I grew up with a Gameboy in my hand as a kid. I got the original, giant grey one, upgraded to a Gamboy Color when that happened, then to a Gameboy SP and finally to the new Nintendo 3DS. Needless to say, I know my Nintendo hand-held systems. A game that changed the genre of RPG’s was Nintendo’s ultra world phenomenon, Pokémon. Starting with Blue and Red, this game has morphed into a cultural explosion of crazy little monsters fighting until they pass out and crazy hidden elemental powers that can erupt out of their bodies at any time (totally normal). Pikachu became a household name and people all around the world knew that “you gotta catch ’em all!” in order to be a Pokémon Master. I personally have had a love affair with Pokémon for almost 20 years now and it has been recently renewed with the re-release of Pokémon Ruby.
I decided to pick up the remastered version of Pokémon: Ruby, titled for the DS Pokémon: Omega Ruby. I figured that this game would be an old rehashing of the original game that brought millions joy and that it would be such an easy cash cow that Nintendo would just add a couple of bells and whistles and please the fanboy for buying the same game again that they did 10 years ago for another $40. Boy, was I wrong.
The game begins as all Pokémon games do; you’re moving into a new town, your dad is no where in sight and you are like 11 years old, looking to go explore the world on your own with a couple of strange creatures who, oddly enough, obey what you say and some shoot fire out of their mouth. Cool right? With Omega Ruby, everything is 3D, which for a Pokémon game, is really exciting and new, especially to the old folk like me. You eventually have to save the professor of the town, in this case it’s the portly Professor Birch, from impending doom and destruction by battling a level 3 Pokémon.
You have 3 choices in the beginning, the fire type Torchick, the water type, Mudkip or the grass type, Treecko. This is an important choice and most have learned to stay away from the grass type (Bulbasaur was not the greatest of Pokémon.) My choice was to pick Mudkip, mostly because he makes all of the beginning boss battles easier and he is also ground type, which is awesome. The battle sequence in this game is astounding and the graphics are impressive. The animations for attacking are colorful and some of the various moves truly bring the battles to life. I chose tackle as my first attack and of course, I won the battle quite easily. The game was fun and felt like new, even though it was the re-hashings of a game from 10 years ago.
After my first battle, I was hooked. Playing through, gaining gym badges in dazzling gym battles, catching and sneaking up on random Pokémon, figuring out what a mega evolution was (its badass for sure) and enjoying an actual 3D version of Pokémon. I enjoy the fights, I liked the contests and I even became invested the modified story lines. This wasn’t your mothers Pokémon game, it was a whole new beast, and I really enjoyed it. Flying around the map, fighting off the evil team Magma, your character grows and lives alongside 6 of the coolest pets a boy (or girl) can have. It was like old times sake and I didn’t have to feel weird about it because it was so damn good.
While the Wii U has been struggling in the console war, Nintendo has been pumping out great games for the DS and this game is a shining example of that. Nintendo outdid themselves with this evolution (excuse the pun) of an ever growing franchise. Children of this generation now get to enjoy the games that I enjoyed as a kid and Nintendo has made them even better. Pokémon has always been that game that I could just pick up and play. Enjoying the simplicity of running around, fighting small children and taking their money after I beat the snot out of their pets; it never gets old. So bravo to you Nintendo, you the real MVP for continuing to make and remake great games. If only you could give us another Zelda game….