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Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire Review

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Gen 3 of Pokemon is arguably my favorite generation in the entire series. It has awesome starters, locales, gym leaders, and… well… everything. Here’s my review of Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire!

The Great:

Gameplay:

Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire didn’t change the formula of Pokemon. It’s roughly the same as the previous two generations of games except for one new feature. It introduced us to double battles. A double battle is when you can use two of Pokemon at the same time. There’s an entire gym dedicated to double battles in this game and it’s honestly one of the easiest gyms in the game. Everything else is pretty much the same as ever. There are some new versions of Poke Balls and the Pokenav, but I honestly preferred the phone calls in Gold & Silver because it gave it a more personal feeling have one of your friends that you made while traveling call you for a rematch. What’s here is good though. You should already know what to expect here. You travel around the Hoenn region while trying to catch all the Pokemon, overcoming obstacles in your way, and battling various different Pokemon trainers. This game has you surfing a lot more than any game before it. A good chunk of Hoenn is water and I personally loved it. This game also introduced us to a new HM (yay… :() that lets us dive underwater. Some Pokemon, and Pokemon trainers, can only be found underwater so it’s good to dive every now and then to see what you can find. 

Battling Pokemon trainers isn’t the only thing to do in this game. You can enter beauty contest. At first I was questioning whether or not it would be worth my time. It is. Why? Because a certain Pokemon will only evolve with a high beauty stat. That Pokemon is Feebas. Even without Feebas I still entered and won a few contest just to experience what it was like and I had fun. It made my Pokemon happy too so there’s that. 

Sounds:

This game has arguably the best soundtrack out of all the Pokemon games. And the fact that it’s backed, at the time, by new hardware added to the experience for me. This game sounds good. Even the Pokemon cries got a little better over the previous generations. Every city had it’s own unique tune and has the best villain music in the entire series. Listen to this –

Nothing beats that battle music. There’s no voice acting like with the previous Pokemon games and honestly these games don’t need them. 

Pokemon:

This game is filled with great Pokemon. Not only are the three starter Pokemon fantastic, but the ones you catch are too. Breloom, Gardevoir, Sableye, Mawile, Medicham, and Camerupt are some of my favorites in the game. I have to give a special shout-out to Flygon too. That’s one badass dragon Pokemon there. The legendaries are great too. I love Latios, Latias, and Rayquaza. Rayquaza is still one of the strongest Pokemon ever. There’s so much to do in this game and so many Pokemon to collect. It’s amazing.

Starter Pokemon

I’m one of those people that think starter Pokemon are important. They’re supposed to be your companion for the entire game. Not stored away on your PC (Pokemon Black & White) like other Pokemon. Torchic, Mudkip, and Treeko are all amazing starter Pokemon. Treeko is my least favorite of the trio, but I still really like its design and move-pool. Torchic is my favorite by far, but Mudkip is no slouch either. He’s arguably the strongest of the three starters. I’m not going to go into great detail on why I love them. You can click here for that. 

Gym Leaders:

This game took a step back from Gold & Silver with the gym leaders. I really like them, but they’re not as unique as the ones from the previous generation. Last gen had Bug, Ghost, and Steel type gyms. This one is back to your basic Rock, Water, Electric gyms. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I kind of wish they would have been more creative with them. I still enjoyed beating the crap out of them. The Elite Four and Pokemon Champion is what makes this game. The end of the game is pure Pokemon battling bliss. 

The Good:

Story:

You know the drill guys. You want to be the very best that no one ever was. That remains true in this game, but that’s not all there is. Team Aqua and Team Magma are a refreshing change from Team Rocket. Team Magma want to see the world burn while Team Aqua wants to flood it with water. In short, both of these teams are incredibly fucked up and only realize the error of their ways after they succeed with their plans. I really enjoyed the adventure and story in this game even if it is a simple one. This was the first Pokemon game that had cool antagonist to me and that made it more memorable over your generic Team Rocket. 

Graphics:

Ruby & Sapphire are good looking game. They launched on the Gameboy Advance and you could easily see all of the improvements over the original Gameboy. The environments looked lively and you could actually see your reflection in the water as you ran past it. The Pokemon looked great, the NPCs, and your protagonist, saw the biggest change in my opinion. They looked good, but the animations were still lacking for the most part. This game, like every Pokemon game, has aged well and isn’t ugly, but you can tell that it’s getting old. 

The Bad:

It’s Not A Big Leap Forward For The Series:

The GameBoy Advance is more to blame here than Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire. It’s not a good system, but it has some fantastic games on it. Pokemon stands above them all. Yes, Ruby & Sapphire are pretty games, but the leap should have been… better than what we got here. 

You can find my review of Pokemon Red & Blue by clicking here. My review of Gold & Silver here. I also wrote my a list of my top 10 least favorite starter Pokemon. You can find that here. If you want to read my top 10 favorite starter Pokemon click here

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The Verdict

Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire are fantastic games. Everything from the first three Pokemon you can choose from to the end credits is fantastic. The soundtrack, Pokemon, and amount of exploration in this game continues to impress me to this day. Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire are in a class of their own and is one of the best generations of Pokemon I've ever played.

10
Final Score:
10

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