The first aspect of this game that really caught me and wrestled me in was the option to sneak. By pressing slightly on the joystick of the 3DS, it is possible to move in a comically rogue-ish way. This serves two functions. The most important reason for sneaking is to catch higher level creatures that may or may not start out with much more awesome abilities than their generic counterparts.
When the game reveals this function to you, it gives you the opportunity to catch a Poochyena. To my knowledge, this Pokemon starts out with tackle. Instead of that, this 'hidden' Pokemon had Fire Bite. Clearly, this is a much desired upgrade.
The less important function is the ability to sneak through grass undetected. This would most obviously serve the purpose of saving your team from utter exhaustion if you are caught unawares.
Battles in this game are typical: turn-based and good for button-mashing. But because I haven't played since gold and silver, it's quite a magical experience. I hadn't completed a Pokemon game since red and blue because my imagination would go wild at the thought of the games taking on a bit more of a theatrical appearance. While Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby fail to satisfy my rather outrageous dreams (see: monster hunter or even xenosaga chronicles but with Pokemon), it's still so much more fun to play when the sprites are animated and the world is in full color.
Capturing Pokemon has real-virtual-world application now. When you scan an area for a shuffling Pokemon, some stats of the Pokemon (like its first move) will be illuminated for you, along with more than just a shadowy outline of their basic artwork. Once you have been to an area, it will let you know what type of geography that Pokemon will show up in.
And for people like me who are suckers for collect-a-thons, there is even a nice little trophy that pops up on your map when you've caught all of the Pokemon in a certain area.
TMs and HMs are nearly equivalent now. After making a funny face at it, my boyfriend relayed to me that the change actually happened in X and Y. While this is something I wanted when I was playing the other titles, way back when, it's still something to get used to. In fact, I was in the demographic that probably led to the change: I refused to use TMs until my third playthrough so I knew exactly who to give the TM to.
Although I have yet to get to them, Mega-evolutions are new to me. They are mentioned in the main plot of the game (plot itself is in the same boat). It seems to center around finding some mythical Pokemon, in the same category as Quetzalcoatl, and I haven't found out much more than that. While it seems that the main game will fail to go deeper than that, at least there is now an epic activity to go along with trying to beat the Elite Four and catch every Pokemon.
New, frustrating challenges are posed by the Pokemon contests. There are costumes that your trainer can wear, to boot. While some are inappropriate, they are still part of customization that I hope one day will expand beyond just the small circle of contests to the larger game.
Two very cool but very time consuming new features are the ability to play with your Pokemon (reminiscent of the washing and petting mini-games in the newer Harvest Moon games) and the ability to train your Pokemon. Playing games with your Pokemon and feeding them raises their affection toward you, which can be important in getting certain items and apparently sustaining fatal hits--so I've heard about previous games but never witnessed myself. Training them increases their stats which is clearly important for a proper and useful team.
There is a fabled clubhouse that your trainer can find. Mauville City is the first place that it is mentioned, having shops specifically for it and an entire floor dedicated to apartments. Having finally reached that point, I can say that the clubhouse is pretty much a means to have a portable, customizable bedroom. From the explanation in game from a very strange twenty-something year old (he actually shares his particular age but I cannot remember it), it seems as though you can gather these secret clubhouses with the help of a particular TM.
Thinking about it, this game seems to have turned to cater the gamer who prefers to decorate and build. That is a natural expansion on the main directive of the game, collecting, but it’s quite magnificent what they have thought of to enhance the game since I last played.
Before this article is through, I would like to comment on the weird stuff that I have found in game. Perhaps it is all in my head, but the dialogue in this game is rather...raunchy at times.
Especially playing as a female.
This may have always been the case but seeing it now is a little bit eye-opening. Perhaps this type of humour is what led me down the gutter-path that my mind often treads.
Nostalgia hit me very hard during this game on for the first time. I felt like I was ten again, playing the game with a whole new set of tunes and flashy moves that I probably falsely experienced back on my Gameboy Color. It is remarkable that the franchise can go 18 years and still have so much of the same feel, all the while reaching out to grasp on to fresh material. I would recommend this to people that haven’t been into pokemon in a long time as well as to those who still play every new version. Whether you’re into RPGs or you’re into collecting, this is a worthy game to pick up.