Pokémon Emerald Review (GBA)

With Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire on their way, it only makes sense to look back at the games they are deriving from. But instead of looking at the two games individually, why not look at the third game in the collection, Pokémon Emerald?Released in 2005, two years after the release of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, the game is a combination of its two predecessors, featuring both elements old and new. With that in place, let’s explore what the game has to offer.



Like most Pokémon games, the story is not a primary aspect of the game. The game does feature some story, though most of it serves as a segue for the play to explore a new area of the game. Like all Pokémon games, the presence of a villainous team is key to the story. Pokémon Emerald doesn’t feature merely one of these teams, but rather two of them—Team Aqua and Team Magma. These teams were featured in Sapphire and Ruby respectively. Their goals within the game are to awaken the Pokémon from the legendary weather trio, to fulfill their goals of changing the planet’s geography. Things go wrong and two of the legendaries start battling, leading the player to awaken the trio master, Rayquaza (who just happens to be the mascot of the game). Though the story seems well supported, it is simply spread to lightly throughout the game.

Gameplay Mechanics


Pokémon Emerald features similar gameplay mechanics to most Pokémon games, meanwhile introducing a few new mechanics. The random encounters, trainer battles, over-head view, etc., are still in place, yet the game adds new mechanics—the key one being double battles. This allows the player to send two Pokémon out simultaneously to fight two other trainers. From this, a new level of strategy is added. Players must now coordinate their attacks to ensure the maximum amount of damage is inflicted, meanwhile keeping their team strong. Tactics like using one Pokémon for stat changing and another one for attacking is key to effectively wiping out the opponents team. Overall, the game keeps previous mechanics in mint condition while adding brand new ones of its own.

Other Factors

The game, alongside great mechanics keep other things that the Pokémon games have been known for, fresh yet well preserved. The game re-introduces animated sprites to the series only featured in Pokémon Crystal prior to its release. Various new battle areas are added, the largest being the Battle Frontier. This new Battle Frontier, only accessible after beating the Pokémon League Champion, features various new arenas for the player to battle in. The game’s difficulty truly depends on the player’s will to train their Pokémon. Through heavy training, the game can come off as easy, though if the player isn’t willing to put the time and effort into the game, gym battles may serve as a challenge. This simple aspect is carried over from the original games, and still applies to Pokémon games today. The world is large assuring there will be moments the player will feel lost, but to make up for this, the game has a large array of Pokémon to make each area feel new.

Should You Give it a Go?


Depends. Like all Pokémon games, to get good at them, time and patience must be invested. For veterans of the series, this game will feel right at home. For newcomers, this game may be a bit confusing at first and may require a bit of self-teaching, though once that’s out of the way the game becomes smooth sailing. The game definitely excels compared to other Generation III games in the series, and is a great game for anyone interested in the series. If one is willing to spend time on it, the games will only get better, yet if one prefers a quick play, the game will just be a challenge. If you’re willing to put time into it, you will get addicted to making your Pokémon stronger, and may even go on the quest to catch them all.

Pokémon Emerald Review (GBA)
The game offers a large world to explore with lots to it, yet it does feel like any other Pokémon game at times. It provides great gameplay and a beautiful array of Pokémon and areas to explore, but it doesn't fully provide a clear path at times. Because of this, it deserves a solid 8/10.
Art and Music8
  • Addictive Gameplay
  • Colorful Graphics
  • Provides New Mechanics
  • Shaky Story
  • Repetitive at times
  • Easy to get lost
8.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (7 Votes)
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About The Author

Editor/Game Reviewer

He is a Hylian who has a knack for Nintendo. When he is taking a break from exploring Hyrule he can be found honing his tennis skills, taking part in musical theatre, or surfing the internet.