Review by BenjG

Reviewed: 03/17/03 | Updated: 03/17/03

The game's great, but it's starting to get redundant

This game is actually two that are linked together as one game because they are so similar. Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire is the seventh/eighth game to come out in a similar series. Pokemon Red/Blue, Yellow, Gold/Silver, and Crystal are the other games that have appeared in this series. In the future, we can expect a “standalone” Pokemon game to follow Ruby/Sapphire. The Yellow and Crystal versions are examples of this; they are based on the two paired games that came before them.

Gameplay: 7/10

If you aren’t familiar with the Pokemon series, here’s what it’s mainly about. You are a Pokemon trainer, and your goal is to try to collect all the Pokemon. Pokemon are creatures that vary greatly in their appearance, but most are based on a real animal, like a bird or insect. You will need to battle other Pokemon trainers to gain experience for your Pokemon, who will become stronger when enough experience is gained. You’ll need to do a lot of walking around in houses and various terrain in search of Pokemon as well as items. Items range from healing potions to Poke Balls, which are needed to catch wild Pokemon. If a Pokemon’s health is depleted, it’ll faint and will need to be revived. This game has new features aplenty, and is very good. The trouble is, the series is starting to become redundant, at least for people who have played previous games. To begin with, Pokemon versions Red/Blue/Yellow and Gold/Silver/Crystal are nearly interchangeable. In other words, the differences are so minor and so few it doesn’t matter which you play of those two sets of three. Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire is following the same formula. The series is becoming based on lots of repeats, and I’m beginning to tire of this. It would be nice if the developers could at least be a bit more creative than this. Yes, this game indeed has a slew of brand new Pokemon, new items, new features, etc. It is better, and improvement is visible. But why make a pair that are practically the same games, and then come out with a third that is hardly different than those two? That’s the main trouble with these games. Some changes for the game play in the future are also necessary.

Graphics: 10/10

There is noticeable improvement in this component of the game. The graphics are great, and I was quite impressed. There seemed to be more color on the screen, and everything had more clarity. The Pokemon’s attacks didn’t look too bad either.

Controls: 9/10

The controls are pretty basic; there’s nothing particularly confusing or complicated about them. You won’t be using much more than the A button. And the control pad moves you around. It’s all logical. In fact, more of the buttons should have been used, like L and R. Constantly having to bring up the menu and viewing Pokemon status and backpack inventory got a bit tiresome. It would have been quicker to have L bring up the status and R bring up the inventory. These are the two things I used most, so there should have been a way to quickly access those things.

Music/Sound: 9/10

Some pretty good tunes and music were present. The music wasn’t as good as it could have been, but since this isn’t a 3-D adventure game, I guess it’s okay to have a few simplistic tunes. The various sounds were also well done.

Replayability: 10/10

Actually catching all the Pokemon in this game is already a massive challenge. But if you do complete this task, playing the game through again should be just as fun. There are many options and paths to choose from in this game as far as what Pokemon you choose to fight with as your prime fighters. It really doesn’t get boring very quickly because there is a great deal of stuff to do. Of course, it’s still fun to play though again even if you don’t catch all the Pokemon.

Final Recommendation:

Buy this game. If you liked the other Pokemon games, this is definitely for you. It is very good and provides the same level of entertainment, if not more, than the other games did. My only concern is the gameplay is starting to repeat itself, as the concept is the same. There really isn’t much wrong with being a trainer going out to catch Pokemon, but somehow, there needs to be a big change that will make the next game really stand out. And I hope this habit of essentially producing games that are nearly exactly the same dies off soon.

Overall: 8/10

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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