First impressions: Pokemon alpha sapphire

Processed with Moldiv Pokémon was the first game I really got into, I got Pokémon yellow with a gameboy color one Christmas and since then I’ve bought one from each of the different releases. Although this is a remake and rerelease of the sapphire and ruby series I wanted to see what they’d do with it and be able to play the game on a 3DS. I have the emerald game so have already played the general storyline and do have some favourite pokémon from then but I haven’t reached them yet so haven’t seen how they’ve made them in this new style.

I pre-ordered this from Amazon.co.uk and it arrived today so I started playing it right away. Today is the official release date in Europe so it’s available in stores and costs around £30 – £35, on Amazon at the moment it’s £31.85.

The box and game image themselves are pretty standard for the Pokémon franchise; the background colour that goes with the name and a big picture of whatever the main or legendary pokémon is. Nothing that different but nice enough packaging for a game. I do quite like the way they’ve given the hint of it being underwater with the bubbles and pattern on the game cartridge itself and the font they’ve used for ‘alpha sapphire’ does stand out.

Photos taken on the screen while playing the game so sorry about the poor quality and lines. Characters and game created and owned by Nintendo.

The game menus and screens look pretty much the same as in the latest releases with the more 3D look and the less square worlds where you can move however you want. The pokémon themselves are pretty true to the original ruby and sapphire versions from what I’ve encountered so far, just smoother and some of the colours are slightly different but that’s to be expected when you compare the range of colours available on the 3DS with those available on the gameboy advance which the previous version was released on.

One new feature I really like in this game is the DexNav which can replace the map on the bottom screen with a map of the route you are on and shows which pokemon are in the area. If you have caught them they show up on the screen but any you don’t have are greyed out silhouettes which means you can tell when you’ve got everything in the area rather than referring to the Pokedex for each pokemon or having to look them up online. Switching between this and the map is really easy with it being a tab to the right of the map on the touch screen and switching back you touch the map icon that appears to the right of the DexNav. Having these two as the defaults is really useful and I think it uses the bottom screen well as well as helping you work out where you are. There is also a tab (not in the picture) for the PlayNav features including playing with your pokémon playing online with others and training your pokémon. So far I’ve only done the play with Pokémon one which is the same as with the last Pokémon game and you can feed them pokepuffs or play mini games; bouncing balls of wool, picking berries to match your Pokémon’s thoughts and a switching puzzle. These are ok as mini games but don’t really add anything to the whole Pokémon game for me.

The character animation seems good to me and I like the cut scenes and different angles though they do last longer because of this which may become annoying if they happen too frequently later in the game. I don’t mind them so much at the beginning, there’s always a lot of pressing A to get through the beginning of any Pokémon game if you’ve played previous titles before and know the basics. I really like the attack animations, they actually move in a way that an animal would so a pokémon might rather than just jumping forwards and the damage suddenly appearing.

So far I really like this game and although it’s a remake of an older title it still seems new enough and it’s been long enough ago since I played the old version that I’m enjoying it. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with the secret base as I quite liked that in the original and seeing all the different gym bosses in this new style.

It’s a pretty standard Pokémon game style so if you like the other traditional style Pokemon games and either haven’t played this one before or want to try a remake then it might be worth a look, if you don’t like previous Pokémon titles then this probably isn’t for you.

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