Pokemon Alpha Sapphire - 3DS

Release Date:

November 21, 2014

Viewing USA:

Also on UK.


Pokémon: Alpha Sapphire sends players back to the Hoenn region to explore, battle, and learn the secrets of Mega Evolution. As always, gamers assume the role of a young battle trainer who goes on quests to catch and train Pokémon, then engage in turn-based battles with other trainers to upgrade and evolve their Pokémon. The new PokéNav Plus tool lets players explore Hoenn's unique locations, from its large central volcano to the surrounding satellite islands, get the latest local news, and track down elusive Pokémon in tall grass. Gamers begin by choosing from three starter Pokémon, but they can rapidly acquire dozens more through trainer battles, random wilderness encounters, or trades with friends.

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  • Developer(s):
    • Game Freak
  • Publisher(s):
    • Nintendo
  • Release Date(s):
    • November 21, 2014
  • ESRB Rating:
    • Everyone
  • Series:
    • Pokemon
  • Mode(s):
    • Single-player
  • Local Play:
    • Co-op 2-4 Player
  • Internet:
    • Co-op 2-4 Player
  • StreetPass:
    • Yes
    • Exchange Player Data
  • SpotPass:
    • Yes
    • Receive Notification
  • 3D Mode:
    • Yes
  • Not Compatible:
    • Download Play

Technical Information

  • Average Playing Time:
    • 60 Hours
  • Also Known As:
    • Pocket Monsters Alpha Sapphire (JP)
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Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Pokemon Omega Ruby on the 3DS are role-playing video games developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 3DS. This game is part of the sixth generation of the Pokemon series.

You know that you love Pokemon, even if you refuse to admit it to your closest friends. The series has been going strong in America for several decades and along the way it has become one of the most enduring franchises of all time. After its iconic run through the pop culture of the late 90's, Pokemon has cooled down a little bit. The show itself is still going, movies are pumping out, and great games are getting released on a yearly basis only now you have to seek it out instead of being constantly inundated with it. With this new release we couldn’t wait to dig back into the title that GameFreak made so popular with Nintendo. For the 3DS there are precious few releases as integral and seminal as a Pokemon title. You know the game is going to be good but if you want to keep reading in order to find out why, then we won’t stop you.

If Pokemon Alpha Saphire scratches the tip of your nostalgia iceberg then there is a good reason as to why. Nintendo has been on a re-release/re-make spree for the past couple of years. So far they have remade several of their classic games in the series (Fire Red, Leaf Green, Heart Gold, and Soul Silver). Now Gen III, the Ruby and Saphire generation, is getting that same treatment. Whoever decided to release Pokemon games in duos is a genius and deserves the many millions of dollars he is getting paid. Alas, we are not getting paid millions of dollars so we only purchased Pokemon Alpha Saphire, the differences between the two are minimal, see bottom of review.

The title begins as it always done, with you relocating to a new town. The home town in Alpha Saphire is Littleroot. You arrive by moving truck, er, well the back of the moving truck. Listen, dad isn’t around and mom wasn’t paying attention when you climbed back there. So anyway you land in Littleroot and get to wander around town until you run into Professor Birch. Here goes the intro quest that leads you to your first Pokemon. You save him from a pack of Rt. 1 newbs and collect your first Pokemon. From there on out you are back in business and on the road to becoming a Pokemon master.

The core of Alpha Saphire/Ruby is the same as any other Pokemon game and if the franchise were any worse, that would be something to complain about. Instead, this is something to celebrate. Pokemon pretty much nailed what they were trying to do waaayyy back when Red/Blue/Green/Yellow was released and we are glad to see that there aren’t any wild changes being made to the core, especially seeing as this is a remake.

Upon booting up the game and playing you will immediately notice that Pokemon Alpha Saphire/Ruby is completely rehauled graphically, at least in comparison to the Game Boy version of Saphire. Everything looks shiny, new, and updated to fit our 2015 expectations. Outside of the graphic overhaul you should also notice that the game plays almost identically to Pokemon X and Y. X and Y were slight departures from conventional Pokemon games with the biggest change belonging to the EXP system. In old titles your active Pokemon would gather all of the EXP from battling, unless you had the EXP SHARE item - then everybody would get a piece of the action. In X and Y, and Alpha Saphire/Omega Ruby, all Pokemon get an equal cut of the EXP regardless of their time spent on the field. You also get EXP from capturing Pokemon. I like the latter change but I don’t like the former as it makes the game easier and expediates my favorite aspect: the grind.

Probably the most important change from Saphire to Alpha Saphire is the inclusion of all the new Pokemon and Pokemon Game Types. Every element from IV to VI are there, including Fairy Types, and the strategic change that entails is also imparted upon the game. Another addition is the Mega Evolution brought upon us by X and Y. The biggest issue for me comes from a lore perspective, adding mega evolution sort of changes the story elements of the older titles and kind of makes the time line a little wonky. But that’s a complaint for a different crowd, as most Pokemon gamers don’t care too much about the actual story. There are added dialogue bits and allusions to Unova and Kalos which makes the sudden change a bit more palatable.

Touch screen controls rule the day, and they should, and Pokemon Alpha Saphire is improved because of you. On the bottom screen of your 3DS you have access to the PSS and Super Training modes if you want to blow up your stats right away. You also have the new BuzzNav feature that allows you to watch the Hoenn News. You also have access to the DexNav which is a tracking device for Pokemon out in the wild. It will show silhouettes on your scokemon fans.

Two versions available. (Differences)

Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are nearly identical; however, there are a few differences in Pokemon Omega Ruby, Team Magma will be the primary team. In Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, Team Aqua will be the primary team you encounter throughout Hoenn. Slight story changes, select Pokemon will only be available in one of the versions. These versions exclusive Pokemon are usually made to promote trading between players across alternative versions, including Pokemon X and Y.

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Release Date:

November 21, 2014

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