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Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire Are the Best/Worst Games in the Series

Why Ruby & Sapphire are the Worst

by Justin Berube - June 5, 2014, 10:15 am PDT

Justin Berube explains why Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire destroyed his love for the series.

Before the launch of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, I was a pretty big Pokémon fan. I had sunk thousands of hours into the first two generations of games. Saying this, I will admit I didn’t enjoy Gold and Silver as much as Red and Blue. I also watched the Pokémon TV series, collected and played the card game, and was even an official Trading Card Game Gym Leader.

Admittedly, leading up to the launch of Ruby and Sapphire, my interest dropped a bit. I didn’t collect the cards much anymore, and the made up Orange Island anime series ended up boring me. Even in spite of this, I still considered myself a Pokémon fan.

Nintendo then released Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, which I also picked up with a brand new Game Boy Advance SP. I started to play, and the further I got into it, the more my heart sank and my love for the series faded. I quickly learned that Ruby and Sapphire were the worst main series Pokémon games to be released.

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For starters, Ruby and Sapphire made it so all the Pokémon I painstakingly caught, trained, and created strategies for in the previous games wouldn’t be transferable at all. To be honest, I had already been upset by many of the rule changes put in place jumping from Generation I to II. Now though, I couldn’t even bring all my Mewtwos, Mews, and more in. They were stuck in the past forever. At this point, I guess they are all dead and buried at Lavender Town’s Pokémon Tower. RIP.

Second, there weren’t many classic Pokémon to be caught in these new games at all. Some said this was refreshing, but I didn’t think so. Most of my old favorites, which I came to know and love, weren’t available and there was no way to get them. This made the games seem like a complete reboot of the Pokémon series and I wasn’t happy.

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Then there were the actual design of the new Pokémon found in Ruby and Sapphire. They ended up being, in my opinion, the worst designs in the series history. See those two Pokémon above? Yeah, they are actually two different Pokémon. Truly awful.

Now, there are other problems with these games, but I honestly don’t remember them as well as the ones I have mentioned. Some people have brought to my attention that Hoenn is a region with way too much water, and I barely remember that. Probably because I couldn’t wait to stop playing these titles.

My Pokémon love died shortly after Ruby and Sapphire released. It wasn’t until Fire Red and Leaf Green came out that my passion for the series returned. I got to go back to the best region in Pokémon, Kanto, and catch my favorites all over again. I never looked back to Ruby and Sapphire; it was all forward from there.

Now I know many of my issues with Ruby and Sapphire won’t be a problem when the remakes release this November. However, I really don’t think the bad taste Hoenn left in my mouth will ever let me look at that region in a positive light.

Images

Talkback

Evan_BJune 05, 2014

I like how one-sided this article is- one person has a falling out with Pokemon because Ruby and Sapphire sucked and the other enjoys every aspect that made the game insufferable.

Why is Ruby and Sapphire the worst pair of Pokemon games? Well, in trying to "diversify" it's versions it came up with two equally lame evil organizations with the most ridiculous schemes ever. There are far more duds in R/S than any other entry and it started the overcomplicated design trend that the series has only recently eased up on. The region and it's ridiculous obsession with water still end up being extremely bland, even though they tried really hard to make it interesting with weather choices, which wouldn't be well-implemented until the next generation.

I understand that people try to defend something they like staunchly even when it's widely regarded as subpar, but I would have preferred more opinions from more writers on these games. If you're going to have two people argue why a game is good or bad, I'd like to hear more variation than harping on all the reasons it's bad.

Quote from: Evan_B

I like how one-sided this article is- one person has a falling out with Pokemon because Ruby and Sapphire sucked and the other enjoys every aspect that made the game insufferable.

Why is Ruby and Sapphire the worst pair of Pokemon games? Well, in trying to "diversify" it's versions it came up with two equally lame evil organizations with the most ridiculous schemes ever. There are far more duds in R/S than any other entry and it started the overcomplicated design trend that the series has only recently eased up on. The region and it's ridiculous obsession with water still end up being extremely bland, even though they tried really hard to make it interesting with weather choices, which wouldn't be well-implemented until the next generation.

I understand that people try to defend something they like staunchly even when it's widely regarded as subpar, but I would have preferred more opinions from more writers on these games. If you're going to have two people argue why a game is good or bad, I'd like to hear more variation than harping on all the reasons it's bad.

Who's harping? Is it that unreasonable that two people end at two justifiable, opposing ends of the spectrum? And where is the one side?

pokepal148June 05, 2014

Quote from: Evan_B

I like how one-sided this article is- one person has a falling out with Pokemon because Ruby and Sapphire sucked and the other enjoys every aspect that made the game insufferable.

Why is Ruby and Sapphire the worst pair of Pokemon games? Well, in trying to "diversify" it's versions it came up with two equally lame evil organizations with the most ridiculous schemes ever. There are far more duds in R/S than any other entry and it started the overcomplicated design trend that the series has only recently eased up on. The region and it's ridiculous obsession with water still end up being extremely bland, even though they tried really hard to make it interesting with weather choices, which wouldn't be well-implemented until the next generation.

I understand that people try to defend something they like staunchly even when it's widely regarded as subpar, but I would have preferred more opinions from more writers on these games. If you're going to have two people argue why a game is good or bad, I'd like to hear more variation than harping on all the reasons it's bad.

who says the remakes won't try to fix these things.

nickmitchJune 05, 2014

I found it weird to read how Alex liked so many things that are popularly hated about R/S and kind of poo-pooed the rest.

The designs are a matter of taste, sure.  But I felt that the obscurity of some of the puzzles, for me at least, made the extras not fun and unplayable.  At a time when my interest was waning, having to look up braille was not my idea of fun.  Also, having to have certain pokemon in your party in order catch others was annoying.  I think trying to get a wailord was where I eventually put down the games.  And there was waaay too much surfing.  Sorry, but having to constantly keep a supply of repels was tedious.

Evan_BJune 05, 2014

@Pokepal I seriously hope they do! I think that Hoenn will function better as a region with the X and Y engine.

I was just hoping for a bit more variation aside from "this is all the stuff that was dumb" and "this was all the stuff that people say is dumb except I liked it."

Huell BabineauxJune 05, 2014

I completely agree with you. I had many fond memories of using a braille dictionary trying to decode the puzzles to get the regiis. I think people love to hate and find flaws in a game as opposed to enjoying it and babi-knowing how to play the game.

CericJune 06, 2014

Reading some of this reminds how much I don't like Post-Game only stuff in Pokemon.  I rather there be a ton of optional stuff you could do before officially beating the game.

OblivionJune 06, 2014

Holy shit, the comment section on this site has gone hill. Go gives a crap if his opinion is that he liked some of the stuff others didn't? It's his opinion, for crying out loud. Its like your blind hatred for this game has turned your anger towards an innocent article.

MythtendoJune 06, 2014

I hated Ruby and Sapphire. I thought the world was bland, the new Pokemon were not interesting. I did like the introduction of 2 on 2 battles though.

Fiendlord_TimmayJune 06, 2014

Quote:

I like how one-sided this article is- one person has a falling out with Pokemon because Ruby and Sapphire sucked and the other enjoys every aspect that made the game insufferable.

How is Justin's argument better? It basically boils down to: "I couldn't transfer my Pokemon from older games and they didn't just put the same old Pokemon in a new region. Therefore Ruby and Sapphire suck. Q.E.D."

Also as for the Silcoon/Cascoon comparison...

http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Nidoran%E2%99%82_%28Pok%C3%A9mon%29
http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Nidoran%E2%99%80_%28Pok%C3%A9mon%29

See those two Pokemon above? They're different Pokemon. They couldn't be bothered to come up with different names, so they just put a tacky Male or Female symbol in the name. Truly awful.

I find it interesting how the majority of people who hate Gen 3 so vehemently are the same people who freely admit that they were suffering from Pokemon fatigue at the time. What that says to me is not that the game changed. You did.

It's the typical "Genwunner" argument. "Everything was better back in Red and Blue! They've run out of ideas! etc., etc." This illustrates the irony of that pretty well, albeit with Gen 5 instead: http://i.imgur.com/Zo9QB.jpg

I think it's absolutely ridiculous that people hate new Pokemon games that only let you catch new Pokemon, instead of all the same ones we've seen for the past 20 years over and over. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE NEW POKEMON, WHY ARE YOU BUYING A NEW FUCKING POKEMON GAME?! That's kinda the point, isn't it? That's the biggest feature update of a new generation. That's the main reason a new "Generation" is such a big deal.

Aside from all this, Gen 3 brought a ton of new stuff to the table. Double battles,  Weather effects, Natures, Abilities, a new IV system, etc. The reason your old Pokemon couldn't be transferred is because of the huge overhaul they made to the individual aspects of each Pokemon. I'd much rather have big changes to the system (like Abilities) at the expense of my old Pokemon rather than having the series be EVEN LESS different between iterations just to try and grandfather in all of the old, obsolete, half-baked systems that existed before.

Evan_BJune 06, 2014

The article simply states that, if you're the kind of person who likes all the things that weren't well-received by the majority of Pokemon fans in Ruby and Sapphire, you liked Ruby and Sapphire.

People still bitch and moan about me saying Super Mario 3D Land is the worst 3D Mario of them all and giving legitimate critique, so excuse me if I feel something that parrots the popular opinion of a game with an added "but I liked them" is a weak argument, or one that could be expanded upon.

I feel a forum discussion is better for this type of subject because then we could see the variety in people's opinions of the game. This just doesn't seem to warrant a full article, but that's just my OPINION. It's still going to stay on the site, I was just merely commenting on it.

Evan_BJune 06, 2014

And since I can't edit talkback posts:

Quote from: Fiendlord_Timmay

Quote:

I like how one-sided this article is- one person has a falling out with Pokemon because Ruby and Sapphire sucked and the other enjoys every aspect that made the game insufferable.

How is Justin's argument better? It basically boils down to: "I couldn't transfer my Pokemon from older games and they didn't just put the same old Pokemon in a new region. Therefore Ruby and Sapphire suck. Q.E.D."

I also feel that this argument is cheap, which is why I called for more variety in the feature. If kind of just feels like a lazy editorial.

OblivionJune 06, 2014

Hey, don't get me wrong, I am in the camp that loves Gen 3. I just get sick of all the article bashing.

Fiendlord_TimmayJune 06, 2014

Quote:

The article simply states that, if you're the kind of person who likes all the things that weren't well-received by the majority of Pokemon fans in Ruby and Sapphire, you liked Ruby and Sapphire.

I disagree with the notion that "the majority of Pokemon fans" agree on disliking aspects of this game. I think this is just another case of a vocal minority. For example, there seemed to be a universal hatred for the new DmC game, but when there are anonymous polls, etc. it turns out that an overwhelming majority of people actually think highly of the game, and it's just a few crazies who won't shut up that color the perception of popular opinion.

With Ruby and Sapphire, it's even more split. While I do see plenty of hate for those games, there are just as many people willing to jump to its defense. So I don't think this unanimous agreement that you keep citing actually exists.

Quote:

excuse me if I feel something that parrots the popular opinion of a game with an added "but I liked them" is a weak argument, or one that could be expanded upon.

Quote:

I also feel that this argument is cheap, which is why I called for more variety in the feature. If kind of just feels like a lazy editorial.

Fair enough. I would have also liked to see a much more in-depth analysis of the games. Especially as a hardcore Pokemon fan, an analysis of the nitty-gritty stuff like the apparent removal of a day-night system or the added elements in the battle system would have interested me.

I'm not quite as critical as you are, and I'm not going to call this "lazy editorializing" or anything of the sort, but it's certainly not the most engaging debate either.

Quote:

I just get sick of all the article bashing.

Yeah, just keep in mind that the writers for this site are unpaid volunteers who do this in their free time. Even if they weren't I try to avoid harsh attacks and stick to constructive criticism as much as possible.

It's admittedly difficult to do at times because I'm so passionate and have so many opinions about games, but I always try to keep my cool and be respectful, because god knows the internet needs more of that.

Quote from: Evan_B

The article simply states that, if you're the kind of person who likes all the things that weren't well-received by the majority of Pokemon fans in Ruby and Sapphire, you liked Ruby and Sapphire.

People still bitch and moan about me saying Super Mario 3D Land is the worst 3D Mario of them all and giving legitimate critique, so excuse me if I feel something that parrots the popular opinion of a game with an added "but I liked them" is a weak argument, or one that could be expanded upon.

I feel a forum discussion is better for this type of subject because then we could see the variety in people's opinions of the game. This just doesn't seem to warrant a full article, but that's just my OPINION. It's still going to stay on the site, I was just merely commenting on it.

I thank you for giving your opinion and I enjoy seeing people so passionate about this topic; I would like to say, though, that my article wasn't quite as simple as "It has a lot of water and I like it even though you don't." I sure did like many of the things that sparked criticism, but I feel like I at least fairly elaborated on why I liked them. I like the style, sound, look, and Poke-designs because I admire how colorful, bold, and different everything is. The design, while occasionally dipping into obtuse territory, does so in a way that makes me feel like I'm properly journeying around Hoenn.  Is any of what I'm saying that lazy or that unfair?

Evan_BJune 06, 2014

Once again, I apologize if I sound like an opinionated arse- I mean, I AM an opinionated arse, but the problem I have with this article is that it says the same thing twice- water, trumpets, Pokemon designs- and then also layers the lack of Pokemon transfer atop that and everything does end up feeling pretty one-note and kind of down. I just would have liked to hear more contributions from staff members- it's usually the best way to encourage discussion. More experiences would have probably unearthed new things to mention- my friend often cites the Underground being a major factor in his enjoyment of the title, and that's something neither party elaborated upon.

pokepal148June 06, 2014

I feel like hoenn, while it may have felt a bit watered down at times, is still the most dynamic region.

Honestly if 3d is not working in route 113 with a decent camera angle I'm going to be very sad.

Also meteor falls is the best overworld theme in the series hands down

Fiendlord_TimmayJune 06, 2014

Quote:

may have felt a bit watered down at times

http://community.us.playstation.com/t5/image/serverpage/image-id/279078iF57B2F84025C0789/image-size/original?v=mpbl-1&px=-1

pokepal148June 07, 2014

http://youtu.be/i3GrO6kxJCw

MythtendoJune 08, 2014

Quote from: Fiendlord_Timmay

Also as for the Silcoon/Cascoon comparison...

http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Nidoran%E2%99%82_%28Pok%C3%A9mon%29
http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Nidoran%E2%99%80_%28Pok%C3%A9mon%29

See those two Pokemon above? They're different Pokemon. They couldn't be bothered to come up with different names, so they just put a tacky Male or Female symbol in the name. Truly awful.

The Nidorans look different though, Silcoon and Cascoon don't.

the asylumJune 08, 2014

The only good things R/S/E introduced were abilities and the box organization. The music was tinny, annoying, and forgettable. Also completely cut off from Gens I and II, with no way to legitimately complete the Pokedex if you weren't living in Japan. A ton of the Pokegear features from Gen II that made it so much better than Gen I were also missing, and no day/night function.

Thankfully, Gen VI takes second place to Gen V as best Gen. So even though I was so sure there wouldn't be a R/S/E remake, I'm still glad that there is.

...which brings me to wonder: If the last two remakes were intended to let us import the Gen I/II legendaries to our current games, and Gen VI is still young, what precedent does this set? Can we expect to see BLAZING FIRE RED and LUSH LEAF GREEN next?

CericJune 09, 2014

I think by the time Ruby and Sapphire came out people were ready for a shift in Pokemon but, while they were ready what they really wanted was a full expansion.  Which is something they really haven't done as of yet by my understanding.

They have so many regions now.  I'm waiting to hear about the game that allows you to start in different regions.  Take on different paths to getting to the elite four.  Say I do some badges in Hoenn, maybe some in Johto. 

Be able to go to different areas to grab different Pokemon.  Something where we could each have are own path of making it through.  I think that is the Pokemon that really needs to come out.

OblivionJune 09, 2014

Forgettable music in Gen III? HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN THE HORNS?!??!

nickmitchJune 09, 2014

The Nidorans are only separate Pokemon because gender wasn't in Gen I.  Silcoon and Cascoon both evolve from the same Pokemon, so it makes sense that they look similar.

I still didn't like Gen III.  Yeah, I was fatigued from the series (skipping R/S and going straight to Emerald), but Gen IV (my favorite) really renewed my interest in it.  I don't get people's obsession with the trumpets.  The music in the games was ok to me.  The sound track had it moments.  I couldn't imagine saying it sucked.

Fiendlord_TimmayJune 09, 2014

Quote:

The Nidorans look different though, Silcoon and Cascoon don't.

Hence my citation of their names being the same and not their appearance.

Quote:

The Nidorans are only separate Pokemon because gender wasn't in Gen I.  Silcoon and Cascoon both evolve from the same Pokemon, so it makes sense that they look similar.

Also this. And yeah, I understand the reason for the naming, but that doesn't make it any less dumb. I just brought it up as an example of arguably bad or lazy Pokemon design(/naming) to show to genwunners who think that Gen 1 was flawless and brilliant in every way.

famguy3March 06, 2015

I was a big fan of Pokemon red through gold and diamond through x and y. Ruby and Saphire felt a bit flat for me and I will give my reasons:
1. The selection of Pokemon types are severely limited. There is a huge amount of water types and I was always left with an open slot. 
2.  It felt like there was a large imbalance in the Pokemon.  The bad Pokemon were ridiculously bad and the good ones were crazy overpowered.
3. The Teams(Aqua and Magma) have a huge fetish for dark type Pokemon. This was always an issue but it felt really present in these games.  These evil organizations would probably be more successful if they would chose more than just rattata, koffings and ekans.
4. The run feature was a great addition, but everything was so far away from each other it didn't matter as much.
5. The legendaries were not fun to catch at all. From riding a bike over loose floorboards to using relicanths and wailords to reveal the path these journeys felt more like a chore than adventure.

This game had a good deal of memorable Pokemon.  I will not mention them now as we all have our own opinions on memorable. I loved every Pokemon game after ruby,sapphire so it has nothing to do with my tastes changing. These are just my thoughts

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