance. Anything you nab this way is more likely to have better stats, if not special moves. One Poochyena that I caught via tiptoeing early in the game, for example, came equipped with a move called "Fire Fang." Normally, the only way Poochyena can learn this move is through breeding -- but here, Poochyena just knew the move naturally, making it better than the average Poochyena caught in the wild. Tiptoeing is the sort of mechanic that made me go around wanting to catch every Pokémon, even if I didn't necessarily want to use it -- I was just so curious about what special moves a Pokémon might come equipped with. For the record: I found a Lotad with the move Fake Out, and a Zigzagoon with Charm (which was listed as a fairy move, in case you were wondering about whether or not fairies would make a return). Again, with both of these, they were moves that the monsters wouldn't normally know unless I caught them via tiptoeing.

The remakes are full of smaller details like this. You'll notice that the grass sways in the wind, or that trainers are introduced with a special illustration at the start of battle. Heck, at the start of the game, depending on what gender you pick, the Pokémon plushie in your room is different -- the girl gets a Lapras, whereas the boy gets a Snorlax. The game also comes with a variety of map improvements, which let you look at what trainers are located on what routes, whether or not you've caught every Pokémon in every route, and the ability to simply tap on a route to fly there.

There are more big picture things to be excited about too, of course. We're seeing the return of megas, and while plenty do the admirable job of making cool Pokémon even neater, the introduction of mega Slowbro shows that Game Freak is definitely willing to have some fun with the mechanic, too. You might recall mega Slowbro being the doofiest mega evolution yet thanks to a design that makes it look like Slowbro is upset that it is mega evolving.

"The design was originally my idea," Shigeru Ohmori said. "Actually, with Slowbro, the fact the tail is being bitten is actually the source of its power -- so the idea being that, if it was being eaten even more, then perhaps it could bring out even more power. Slowbro itself isn't changing. The thing that's actually mega evolving is Cloyster. I worked with the graphic designers to come up with a cool design that would surprise players, and that was a lot of fun."

And we can't forget about primal reversion, a form of mega evolution that allows Pokémon like Kyogre and Groudon to revert into more powerful prehistoric forms. Masuda and Ohmori were mum on whether or not this mechanic meant we'd be able to revert fossil Pokémon to more ancient forms too, but for now it seems clear that primal reversion allows the remakes to tell a new story with the legendaries they feature on the cover. Much of the point of the remakes, I was told, was to try to find the secret behind the new mega evolutions.

One Of The Worst Pokémon Games Is Getting Remade, And It Looks Good

Contests, meanwhile, may not add anything to the battles in Pokémon, but I personally think they're a great distraction. Pokémon Amie proves that we're more than willing to virtually pet our pocket monsters. Why wouldn't we want to gussy them up and show them off too, as contests allow us to do? Contests are a natural addition to the franchise, which return in this game -- and that's great, because the new engine means we can show off our beautiful Pokémon better than ever before.

I just wish that Alpha and Omega let us dress up more Pokémon than just Pikachu. Maybe one day we'll be able to dress more Pokémon up as little rockstars or nerds, but for now they're limiting this mechanic to Pikachu, as it is the most iconic Pokémon of them all. I imagine that the prospect of creating articles of clothing that would fit a Charizard just as well as they do a Wailord might be a bit of a logistical nightmare, so the move makes sense.

Finally, we have the inclusion of secret bases, which allow players to decorate a hidden space, Animal Crossing style. Look at this shit.

One Of The Worst Pokémon Games Is Getting Remade, And It Looks Good

Do you not want to collect every single Pokémon plushie in existence? Are you not driven into stupor by how cute the prospect of collecting Pokémon plushies is? Is that just me? OK, well, even if you're not giddy about the idea of Pokémon Feng shui, one of the most promising elements of secret bases is that battles can be conducted inside your base -- which allows you to basically create your own Pokemon gym where friends and players around the world alike can challenge you. You can even set your mini-gym up with your own puzzles and rules, if you'd like.

Pokémon dress-up could be its own game. Pokémon Gym Leader RPG could be its own game. Pokémon wrassling could be its own game. OK, maybe not that last one, but still. All of these exciting things are folded into a single, already solid game -- which makes it easy for me to feel like the upcoming remakes are one of the most exciting entries in the franchise yet, despite being based on one of the weakest Pokémon games. Then again, being arguably the worst Pokémon game is like being a bad slice of pizza. You're still eating pizza, and that's pretty rad. I realise this is a somewhat silly metaphor.

Some other assorted tidbits you might be interested in:

  • I was not told if Battle Frontier would make a return, though I can't imagine they'd leave it out.
  • All the social features from X & Y will be making a return in these newer games, in some form.
  • You won't be able to customise your characters, unfortunately.
  • Sometimes, you'll see flocks of 'mon in the background. It's a nice touch.
  • When you look up a route, you can highlight trainers -- and the game will show you a profile that includes the trainer's preferred strategy, their favourite 'mon, and their trainer message.

Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby release on November 21st for the 3DS. Before that, there will be a special demo for the game on the e-shop -- and it will include stuff that players can import into the main game once that releases, such as special Pokémon. We'll update you on the specifics of that once we know more. For now, stay tuned as we bring you more from our interview with Masuda and Ohmori later in the week.


Comments

    "One Of The Worst Pokémon Games Is Getting Remade, And It Looks Good"
    It really wasn't even bad. At all.
    I don't see the point putting a title like that up, Especially with its meta score.

      Click-bait. It's why I clicked on it.

      There seems to be a general consensus that Ruby/Sapphire was the worst of the main Pokemon games, although this doesn't necessarily mean that they were bad. I happen to agree personally, but it's not like I didn't enjoy them. They just weren't as good as what came before or came since (although Black/White was pretty lackluster).

        In my humble opinion, ruby and saphire was wayyyy better then black and white 1 and 2.

          Totally agree with you there. I am a life-long fan of the Pokemon franchise and I can honestly say I enjoyed RSE more than most games in the series.

            Yep.
            My most loved in order:
            Red
            Gold
            Ruby
            Heartgold.
            In my head they are the only pokemon games that exist.

              Hm they are such classics. I enjoyed Gen 1, Gen 2 and Gen 3 the most. I did play through the others but the stories weren't that memorable to be honest.

    I don't think the majority regards RSE as the worst. Gen IV and V are probably going to be the least memorable in the future, or maybe even VI. There's a reason why there's an insane amount of hype for this game, way more than there was for HGSS and FRLG.

      There's actually a lot of love behind Gen IV. Gen V and VI doesn't have as big of a community behind them, but they probably will in a few years.

    Pikachu channel and the first pokemon rumble were the only bad ones I can think of.

    Also, I really want a new pokemon pinball!

      I was gonna say I thought pokemon rumble was the worst game they've released

    The heading is very misleading here. These may not have been the best pokemon games but they certainly weren't bad games and there's certainly a large number of people who enjoyed them. You made out as if they were poor releases. Not surprised to see Hernandez wrote this considering most of her articles use click bait headings or say no spoilers then list spoilers.

    I'd probably say that Pearl and Diamond was my least enjoyable. I actually put ruby and sapphire up there in terms of quality.

      I pretty much agree. Though for me Ruby and Sapphire took a little bit to grow on me. Unlike Gold/Silver which had a LOT of familiarity, Ruby and Sapphire went further in providing some different experiences (e.g. seemingly less access to some of the older Pokemon and a LOT of focus on the new ones and environments etc).

      Ultimately though Ruby and Sapphire were great (and arguably the biggest leap from the previous games) and grew on a lot of people. I really disliked playing through Diamond on the other hand because it felt so slow (pace-wise) and boring.

    Of course we're all going to take issue with the headline. If it's not Diamond and Pearl, then it's not the worst Pokemon game.

    I hadn't seen Mega Slowbro before, that was a treat. And the shaking grass idea sounds pretty awesome; I am so getting this.

    Pity about the clickbaity headline, there's some decent info in this article.
    And yeah, Diamond/Pearl was the worst - they were bad enough to make me give up on the series for a good 5 years or so (discovered HGSS on the lead up to X/Y and back in as strong as ever now)

      For some reason I was never all that interested in Diamond or Pearl, I ended up skipping straight to Heart Gold because I was really looking forward to a Gold/Silver remake. I went back a few years ago to play Diamond and I'm glad I skipped it in the first place. It was incredibly difficult to bring myself to keep playing it.

        I went back and replayed them all a little while ago, and yep, it was still pretty terrible, and I see why I stopped playing the moment the E4 was clear.

    Is it bad that I prefer the line clean lines of the original, over the stupidly-pixellated attempt at 3D models in the updated one?

    With the exclusion of all the spin-offs, Diamond and Pearl were the worst. I didn't mind the choice of Pokemon, nor the setting, or Team Galactic, or even how much more of a challenge it seemed to be compared to previous titles.

    No, what pissed me off the most was how SLOW battles were. Choose an attack, wait one second... "Turtwig used Razor Leaf!" Wait one second... The animation plays. Wait one second... The opponent's health bar goes down. Rinse and repeat.

    I couldn't stand playing it, although thankfully, it was mostly fixed when Platinum came out.

    i think by now with this new engine we can have pokemon out of their poke balls. it was such a nice touch when playing the game, i miss that. And instead of having the first pokemon in the party as the one outside the ball but choose which one you wanted.
    This new feature of "Soar" is freaking awesome. but is it only limited to Latias and Latios?
    getting high hopes for a pokemon game featuring more regions in the one game on the 3DS

    Thur Ruby/Sapphire generation was the first one that saw the "remakes in the new engine" thing. So what are the chances of getting a Fire Red / Leaf Green remake in this X/Y engine? :P

      0, since they already did Fire Red and Leaf Green on a DS card, allowing it in the chain of legionaries and such. I think half the point of these ports is for the ones on old hardware, like the original Gameboy (Still got my Blue version, kids love it!) and the GBA. I wish they'd have made Pokemon Bank read all of the NDS ones though, since trading up through versions is just tedious.

    Here let me fix your headline "Pokemon ORAS: I had my doubts but I am now convinced!"
    That way the reader knows what the article is about but it still promotes interest! (Y)

    Them fighting words. *shakes fist*
    Besides, weren't Pearl/Diamond the least liked Pokemon games?

      Can anyone explain why? I skipped from 1st gen onto D/P when I got a DS, and quite enjoyed them and still replay them occasionally. What was so bad about them?

        The content at the start is simply poor. All of the wild Pokemon until you reach the about the third gym are bad, and you would never want to use them. The fourth generation changed up a lot of mechanics, almost entirely to the detriment of the game.
        There is an inherent clunkyness to the game that is hard to ignore. Even moving around and moving through menus is clunky compared to previous generations for reasons unknown. The game just didn't feel responsive. Perhaps the game just had a bad framerate. I won't blame the DS's d-pad, as it worked fine playing FireRed/LeafGreen/Ruby/Sapphire.

        The game is pretty poor if you like fire-types, as there are only 3 evolutionary chains in the main game that have the fire type. Despite this, Game Freak had the audacity to make a "fire-type" elite four member, and pretend that Drifblim and Steelix are fire Pokemon.

        I don't know if I ever actually beat the game. I've restarted so many times due to boredom. It's become a new tradition to start a new game every six months, and get bored and quit upon reaching Floramora Town.

        I have not bought another Pokemon game since. Although this can be attributed more to money, the fourth generation kinda killed my interest in new Pokemon games. Despite this, I have beaten both FireRed and Sapphire at least three times each since getting Pearl in 2008.

        Thank you for reading my entirely objective and 100% infallible opinion. :P

          Fair enough, I can't really refute anything you say. Maybe I just have too much fondness for it being when I got back into it.

    God, this site sometimes... I don't get why I keep coming.... but anyway, I'm hyped my, fav Pokemon gen.

    I never bought Ruby or Saphire, I waited for the third release, Emerald.

    I wonder till this day, however, why they never did a third game for Pokemon X and Y. Pokemon Z or something.

    it was definitly NOT the worst. My favourite was gold and silver but from an objective point of vue i have to say R/S were defibitly the stronger ones and the future entries have always lacked the depth that R/S/E had. Underground base, different layout of the lava/water depending which game you used, full of easter eggs, thr hidden rayquaza tower.... i can go on and on and on. It was the only real upgrade to gold and silver, every other game has always only been a downgrade, especially x and y since theres almost nothing to do after the league. Anyways ive loved every other game even x and y but if someone really has to be objective, especially when writing an article about it, it would be foolish to say they were the worst entries. Your article was good but i would erase and leave that part of the article for yourself only because it is completely biased

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