Pokemon Emerald uses the foundation of Ruby/Sapphire to create an all-new experience for fans. While the game has received praise and is seen as an incredible Pokemon game, there are some drawbacks. No game is perfect, and today, we will examine ways Pokemon Emerald lacks.
This article will focus on improvements the game should have made and comparisons from previous titles. Let’s jump into Hoenn and see the weaknesses hidden beneath the shiny, emerald surface.
The starting Pokemon should be as equal as possible in any Pokemon game. They will always be Grass, Fire, or Water, balancing their weaknesses and strengths perfectly. One of the worst feelings is knowing that one starter is much better than the others. While this may not bother a select few, others feel they must choose the best to beat the game.
In Pokemon Emerald, Mudkip is easily the best starting Pokemon, followed by Torchic. Picking Mudkip will make the game much easier when comparing their stats, evolutions, and Gym strengths.
Not only does this mean that Mudkip will be picked more, but also that Treecko will be picked the least. For inexperienced players or children, picking Treecko is like selecting hard mode. They are viable but offer no benefits, forcing your hand into picking Mudkip.
Many fans consider Generation IV to have the more balanced starters with Piplup, Chimchar, and Turtwig. Some even point to the first game with Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle, who set the standard for Pokemon starters. Regardless, each game should strive to have starters who are the same in their usefulness throughout the game, which, unfortunately, Emerald doesn’t have.
Pokemon games are in no way famous for their storylines. Some players aren’t aware that a story is taking place since it’s always in the background. Pokemon Emerald is no different, as the story is unimportant to the gameplay. It doesn’t seem important to GameFreak to make a compelling story since most players want to fight and collect Pokemon.
But taking a closer look at the villains, Team Aqua and Magma, they are boring, standard antagonists. While other Pokemon games tie in evil teams with a Gym Leader or a greater overarching plot, Team Aqua and Magma just exist. They don’t offer much in terms of story and are evil for the sake of being evil.
This may not sound bad for players just looking for a standard adventure. Emerald can be good for those who want a classic experience without dealing with plot points. But for anyone looking for something fresh and exciting in terms of story, Pokemon Emerald does not offer that.
At their release, games like Pokemon Black/White were criticized for their ambition and storyline but are looked back on fondly. The lack of ambition is apparent the further back you go in the franchise. Emerald sadly keeps things the same when it comes to the plot.
Anyone who has played Pokemon Emerald can tell you the water routes were not fun. They took up many of the game and routes but offered nothing in return. The areas were too vast and wide to be enjoyable.
Compared with land routes, the water areas looked the same and rarely had distinct features. Land routes can mix things up easily, but large bodies of water blend in. It also doesn’t help that the areas were inconsistent with their Pokemon and could put you in unfair situations. Random battles could take place with very low-level Pokemon or very high-level.
You aren’t going to get knocked out by the low-level Pokemon, but it’s a pain to run into them constantly. They are only there to waste your time and make leveling a pain, giving almost no experience.
Emerald is the perfect example of why people hate water levels. They are often slow, annoying, and unfun. Combine this with making half of the areas in the game covered in water, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Depending on your team and level, this may not be an issue. Some players over-level in anticipation of the Elite Four, while others try to finish Gym Battles as fast as possible. Anyone who doesn’t spend time grinding levels and each of their team members will be defeated.
The Elite Four in Pokemon Emerald is considerably harder than other titles. While the game naturally curves difficulty, it feels like a massive spike at the end. This can be a good thing for players hoping for a challenge. But given how the rest of the game is consistently leveled, the end was difficult for no reason.
This also leads to becoming the Pokemon Champion and having post-game content, which is also lacking in the game. Compared to past titles, there’s not much to do after the game is beaten, which is a shame.
There are some interesting features, like the Battle Frontier, which is a welcomed adventure. But some elements, like how to earn medals, were unclear and confusing. It’s not a huge knock against the title, but it’s something to consider before jumping in.
This reason can be seen as a culmination of every other issue. But to add on top of the balancing issues, Pokemon Emerald also has a type of balance problem. This issue is present in many other Pokemon games, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that it’s present in Emerald. What this means is that some Pokemon types are much stronger than others.
Notably, Grass and Bug-Types are fragile since a large portion of the roster resists them. On the other end, Dragon and Fighting-Types are powerful and can dominate any battle. Similar to the starting Pokemon problem, this makes players pick mainly those types.
The entire point of having types and stats is to make Pokemon as equal as possible. Yes, some will always be weaker; that’s a given. Or some Legendary Pokemon will be stronger. But to have entire types basically become useless means the game has gone too far. It’s just one more reason not to pick Treecko and center your entire team around two strong type classes.
Pokemon Emerald has flaws, like any other game, but is considered by many to be a great game. It’s easy to say that the game was a product of its time since it follows the previous titles. Great things like passive effects have become a staple in the series, but at the same time, the game has headaches.
It may not be what the game did, but what it didn’t do. Being similar to past titles is something Pokemon is famous for, but lack of innovation is never fun for fans. The truth is that Emerald is not a terrible game, but neither is it one of the best. It’s your standard and average Pokemon experience, which is all some fans are looking for.