Pokemon Omega Ruby was pretty much the only video game I spent any real time playing this past weekend. I did log into EVE Online to keep my planetary interaction operations going, and I updated and played a match in World of Tanks, but that was about it.
Of course, part of that was because my wife and I have been binge-watching Breaking Bad over the last week or so. Binge watching TV means sitting on the couch, away from my computer. But the 3DS handheld and Pokemon can sit with me on the couch. I listen to the dialog from the TV as I play, putting the game down to watch the show when talking leads to action.
The combined activities meant I was able to get through the first six gyms in Pokemon Omega Ruby as well as resolving the main Team Magma/Team Aqua plot point.
That is one of the differentiation between the two games. In Omega Ruby you fight Team Magma and are somewhat assisted by Team Aqua, while in Alpha Sapphire the reverse is true. Both teams have a Bond villain scale plan for exploiting the powers of a legendary Pokemon in order to change the world and both realize the folly of their ways and come to you, the young hero, to resolve the problems they have wrought, all before you’ve even finished the last two city gyms.
It does feel a bit odd… or maybe anti-climactic, though since you the Hoenn region was facing a cataclysm, that term might be a bit too on the nose… to resolve what is ostensibly the main story line so far ahead of facing the elite four and winning the Hoenn league championship.
Then again, the real story line is, as ever in Pokemon, your own.
The whole thing has been a good refresher for the pair of games. When they came out back in late 2014 I was coming off of the binge cycle and only played part way through, so when Pokemon Sun & Moon were looming I quickly picked up my copy of Alpha Sapphire and finished off the last essential bits… story line, elite four, and championship… before putting the game down to pick up Pokemon Sun.
Having run through it again I now know where I stand in the context of both games and can probably go chase down the post-championship legendary Pokemon in the pair.
Of course, going back to Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire meant doing without some of the game improvements that came in with Sun & Moon. I do miss the simplicity of storage box management in the new games and it is a pain to have to return to gimping your team by having to make them learn specific HM moves like Surf and Fly in order to be able to move around the world. (Teaching a Pokemon an HM also used to lock it into that game.) I also keenly miss the ability to remove status conditions after battle via the refresh option (have to drop a potion instead) and being able to put eggs into the Poke Pelago to hatch them.
On the flip side, Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire have some nice features of their own. The built in region map is good and the local map that tells you whether or not you have caught all the Pokemon types that spawn in the vicinity is very handy. The ability to soar over the landscape on Latios/Latias is pretty spiff, and the Pokemon stats training is nice, though not as convenient as the Poke Pelago.
The one thing Nintendo does do is kill most of the back end support for a Pokemon title once a successor has been shipped. While download events still happen, all the title specific special items have been turned off as has the social connectivity and the Global Trade Station access. So if I want to wheel and deal and trade Pokemon I get from the game I need to use Pokemon Bank to get them into Pokemon Sun, at which point I can use the GTS there.
Anyway, I am still plugging away at Pokemon for now.