Nintendo Reviews Rating:
Age 6+
Posted: July 19th, 2005
Pokemon returns to Game Boy Advance in a new
game that is built off of the Ruby/Sapphire games. Is
it any better this time around?

Like most of this game, the sound is mostly the same as it was in Ruby and Sapphire. If you didn't think the sound effects
were a bit bland last time around, you will this time. The music is still excellent like before, and there's some new samples
to hear. Most of the new music can be heard at the Battle Frontier. For the most part, these new samples are good, with
the exception of the Battle Factory tune having a very stupid part to it.
There are still the same old sounds and music. There's nothing better and nothing worse, so that's all I have to say. Stereo
headphones is still a great thing to have.

The controls are just the same as it was in Ruby and Sapphire. There seems to be slightly slower save times in this game,
but it is hardly noticeable. What I like about this version is that the game has a style of font that is scrunched vertically so
that it doesn't appear to have been stretched. Basically, it's a better style. There's still not L and R support. What also
boggles me is why they didn't add the extra control features that FireRed and LeafGreen had.
There's no help system, and less fluency in the controls than compared to what FireRed and LeafGreen added. The only
other minor difference is that the Pokedex is slightly better than before. If you were okay with Ruby and Sapphire
versions' controls, then you should be fine again. There's still those little drawbacks that were left untouched and are
present in this game.

The graphics are also the same as before. There is one major
addition, and that is the Pokemon animations. When a Pokemon
comes into battle, it shows cool animations, making them more
individual than before. These are very basic, and don't add any
flare to the game.
The reason the graphics score is .1 higher than Ruby/Sapphire is
that there is a little more detail than before. It's not near what
other games are sporting on the Game Boy Advance, but it's a
subtle improvement that's enough to say that the graphics are
better, if only slightly.

You'd probably think that the new Battle Frontier would add replay to the game. That's not true; it actually disperses the
replay value. Let me explain-Once players get to the Battle Frontier, they will spend most of their time there. That means
time spent on the mainland of Hoenn is reduced. Basically the amount of replay is the same, it's just that this time you'll
be spending the near infinite replay value at the Battle Frontier.
The good thing is that if you don't go for the Battle Frontier, there's a couple new things this time. The Kyorge/Groudon
catching is a little different, making finding them a little harder. There's also about twice as many TV shows in this game,
that you can watch about your friends via mixing records. Like the last game, it's an essential part of the replay. There's
also the Match Call, which allows you to chat with other trainers. This feature is more of a said and done thing, but it's a
nice bonus for those who aren't irritated by the random phone calls.
The game will last about as long as Ruby/Sapphire versions, maybe even longer for those who explore it thoroughly. The
Battle Frontier brings along a huge island that holds all the buildings and an upgraded trainer card that allows you to
record battles. Just like pretty much everything else, the replay is practically the same, despite the new stuff. That's not a
bad thing, though, as this game will last a very long time.

In case you haven't figured out, most of this game is about the same as Ruby/Sapphire. This is the only aspect that is
drastically different. Well, maybe not even drastically. This scored lower in design than Ruby/Sapphire. How can I be
impressed with something that's been out for two years already? I felt like I was playing Ruby/Sapphire again, and that's
what you're doing.
Sure, the whole Kyorge/Groudon thing is a little different, and there's the Battle Frontier, but everything else is the same.
That's just it. The game lacks originality. And where it lacks, the Battle Frontier partially makes up for. In addition to the
Battle Tower are six new buildings that hold a variety of differences in the manner of battling. Since this is a short review,
I might as well explain each.
The Battle Factory forbids the use of your Pokemon. Instead, you rent 3 at a time. When you beat an opponent, you have
the option of exchanging one of yours for one of theirs. It's nice to play with a variety of Pokemon types, but this one feels
unpolished. It's not much fun trying to build strategies with Pokemon and attacks that you may never have been used to.
This one's not much fun.
The Battle Palace is worse that the Factory. You simply put your Pokemon out in battle and they fight. What strategy is
there in that? If I wanted to watch Pokemon battle, I'd watch somebody else's. Instead I have to watch my Pokemon use
moves that may not work on that particular opponent. Yes, there are strategies to be formed that can relieve the
frustration, but this stupid battle style is not worth it.
The Battle Dome is one of the better ones. You fight four battles, bringing two Pokemon in out of the three you took
inside with you. You pick those two based on what the opponent's Pokemon are. You actually get to see the opponent's
Pokemon before you battle. That may make it seem easy, but they usually have strong Pokemon. This is short, but
provides a small amount of fun, without having to dedicate to huge battles.
The Battle Pike is a little more of a mini-game, or a dungeon. It challenges you to a little luck and some strange events.
You basically move thorough rooms, hoping that you don't have to fight trainers. Sometimes you will fight trainers,
sometimes you don't and rarely you can heal your Pokemon. You have to move through 14 rooms and survive. The
potential randomness makes this a quirky, yet fun building.
The Battle Pyramid is also like a dungeon. You navigate through a maze that is randomly generated featuring trainers and
wild Pokemon. You have to get up seven floors with a limited sight. Beating Pokemon and trainers allows your sight to
increase. This is fun at first, but can sometimes lead to some major frustration. This is one that can also be very engaging,
and is one of the best choices for those seeking a challenge.
The Battle Arena forces you to keep the same Pokemon in and fight it with another. If neither faint in three turns, judges
will determine a winner by how much they used attacking moves, how well the moves worked and how much HP is left. It's
an interesting twist on battles that I hated at first, but can really start to dwell on you after a while. The battles are also
short, so no major commitment is necessary.
The Battle Tower is basically traditional style battles. All this amounts to a design that is worse than that of
Ruby/Sapphire. I like the new ideas that were presented, but it doesn't flow well with the whole concept of the game. The
Battle Frontier is more suited for a console Pokemon game, not a GBA game. But if it isn't broken, then why fix it? The
design is still commendable, although it may be reused.





Final Words

This is only a slightly worse game than Ruby or Sapphire. If you own Ruby or Sapphire and like it, you may not mind
playing through practically the same game again for the Battle Frontier. If you don't like Ruby or Sapphire, chances are
high that you won't favor this. If you want to jump into Pokemon, this will still be a worse choice than Ruby/Sapphire
because the Battle Frontier may seem a bit overwhelming. This is still a nice expansion to Ruby/Sapphire and would be a
great addition to most everyone's GBA game library.