Omega Ruby is a gorgeous remake of a wonderful game. But why is it one of the easiest games I have ever played? And are games in general just getting too easy? Or maybe a world where Omega Ruby and Bloodborne can coexist is a good thing? I’m not entirely sure but I’m going to try to answer the question anyways.
Omega Ruby has so many great things going for it: 3D graphics, mega evolutions, and elimination of pointless backtracking is something I’m quite okay with. But why is leveling up almost a complete joke now and the default setting is to have EXP Share turned on and have it affect every Pokemon? I understand that you can turn it off with ease but it is incredibly disappointing to have it be the default setting. I don’t want my Pokemon to be 5-10 levels ahead of the ones I encounter in the gym nor do I want to one hit K.O. them when I didn’t even train beyond fighting trainers you are supposed to encounter. I didn’t make this happen. Game Freak decided to take a game that was already pretty easy (just right I would say in terms of difficulty) and decided to make it jokingly easy. Is this a common trend in general?
Let’s take something like the games developed by Naughty Dog in recent years: Uncharted and The Last of Us. I would say for the most part these games also fit in the category of having just right difficulty, if played on normal difficulty. But these games have a reason to be easy or just right more than Omega Ruby does. Naughty Dog wants the player to be able to enjoy the cinematic storylines as much as possible without the player getting too stressed. (Although it is worth pointing out that I think The Last of Us does a wonderful job making the player feel a little stressed to get a post-apocalyptic feel going.)
Omega Ruby lacks an interesting storyline because it’s a goddamn Pokemon game. But it is also an RPG, albeit a beginner’s RPG. RPG’s should still require me to level up and grind at least a little bit and not simply hand it off to me for free. The Final Fantasy games are not difficult but at least want me to grind a little bit here and there and challenge me sometimes. I want that in Pokemon (again).
What others games have this issue? Well I suppose we could take a look at Nintendo once again. Mario has added power-ups that make you invincible if you mess up enough. Donkey Kong Country has done the same (although Donkey Kong Country is actually quite difficult). Mario still has a just right difficulty but adding these strange temptations of invincibility is bizarre to me because it is a glorified cheat code. I understand its maybe more for children but Mario isn’t very hard in the first place and neither is Pokemon. Donkey Kong Country having this mechanic is also strange because it is supposed to be hard and being invincible eliminates that, even if it is an optional temptation. I suppose my argument for this isn’t perfect. These are optional mechanics but even the temptation itself is quite strange in my eyes, just as EXP share being a primary mechanic is as well.
Video games are better than they ever have been. I do not want to go back to the days of overly difficult platformers that are more frustrating than fun a lot of the time. But I would like it if developers stopped this attempt at making games so easy to the point that they aren’t fun anymore. Omega Ruby is a near-broken game. I don’t care what way you toss it. Using Groudon in the 8th gym literally broke the gym due to him blocking out water attacks completely. That’s just a shit mechanic. EXP Share working for every Pokemon basically blocks out the concept of even bothering to train. I don’t want modern games to follow the trend of Omega Ruby. That will ruin games. As much as I still had fun with Omega Ruby as a nostalgic trip, it has immense issues that needed to be addressed. Games should still give me a slight challenge. That’s part of the reason anybody plays them, part of gaming is to feel a sense of accomplishment and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Did you enjoy this post? Let me know in the comments below. This is the author of the post talking to you. His name is Jesse Jordon. Isn’t that great to know? He’d like to be a games journalist someday. Whatever the heck that is. You can follow me on Twitter @jjordon96