Pokémon Scarlet and Violet hype is reaching a fever pitch as trailers keep dropping following the big Pokémon-focused Nintendo Direct. From new Pokémon and items to entire game-altering features, tidbits continue to trickle out as if to keep fans drooling until November.
There are several standout announcements so far that might change even the most stone-hearted Pokémon fan into a believer that this might be the generation to capture the interest of fans of all ages. Without further ado, here are eight things you should know about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.
1. The Region of Paldea Is an Open World
Probably the most requested feature in Pokémon history has been to make a world that the player could explore to their heart’s content from the very start of the game. Scarlet and Violet take place in the Paldea region, which is inspired by the country of Spain. Thanks to the open world nature of the region, the geography is a lot more varied with a focus on inviting spaces with large oceans and meadows, as well as a sense of verticality thanks to mountains and towers.
What’s even better is that, instead of the usual combination of HMs and bikes, the player will be able to ride atop the legendary Pokémon to climb mountains, surf the seas, and ride along the grassy meadows. Koraidon in Scarlet and Miraidon in Violet will be the final forms of transportation, but it appears the player will be riding a similar Pokémon named Cyclizar at the beginning of their adventure.
2. Finally, True 4-Player Co-Op
Right alongside an open world format, players have longed to explore the world of Pokémon with their friends right alongside them. After all, the Pokémon anime always had such a strong focus on the friendship and adventures of Ash and crew, so it was only natural that many of its fanbase hoped to emulate it. Though there’s been limited co-op in the past, such as in the Let’s Go games, it’s taken until this upcoming generation for the dream to finally become a complete reality.
Players can all ride along on their legendary Pokémon of choice through the wilds of the Paldea region. While it’s unclear if there will be restrictions to how far the co-op party can separate or how the in-game battling mechanic will work, it will be exciting to experience this new world with some friends.
Raid battles are also making a return. Raid battles were one of the best inclusions in Sword and Shield, and this time they’ll be new and improved as players won’t need to wait for their queue of friends to attack before they do. Unlike Sword and Shield’s prototype raid fights though, players can attack the raid Pokémon out of order, which should help with the pacing.
3. New Core Battle Features
New battle features have been showcased that promise to change the meta of competitive play and how players engage with one another online. New moves such as Shed Tail, which lets the Pokémon create a substitute and swap with a party Pokémon in the same turn, are going to create waves.
There’s also a new item called Mirror Herb, which allows the Pokémon that consumes it to copy the stat changes of the opposing Pokémon. Players will also be able to bring their top teams into the new Pokémon Stadium feature, allowing players to play online in both ranked and casual battles – something the franchise has often lacked in the past.
There will also be competitions to see how high the player can rank. Players will even be able to obtain rental Pokémon for use online – a first for a mainline online feature.
4. Your Pokémon Can Follow You Again
There was nothing more exciting for Pokémon fans than when Pokémon Yellow allowed players to have their starter Pikachu follow them around during their Kanto adventure. The feature has since made sporadic returns in different games throughout the series and will once again be returning in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.
While it’s super exciting to know that players can have their little Sprigatito scamper behind them, it remains to be seen how Pokémon will scale according to their lore size – something that has been inconsistent in the past.
The Pokémon Let’s Go games showed some of the size differences between different species, while Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl had the in-game models all relatively the same size. Hopefully, Scarlet and Violet will show us the crushing size of a Wailord.
5. Out With Dynamax, In With Terastal
Ever since Generation VI, every Pokémon game has received a new battle “gimmick.” While not everything has been a hit, there have been interesting attempts to mix up the formula. Terastal is the newest of these once-in-a-generation features and appears to have a little more depth to it compared to the previous generation’s Dynamax mechanic.
It appears to work similarly to Dynamax, where the player can choose a Pokémon to transform during the battle, but instead of getting super large, they become super shiny. Beyond that, the Pokémon’s moves become stronger, and depending on the specific Pokémon, there’s the chance they could even change types.
For instance, Pikachu becomes a flying type when it transforms, which might cause all sorts of headaches for the opposing trainer. It remains to be seen if this mechanic will be accepted in competitive play or if top players will decide it isn’t viable like they once did with Dynamax.
6. Gyms Can Be Played In Any Order But They Won’t Scale
In another exciting change for the series, players will finally be able to tackle challenges in any order they choose. This hasn’t been possible since the Gen IV games, and even back then, it was a limited mechanic where only select gym leaders could be done out of order.
In Scarlet and Violet, however, the player can take their level 6 Fidough directly to the highest-ranking gym leader and attempt to show them who’s the top dog.
Yeah, that’s right, the gyms won’t scale to the player’s current team level but instead will be hard-locked to particular difficulties. Think of it like challenging Ganon at the very beginning of Breath of the Wild. Sure, you can do it, but do you really want to?
7. It Won’t Play Like Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Pokémon Legends: Arceus was a breath of fresh air for the franchise with its semi-open world, a remixed version of traditional battling, and free-roam catching mechanic where players didn’t have to enter a formal battle to catch Pokémon.
It added a new sense of control for players and made the catching sequences feel more fast-paced compared to the traditional style. While Scarlet and Violet appear to be taking the open world concept to another level for the franchise, the freedom to catch Pokémon outside of battle doesn’t seem to be returning this time.
Instead, players will need to enter a battle like any mainline Pokémon game thus far. The battling also appears to be returning to the traditional and more competitively viable single turn-based style, which will surely make many longtime competitive fans happy.
8. There Are 3 Paths in the Story
Typically, there are different objectives in a Pokémon game that a player can work toward, but often they are done in conjunction with one another or as post-game content. In Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, the player has the choice to focus on three story objectives from the start, including the traditional gym challenge where the player works to obtain the gym badges to prove their worth for a much greater accomplishment.
The other two storylines have only been hinted at in the trailer. One includes a mysterious vehicle that’s being driven through the Paldea region – presumably the Team Rocket of the region – and another plotline that might have something to do with a mysterious plant. How these scenes fit into the larger puzzle of the Paldea region, players will have to wait and see.
Pokémon Violet and Scarlet are shaping up to be the console games that fans were hoping Sword and Shield would be. There are still many surprises awaiting players in the region of Paldea, but everyone will have to wait until the games launch for the Switch on November 18th, 2022.
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