In Nintendo’s ongoing effort to make adult fans of the Pokémon video game series feel old, the gaming giant has released a revamped version of the third generation of its ridiculously popular handheld RPG series. Following the 2004 remake of the original Red/Blue as FireRed/LeafGreenfor the Game Boy Advance and the 2009 remake of Gold/Silver as HeartGold/SoulSilverfor the DS, Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire continues the trend of updating older games in the series to fill time between newer releases. But is Hoennworth revisiting? 

The original Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire is now—brace yourselves—12 years old. Pokémon games have always been some of the absolute best of Nintendo’s handheld offerings, even the best among the RPG genre regardless of publisher or platform, with gameplay that can be as simple or as complex as you want it and hundreds of hours of “endgame” breeding, leveling, and Legendary-hunting. But after the incredible Gold/Silver, which introduced a boatload of new features and even included the entire original game’s map after you completed the new one, Ruby/Sapphire felt lackluster. It was merely really good. 

Likewise, ΩR/αS is merely really good. Along with all the depth and extended playability of any entry in the series, it keeps updates from X/Y such as the new Fairy type, adds even more Mega Evolutions, brings back the Pokémon Contests and Secret Bases from the original version, and adds some new features like the DexNav. Secret Bases were a lackluster concept in the original game unless you had a lot of friends to physically connect with, but it really shines with StreetPassand online connectivity. The DexNavshows you when you’ve caught all the Pokémon in an area—good for those who take catching them all super seriously—and helps find more of the ones you’ve already encountered. Repeated encounters initiated through the DexNavnet you stronger wild Pokémon withrare moves and abilities. The similar AreaNavlets you see where there are trainer rematches, ripe berries, and new secret bases waiting for you. Combining those tools with all the touch-screen features of X/Y—the PSS, Pokémon-Amie, and Super Training—makes for a busy bottom screen, but better too many things to do than too few. 

The graphics in ΩR/αS have the exact same 3D look as X/Y, though that includes lackluster 3D implementation that you’re still better off disabling entirely. Using 3D during Pokémonbattles still causes unforgivable game lag. But apart from that easily managed problem, it’s still a very good-looking game, especially for older players whose first Pokémon were collections of monochrome pixels. The UI has a pixelated style that’s presumably meant as a throwback to the original, but combined with bold primary colors it’s a little harsh to look at, especially compared to X/Y’s smoother look. The character customization from X/Y did not carry over into ΩR/αS, which is understandable but still a shame. 

The biggest problems, as they’ve always been in the Pokémon series, are with backward compatibility. But it’s less understandable now. With the 3DS as capable of software patches as any other console—you can hardly start a new A-list game without them now—not patching ΩR/αS compatibility back into X/Y seems inexcusable. Online competitions have become a major contributor to X/Y’s longevity, giving players a reason to keep going long after the game’s 40 or so hours of structured story. But ratherthan give the older game an update, Nintendo has established separate online leagues for players of the two different titles. In the cartridge days it was easy enough to write off, since there was genuinely no way to update the older games. Now it’s starting to feel like a way to push people to buy the newer game in order to access more Mega evolutions and Legendariesfor online battles. In addition, if you prefer to transfer your Pokémon from your older game, you have to have either purchased a physical copy of at least one of them or signed up for a $5/year subscription to the Pokémon Box service. It’s not an expensive service, but it’s still a cost you could avoid if you had physical copies and a friend’s 3DS to borrow. There’s no way for the digitally-distributed save files to communicate, you can only send your critters to the cloud and then retrieve them. With the entire video game industry pushing for digital distribution as a way to counter the secondary market, this feels a bit silly. 

Overall, Pokémon X/Y is the better game, but for those who have already spent the last year leveling, Wonder Trading, and breeding for perfect stats, there’s no good reason not to move on to ΩR/αS. Hoenn’snot a bad place to be.