|Dev: Game Freak|
|Pub: Nintendo, The Pokémon Company|
|Release: November 21, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence|
Combat is everything you've come to either love or loath in a Pokémon game. The turn based system tests your memorization skills of the Pokémon bestiary and the elements and how to capitalize your attacks. Each Pokémon can wield up to four moves, either offensive, defensive, or support, and gain new abilities to replace old ones as they level up. Sometimes they can evolve after leveling up, with significantly increased stats and stronger abilities. A select few have the potential for Mega Evolution, though this requires both a specific rock for the Pokémon to hold and the matching bracelet for you to wear in order to be performed. Just another temptation to search every nook and cranny region.
You'll never grow tired of the varied environments of Hoenn. The island nation and surrounding archipelago presents a lot of water, though it is gorgeously animated on the 3DS. But there's also lots of greenery, some deserts, a giant volcano, and plenty of other natural landscapes as well as vibrant and colorful towns and cities to explore. Each fragment holds the possibility of finding something interesting, whether it's a new treasure or a rare Pokémon.
The musical score flows nicely with whatever background is being portrayed and ushers in each route, town, or dungeon with the appropriate perkiness and gusto. I am disappointed that the Pokémon cries maintain nostalgic and scratchy sounds, as do many of the combat sound effects, seemingly eons away from where the sound engine of the system can take them.
Pokémon games have been around for almost two decades now, and whether it's an entirely new set of adventures or updated classics like Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, the core gameplay formula remains virtually untouched. More features are added to burst the seams of content, with extra activities from the originals carried over. Some may find much of them completely optional, but every Pokémon fan can find a way to lose dozens to hundreds of hours exploring the Hoenn region once again.
Date: November 24, 2014