Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire Preview

Every fall for as long as I can remember Nintendo has blessed us with a new installation of the Pokémon series. This year is no different; on November 21 Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby will be available in North America. A demo was released via unique download codes distributed through the monthly Nintendo Newsletter. It was announced that the demo would allow players to unlock a few bonus items to import into the full game. After completing the demo, I can say it is worth your time to try it if you have access to a code.  WARNING: Full details of the story of the demo are given below. Please scroll down to the bottom three paragraphs to avoid spoilers. 

At the start of the demo, you are introduced to Steven. For those of you who played the original Ruby/Sapphire games you will recognize him as the Sinnoh region League Champion. Steven tells you that Team Magma has put the professor in danger. Upon your arrival you are thrust into a Pokémon battle with two Team Magma grunts. Steven then gives you one of the three starters from Sinnoh at their second evolved state: Marshtomp, Combusken or Grovyle. I selected Combusken. After the battle Team Magma escapes and you find out they are searching for a Pokémon that is able to Mega Evolve. You are to find them and prevent them from obtaining the power of Mega Evolution.

With the new Pokémon in tow, you are free to explore Mosdeep City. The amount of exploration you can do is limited; all of the buildings are locked and the NPC’s have minimal dialogue. The first thing I noticed was found on the bottom screen of the 3DS where a new feature called BuzzNav Pokémon News was playing. The Pokémon News offers tips and some things to look forward to in the full game. One of the helpful tips they told me about was the new ability to sneak through grass. By lightly using the analog stick you can slowly sneak through grass to sneak up on Pokémon.

After some light exploring, I talked to Steven who took us to a cave where Team Magma was believed to be. At the cave, you are introduced to the female character that you will be able to play as in the full game. In front of her are two Team Aqua grunts that must be defeated. After you defeat the two grunts you observe the bosses of Team Aqua and Team Magma in an argument about which of them will find the Mega Evolving Pokémon first.

Steven intervenes and gives you the Mega Bracelet and corresponding Mega Stone to the Pokémon you selected. He joins you in a double battle against the two bosses. During the battle you get to see Mega Metagross for the first time. With the bosses defeated Steven takes you to the Mega Evolving Pokémon that the bosses were searching for and instructs you to capture it. The Pokémon ends up being Glalie. After capturing the Glalie, Steven takes you back to Mosdeep City

Steven mentions that there may be a form of evolution beyond Mega Evolution. He fears that Team Aqua and Team Magma are after a new form of evolution known as Primal Reversion. This conversation ends the initial demo.

 End of spoilers. 

You are allowed to replay the demo numerous times, with each session unlocking a reward. After the initial playthrough you can transfer the Mega Pokemon to the full game when it releases. The story is different with each playthrough and Steven offers semi-random tasks to complete. He also gives you the remaining starter Pokémon to use for the rest of the game. I was told to help Steven find specific Pokémon (Shroomish and Poochyena), find missing children, beat a set of trainers, or beat a special challenger in a farway cave.

The additional rewards are as follows:

  • After 1st playthrough- The Mega Pokémon you caught
  • After the 3rd playthrough- 10 Pokéballs
  • After the 5th playthrough- 10 Heal Balls
  • After the 9th playthrough- Heart Scales
  • After the 10th playthrough- Additional Heart Scales

Unfortunately, none of these items can be used in the demo. You must wait for the retail copies of Omega Ruby or Alpha Sapphire to transfer the items so make sure you keep the demo until then.

This demo left me feeling very confident in the upcoming games. I am an avid fan of Pokémon and love the direction of re-releasing past games. Soul Silver and Heart Gold were great additions to the series and these new games seem like they will match up toe to toe. Nintendo has also announced that between Pokémon X and Y, and Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, you will complete the Pokédex, so there is no need to return to older games for that purpose. I can only guess that Pokémon from past games will still remain very difficult to obtain.