Pokémon FireRed Review: 5 Reasons To Buy

The starting screen for Pokémon FireRed

Pokémon FireRed Review: 5 Reasons To Buy

Game Freak released Pokémon FireRed and Pokémon LeafGreen in 2004 for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance. Both of these games were remakes of the classic Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green, the very first Pokémon games to exist. Although these games are nearly 20 years old, they are still two of the most sought-after games in the Pokémon registry, and for good reason.

It’s important to keep in mind that Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen are no longer being made. For a gamer to get their hands on one of these games if they don’t have it already, they’ll have to buy it secondhand. Most copies can be purchased on reseller sites like eBay, Etsy, and Mercari. Buyers should be diligent in checking these listings. Many of the games currently being sold, especially ones that are selling for under $20, are likely recreations of the original game and not an actual original. These recreations range from being a good dupe of the original to a disappointment. Either way, these recreations have a higher risk of not performing well or corrupting saved data.

Original copies of Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen can get pretty pricy. One Mercari seller currently has both games listed for $300. Players will need to decide what’s best for them. If the cheap risk of buying a recreation is okay with you, you might get a good experience from a newer game cartridge. If you’re looking for an original creation, you might have to put out a bit more money.

When shopping for Pokémon FireRed or LeafGreen, it’s important to remember that the game was created for the Game Boy Advance. This means the player needs to have a Nintendo console compatible with Game Boy Advance cartridges. Consoles that can play Game Boy Advance games include the Game Boy Micro, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP, DS, and DS Lite Systems.

5. An Iconic Remake of a Pokémon Classic

Players meet Professor Oak in Pokemon FireRed

©Gym Leader Draven / The Pokémon Company / Game Freak / Nintendo – Original

It’s hard to argue that Pokémon FireRed is a modern gaming experience. Since the game is almost 20 years old, it won’t feel as fluid or fresh as games like Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet. That said, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen are both remakes of the original Pokémon Green and Pokémon Red. These games kicked off the Pokémon gaming franchise and helped build Pokémon into the world-dominating media mogul that it is today.

For many people who didn’t get to play Pokémon Red or Green, getting to experience the 2004 remake of the games is a dream come true. The remakes captured the magic of the original games but helped modernize them to feel a bit more current. While FireRed may never live up to modern expectations, it’s a marvel for its time. For many avid Pokémon fans, they likely still have a Nintendo console that can play FireRed. The newest console that can run these older-style games is the Nintendo DS Lite, which many Nintendo players still have.

As long as the player has a console that can run Pokémon FireRed, they’ll get to relive their childhood. There’s a reason that Pokémon games became so popular. They’ve modernized over the years, but they’ve always kept the core gameplay style and feel. When players get to experience these iconic remakes, they relive the magic or they understand where the hype came from. It doesn’t matter that the game is 20 years old because it still holds such a strong presence in the gaming community.

4. IGN Rates Pokémon FireRed as a 9/10

Professor Oak explains tall grass in Pokemon FireRed

©Gym Leader Draven / The Pokémon Company / Game Freak / Nintendo – Original

If nostalgia isn’t enough to make a gamer consider investing in Pokémon FireRed, maybe the ratings will. IGN is one of the most recognizable video game-centric websites on the internet. From game reviews to walkthroughs to cheat codes, IGN has information on just about every video game ever made. At some point or another, gamers have probably referred to IGN for help. That help could be in the form of a guide for how to beat a particularly difficult section of a game or advice on whether a game is worth the money. No matter what gamers turn to IGN for, the website has been a staple in the gaming community for years.

IGN rated Pokémon FireRed with a 9 out of 10. It’s labeled as an Editor’s Choice on IGN and is simply described as “amazing.” IGN’s official review of FireRed and LeafGreen went live on September 3rd, 2004, shortly after the games’ release. On November 24, 2018, IGN updated the review to be accurate to how modern gamers would feel about the game. This review describes all of the highlights of the game, while also explaining how later games in the franchise implemented certain elements better.

IGN isn’t the only platform that has glowing reviews for Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, though. According to Google, 95% of users who weighed in on the topic claimed that they liked the game. GameSpot rated FireRed an 8.4 out of 10. Audience ratings on Google offered FireRed a 4.6 out of 5 stars. Wherever potential players look, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen have glowing reviews.

3. So Many Hours of Playtime

Shopping in Pokemon FireRed' Pokemart

©Gym Leader Draven / The Pokémon Company / Game Freak / Nintendo – Original

The Pokémon games are notorious for having lots to do. If a Pokémon trainer wants to do absolutely everything each game has to offer, they’re usually looking at hundreds of hours of playtime. Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen are no exceptions to this Pokémon trend. According to HowLongToBeat.com, Pokémon FireRed has nearly 150 hours of playable content. That’s a long game, but it also means trainers get the bang for their buck.

  • Main story: about 30 hours
  • Main story + side quests: about 52 hours
  • Compete playthroughs, meaning the trainer has done everything the game has to offer: about 150 hours

For some gamers, this seems like a daunting task. Many modern story-driven games are much shorter than this, so finding the time to pump 150 hours of playtime into a single game may feel like an impossible feat. For others, though, especially trainers who are familiar with the lengthy grind of Pokémon games, having this much to do is a blessing. If players are looking to invest in a vintage game, it’s better to have too much to do than not enough. If nothing else, players will always have something new to find until they actually achieve 100% completion.

2. One of the Best Pokémon Games Ever Made

Squirtle and Balbasaur battle in FireRed

©Gym Leader Draven / The Pokémon Company / Game Freak / Nintendo – Original

Although Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen both have positive ratings and reviews, it’s hard to make a claim that they’re the best Pokémon games ever made. Pokémon has over 150 games in its impressive game catalog. Not all of these games are still playable or obtainable, but when going up against over 100 titles, it’s hard to rank them all.

That said, fans consider Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen to be some of the best Pokémon games in the world. IGN’s “The 10 Best Pokémon Video Games of All Time” list places FireRed and LeafGreen at number 3. NintendoLife.com placed FireRed and LeafGreen at number 9. Dextro.com placed the games in their Top 25 Pokémon Games list at number 12.

In the modern era, where the internet loves to compare media and pit everything against one another, listicles and countdown articles have become extremely popular. Many lists exactly like the three listed above detail the best Pokémon games ever created. Naturally, opinion sways these lists quite a bit, but Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen are consistently placed on these lists. Some critics claim that this is the result of nostalgia and rose-tinted glasses, but if FireRed and LeafGreen continue to impress today, it’s got to be for good reason.

1. Opened the Door for Future Pokémon Remakes

Pokemon FireRed's Pokemon Center

©Gym Leader Draven / The Pokémon Company / Game Freak / Nintendo – Original

The biggest impact that Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen had on the franchise can be felt today. As 2004 remakes of the 1996 originals, FireRed and LeafGreen were early stabs at Pokémon remakes. At the time, this was a big risk. Why make remakes of old games when Game Freak could simply release more new content? They gave people a chance to experience the games that started it all, but some thought the remakes were unnecessary.

Even now, Pokémon fans and critics who argue against Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen bring up the fact that the game was a grab for nostalgia. According to these critics, these games didn’t go far enough to prove that the remakes were necessary. Other Pokémon games are simply better in their opinion. Game Freak and The Pokémon Company risked a lot to put so much time and energy into creating these remakes.

Their efforts ultimately paid off, though. While the games face criticism (as everything does), they did manage to recreate faithful remakes of the original games. More importantly, FireRed and LeafGreen proved that Pokémon fans would be excited about remakes and new content. Without these remakes, games like Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, and Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl probably wouldn’t exist.

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