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Pokemon Alpha Sapphire – Nintendo 3DS

Pokemon Alpha Sapphire – Nintendo 3DS

250px-Alpha_Sapphire_EN_boxartPlatform: Nintendo 3DS

Developer: Game Freak

Publisher: Nintendo/ The Pokemon Company

Release Date: November 21, 2014

Genre: Role-playing

Nerd Rating: 9 out of 10

It’s quite obvious by my rating that Pokemon: Alpha Sapphire gave me one of the most pleasurable gaming experiences of 2014. I was taking my 3DS everywhere- to work, school, to the Christmas dinner at my grandma’s house, etc. Alpha Sapphire is a breath of fresh air. I loved every second of it, feeling every bit of childhood nostalgia come rushing back in. It’s happy, fun, colorful, and everything you would come to expect from a Pokemon game. I embraced every bit of it from start to finish.

The game begins with your character riding in the back of a moving van, playing the original Pokemon Sapphire game. It’s a clever way to show the old game while being introduced to the new 3-D environment. It’s at this moment you choose your gender and name for the game.

You get to choose between two armpit-sniffing delinquents. Yay!

You get to choose between two armpit-sniffing delinquents. Yay!

You’re moving to Littleroot Town in the Hoenn region with your loving mother and father, Norman, who has become the gym leader of Petalburg City. After settling in your new home and meeting your friendly rival Brendan (or a girl named May, if you choose the boy character), your Pokemon Trainer journey begins. Professor Birch (your rival’s father), is cornered by a wild Pokemon while doing some research, and you must choose one of three Pokemon to help him out. There’s Mudkip (water-type), Torchic (fire-type), and Treecko (grass-type).

The Hoenn region starter pack: Treecko, Torchic, and Mudkip.

The Hoenn region starter pack: Treecko, Torchic, and Mudkip.

What’s really nice about this game being a re-make is that it’s an older generation of Pokemon and there’s no pressure to know every single damn Pokemon in existence (it’s a very cluttered, overwhelming feeling in Pokemon Black and Pokemon White that I’ve noticed). The 3-D graphics look great in Pokemon Alpha Sapphire. The vibrant, bright colors bode well for the Pokemon universe and it just makes everything look fantastic. Only one small issue though, and it doesn’t happen too often, is the 3-D causing the graphics to have a have a slower frame rate which causes a wee bit of a lag for a couple seconds when launching a battle. But again, only a wee issue that’s not detrimental to the game.

The battles themselves are a lot more fun than they were in the previous games. Pokemon are no longer static (thanks to Pokemon X and Pokemon Y as well), and the energetic music adds excitement to a turn-based combat experience. Alpha Sapphire also utilizes Mega Evolution, which is still fairly new in the Pokemon universe. When a Pokemon is holding a “Mega Stone” and its trainer, a “Key Stone,” Mega Evolution can take place in battle, causing a significant advantage in strength for the Pokemon using it. There’s also a neat “super-training” mechanic that allows you to train your Pokemon to become stronger. In this feature, you can also play games and increase bonding and trust because everyone knows that if there’s no love between Trainer and Pokemon, then there’s nothing.

STRENGTH IS POWER! said the Blaziken on steroids...

STRENGTH IS POWER! said the Blaziken on steroids…

There’s a lot to admire about this game, but one odd thing I would like to praise is the rival character that compliments your character. In the past I’ve always felt that the “friendly” rival would be abundantly cocky and too thirsty for success, but I really liked Brendan and his humbleness, but yet he still provides a decent challenge for you and your Pokemon as you progress through your journey.

Making him cross-eyed also aids Brendan's humble nature.

Making him cross-eyed also aids Brendan’s humble nature.

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve done nothing so far except praise Alpha Sapphire but for some reason it doesn’t have a ‘perfect 10’ rating, and that’s because I did, indeed, nit-pick at one thing, and that’s those absolutely annoying water pathways that just irritate me to the core and just love to try my patience. As like before, you can get around via running shoes or a bike, but when it comes to surfing the waves, it’s way too tedious. It can get painstakingly repetitive to Surf, Dive, Surf, Dive, bump into some rocks, turn around again, accidentally meet land and fall off your Pokemon, get back onto said Pokemon, Dive, Dive, Surf- you get the picture. And when the fate of the world depends on you taming primal Kyogre’s rage and there’s a strong sense of urgency, it can be very frustrating. I’m definitely not a fan of those segments, but thankfully they didn’t ruin the entire game for me. However, the most fun way by far to travel is by flight, and I don’t just mean to fast travel, but to actually experience 3-D flight with your Pokemon (How to Train Your Dragon style). You don’t unlock the ability to do so until later in the game, but it’s worth it. Also, flight allows you to find hidden areas and rewards that you couldn’t get to before.

I believe I can fllllllyyyy

I believe I can fllllllyyyy

Alpha Sapphire is also not just a re-make with nothing else to offer. In addition, Game Freak has added The Delta Episode that explores the lore of Mega Evolution and grants you the opportunity to catch the legendary Pokemon Rayquaza and Deoxys, which are incredible Pokemon to have.

I dare you to take one look at this Rayquaza and tell me you don't want this badass on your team.

I dare you to take one look at this Rayquaza and tell me you don’t want this badass on your team.

I adore Alpha Sapphire and it was most definitely worth my time. It allowed me to re-live old gaming memories while at the same time granting me new ones (I was at work when I finally caught Deoxys and I screamed out of pure joy). It’s fun, colorful, exciting, intriguing and all around a great addition for any Pokemon fan or gamer alike. It was more than a nostalgia trip… It was a nostalgia experience.


*insert contented sigh here*

Written by Sarus Vakarian

Sarus is an alien princess training under the best of the MemeLords in a town that is South of Southern Canada. She hates Mass Effect, Invader Zim, Tomb Raider, South Park, and heavy metal. Sarus currently has two Hellhounds under her care. She thoroughly enjoys harassing Butch Hartman on Twitter, and occasionally sits and drinks alcohol on the Girls Got Game Twitch streams with NerdyFriend.
Feel free to add her on Steam under the name: Commander Lara, and on Xbox Live: Not Lara.
Twitter and Instagram: Sarusvakarian


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