Pokemon Emerald Review

Developer: Game Freak Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: April 30, 2005 Also On: None

Pokemon has always been a huge craze since its launch in America and especially in Japan. Nintendo has done a wonderful job milking it for every cent that it’s worth. They further prove this by releasing the eleventh version of this series with Emerald, which retains the Pokemon charm while offering little to draw in new fans. There are only a few small changes to the original formula — and Emerald is basically a rehash of the Ruby and Sapphire versions, which weren’t the greatest anyway.

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Pokemon Emerald follows the same story as Ruby and Sapphire. Team Aqua and Team Magma are fighting for opposite issues and it’s up to you, the unnamed hero, to stop their fighting, while training a team of Pokemon and becoming the world’s top trainer. The story hasn’t changed at all since Ruby and Sapphire, but some of the situations do — since Ruby and Sapphire focused on only one of those clans, Emerald is forced to feature both of them equally, making a few of the story sequences change.

What doesn’t change at all is the gameplay. The premise still revolves around collecting and leveling up your Pokemon, and nothing has changed. It sadly seemed to me that leveling up in Emerald took longer than in other games — but maybe that’s just my impatience showing. Maintaining a full team of Pokemon becomes very tedious and doesn’t really become fun until the middle or end of the game. Then again, this could just be Pokemon getting old in my eyes.

Emerald allows you to connect to four other Pokemon games — Ruby, Sapphire, FireRed, and LeafGreen — which means that you’ll now be able to collect almost every Pokemon. This is another thing I’m really disappointed with. Pokemon has just gotten too big. The original 150 Pokemon were a lot, but now that there are some 300-400 monsters, it’s just too many. I don’t even remember some of them, that’s how forgettable they are. I can still remember the original 150, but it seems like the charm of Pokemon wore off when they were as numerous as calories in a Big Mac.

Graphically, Emerald doesn’t look any different than Ruby or Sapphire, but there are battle animations now, which is a nice little touch. It’s obviously nothing to write home about, but Pokemon graphics never have been. The music is as primitive as ever, but it is still very catchy. The Pokemon cries could have been done better, in my opinion. The little sound effects are getting old; they could definitely have done sound bites for this version.

Overall, Pokemon Emerald doesn’t do much to improve on its already-successful foundation, but the house that was already built is big enough to fit older fans. Still, I would advise that if you haven’t seen all that this legacy has to offer, Emerald is a good place to start.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 5
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 7.5
Final: 7
Written by Cliff Review Guide

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