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How Will Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Compare to Pokémon Legends: Arceus?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Warwick chapter.

Disclaimer: this article contains spoilers for Pokémon Legends: Arceus and refers to the trailers of both Pokémon Violet and Pokémon Scarlet. Some quotes have also been edited for grammatical purposes.

With only one day to go until the Pokémon Scarlet & Violet release, anticipation in the gaming world is really building up. As it stands, the latest Pokémon entry is available for pre-order, though will be available for in-store or online purchase on November 18th. As the hours edge closer, fans can’t help but speculate what the gameplay will be like. From what we’ve seen in the trailers and emails, the gameplay sure is different to previous entries! From riding legendary Pokémon like motorbikes to supposedly open-world features, the game is one to keep an eye on. In this article I will expand on the Pokémon Scarlet & Violet expectations and how they compare to Pokémon Legends: Arceus, released in January of this year.

So, what exactly is the hype? The newest releases in the Pokémon Saga are expected to be the first truly open-world games, leading many to question whether Arceus was a test-run. After all, Arceus has some features similar to what is expected in Scarlet & Violet. This includes free-running Pokémon, scrapping the traditional use of Gyms and using certain Pokémon for transport. It makes sense that Game Freak would draw on the latest iterations, just as Arceus drew on Sword & Shield in terms of graphics, wild areas and showing Pokémon not just in the grass but also on paths. Whilst Arceus allows you to unlock 4 Pokémon to call and use as mounts, it seems that the legendaries in Scarlet & Violet will serve as mounts from early on in the game, almost shapeshifting. Is this an upgrade or is it simply ridiculous? One thing that is unclear is whether or not the newest games will follow Arceus in terms of catching Pokémon. In the latter, players can physically aim and throw Pokéballs at wild Pokémon, catching them unawares. A player can also throw their Pokémon to initiate battle, smash objects and shake trees. However, trailers for Scarlet & Violet show no signs of this, despite fans liking the realism of throwing balls in both Arceus and Pokémon Go. In the past, mainline games have been largely single player, with the exception of online Pokémon trades, Arceus included. In contrast to this, Nintendo promises that Scarlet & Violet allows “you and up to three other Trainers to explore the Paldea region together in local or online co-op”, implying that this isn’t a subscription-only feature. It’s safe to say that no other Pokémon entry allows any similar multiplayer function, making it entirely unique to its predecessors. With this in mind, should we expect Scarlet & Violet to be a step up from Arceus, or something entirely different?

On the Nintendo website, Pokémon Scarlet advertises a player’s freedom to “beat the eight Gyms spread across the region- in any order- to prove your strength and aim for the Champion rank!”, something definitively impossible in any prior game. In fact, Arceus entirely scrapped the Gym feature, substituting it with progressing in ranks as you update the Pokédex and catch more Pokémon. It seems that Scarlet & Violet will see a return to the Gyms, though giving you the open-world feature to complete them at your leisure. Even Arceus lacked this fluidity, where the main storyline prevented players from accessing specific areas until completed. Scarlet & Violet contain the fundamental features of the saga (trainer battles, completing the Pokédex, exploring areas and more) whilst clearly modernising, presenting itself as a genuine open-world game. In my opinion, it appears that Game Freak have finally created a game that draws on both fan-favourite elements and includes many new features.

Now that the similarities and differences have been established, it’s time to see what others think of Arceus and Scarlet & Violet. I sent out a form to University of Warwick students and beyond, and this is what the results say:

Have you seen trailers of the newest releases, Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet?
  • 76.5% of responses said “Yes”
  • 11.8% of responses said “No”
  • 11.8% of responses said “No, but I’ve seen other content”

From this, I can conclude that an overwhelming majority of responses have been exposed to some form of advertisement for the newest entries, suggesting that Pokémon is going hard on their marketing. However, it must be acknowledged that the majority of responders are naturally fans of the Pokémon franchise, or gaming at the minimum.

On a Scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest, how likely are you to buy either Pokémon Violet or Pokémon Scarlet?
  • 47.1% voted 5
  • 5.9% voted 4
  • 5.9% voted 3 (representing neutral)
  • 29.4% voted 2
  • 11.8% voted 1

Nearly half of responders stated that they “definitely will be purchasing” at least one version of the game, whilst the remaining responders had differing views. It does appear, however, that Pokémon Scarlet & Violet generally appeal to the public, where fans have seen enough teasers to decide whether they will or will not be buying the game.

Please explain your response
  • “Always had interest in the main series Pokémon games but don’t feel that the gameplay is for me,” said one response.
  • “The open world nature is very interesting to me because it’s something I always thought would be a good fit.”
  • “I am a dedicated fan, so it would take a lot for me to not get the next instalment in the franchise.”

To summarise, it seems that no responders are under the impression that the Pokémon Scarlet & Violet will be repetitive re-writes of the older games, which has been the feedback for some of the 3DS games. Instead, it seems that the gameplay seems is the dividing factor, though many fans intend to buy the game purely out of tradition.

What are your favourite elements of the Pokémon Saga?

Another open question, though results were far more varied. Because of this, it is harder to summarise how fans generally feel about the games, suggesting that each have been drawn in for their own reasons.

  • “The uniqueness of each Pokémon and the idea of a world where all of these creatures with crazy abilities can coexist,” was the first recorded response.
  • “Battling, team building and the variety of characters.”
  • “The exploration of areas, like dungeons and the music.”
  • “Filling my Pokédex, discovering new places, challenging other trainers and defeating the Champions.”

From the form, I can conclude that everyone is drawn to Pokémon for their own reasons, be it continuity over the generations or features from specific games. At the end of the day, how will the speculation compare to public gameplay of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet? Will the hype be worth it? And will this entry mark a step away from previous entries, Arceus included? The answers are almost close enough to touch.

Hi, I'm Kelsey, a final year student at Warwick Uni. I study English Lit and Creative Writing so books, unsurprisingly, take up a lot of my time. I'm seriously considering taking a blanket into the library because I spend so much time there. When I'm not panicking over my degree, I write articles for here, co-run online poetry collective BoundBy, organise the BeaconLit Book Festival, tutor, read and write nonsense, paint instead of sleep and think about my pets. And also schedule in way too much. But, I wouldn't change a thing (except maybe my time management).