There’s something magical about the Pokémon games. The ability to grab a few Poké Balls and head out into the wilderness on a crazy adventure captures the imagination of the kids in us. Along the way you’ll meet friends, beat rivals, catch Pokémon, conquer gyms and defeat the Elite Four in a quest to be a Pokémon Master. The formula has been the same since the series began in the late ’90s, and that’s because it works. Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire release November 21, giving Pokémon fans a chance to relive the glory days of Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Even though Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire don’t divert from the classic Pokémon roadmap, there are some changes, differences and additions you should know before revisiting the remakes of these classic games.
1. There Are New Mega Evolutions
Mega evolutions were introduced with the first 3DS Pokémon games, Pokémon X and Y. Mega evolutions allow certain Pokémon to temporarily evolve mid-battle, giving them new designs, better stats and sometimes new typing and abilities. They were a popular addition to the series, so Game Freak is giving us even more in Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire. Even Rayquaza, one of the coolest legendary Pokémon, now has a mega evolution. Other Pokémon getting this special treatment include the three starter Pokémon (Sceptile, Swampert and Blaziken, who got a mega evolution last generation), Beedrill, Pidgeot, Slowbro, Steelix, Sableye, Sharpedo, Camerupt, Altaria, Glalie, Salamence, Metagross, Lopunny, Gallade, Audino and Diancie.
2. Primal Reversions Are Awesome
Primal reversions are a new component of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Like mega evolutions, they change the stats and appearance of certain Pokémon by transforming them into prehistoric versions of themselves. Because Groudon and Kyogre are prehistoric Pokémon, they both have primal reversions instead of mega evolutions. It’s a lore-supporting way of introducing new mechanics to the game, and that’s cool with me. Throughout the game, Team Magma or Team Aqua, depending on the version you buy, are trying to use these legendary Pokémon to their will to dominate the world, so primal reversions come into play when you, the hero of your journey, step in and try to stop them.
3. The DexNav Lets You Capture Special Pokémon
One of the coolest new additions to these Pokémon games is the DexNav. It’s a special app on your Pokédex that allows you to capture special versions of Pokémon. The DexNav highlights Pokémon along each route and tells you when you’ve captured them all, but it also allows the player to sneak through tall grass and find hidden Pokémon with better stats and unique items and moves that their regular counterparts might not have. This ability allows players to find above average Pokémon right from the start of the game instead of having to breed for them post-game, which should make bosses and the Elite Four even easier. As you use the app more often, it levels up and rarer Pokémon become available. Sounds addicting!
4. You Get a Secret Base
Pokémon games always come with bonus features to appeal to children, such as beauty contests, player-made videos and other tasks that are little more than distractions from the amazing base game. Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire have given fans something almost anyone can enjoy: secret bases. A returning feature from the original games, these hidden bases can be decorated to your heart’s content with purchased Pokémon plushies and other knickknacks. You can use them to train and battle against friends, as well. As long as you don’t have to dress a Pikachu up in a frilly dress to enjoy it, these hidden outposts make for a fine addition to the Pokémon games.
5. It’s the Same Ol’ Pokémon Formula
When you get right down to it, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are the same Pokémon games you know and love. You’ll leave your mother on a quest to be a Pokémon master. You’ll get a starter Pokémon and a rival you have to defeat. You’ll run into bad guys who want to manipulate Pokémon to rule the world and have to stop them. It’s all here. But as predictable as the series is, we love it for several different reasons, and Game Freak is smart enough to not spoil a good thing. New mega evolutions and features like the ability to fly across the overworld on the back of your Pokémon are just the icing on the cake; we’re here for the Pokémon, and that’s never going to change.