The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
As many of you know, I recently wrote an article about the upcoming release of Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet. Anyone who hasn’t read the article can find it here: How Will Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Compare to Pokémon Legends: Arceus? (hercampus.com). I purchased a copy of Pokémon Scarlet roughly two weeks after its release (which was 18th November 2022) and have enjoyed every moment since. My partner and friend have also purchased copies of Violet, and we’ve enjoyed the multiplayer feature. So, this article is following up on the newest releases, as well as how my experiences compare to expectations. Don’t worry, I’ll try not to give any major spoilers. (Seriously though- read at your own digression.)
Before talking about gameplay, I’d like to dismiss rumours about glitches and incompatibility. Admittedly, there are moments where far-off characters seem to lag or freeze, though I’d hardly say it stunts the experience. When playing with others, there are some performance issues in terms of what you all see (some players see slightly different animations or at different timings), but again, I wouldn’t consider it extreme. For Pokémon’s first truly open-world game, a few improvements are to be expected. Which leads me to my next point- the levels of freedom. The Pokémon Company have done an excellent job at making the world as open-ended as possible, aside from when you first start the gameplay. When comparing progress with my partner, we found that we battled certain gym leaders at similar times, though the orders were slightly varied. However, I believe that this is because of the map: Paldea is doughnut-shaped. Our progress varied, where I focused more on general exploration whilst my partner went for the gym leaders earlier on. I think the world is as open as it can be without fundamentally altering the foundations of Pokémon.
I absolutely love the narrative arcs of Pokémon Scarlet. There are 3 main storylines which come together for a final conclusion. I’ve yet to defeat the Elite Four and still have one Team Star Base left (darn Fairy-types) but have sorted out all the Herba Mystica and rampant Pokémon. For inexperienced players, the Elite Four are a group of four challengers that are found in every Pokémon game (I think?) and are the final or penultimate bosses before reaching post-game content. The Team Star Bases are exclusive to Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, but are essentially rebel kids who have set up camp and your character somehow ends up challenging each of them (it’s only slightly coerced by a mysterious woman online). Thirdly, the Herba Mystica are magical herbs which have healing powers but can also make Pokémon supersized and aggressive. There’s more to it than that, though that is the jist of it. At the very start of the game, after you’ve completed the required content, your character has a fair amount of freedom in terms of where they go next. At Mesagoza (home to your character’s school), you have the option to pursue three paths; Victory Road (fight the Gym Leaders), Path of Legends (find the angry Pokémon) and Starfall Street (the Team Star Bases). When you complete one arc, you unlock an ending, or resolution of sorts. However, it isn’t until you complete all three narratives that you are able to go into Area Zero (a very spooky place where scientists went but definitely shouldn’t have) and play more content. As mentioned, I haven’t finished all arcs so haven’t reached this yet, but believe that this is where the finale and post-game content occurs.
Aside from the main narratives, there is plenty to do in Scarlet and Violet. For one, the Academy is a must for when you don’t feel like battling. By attending classes like art, history and science, your skill level and friendliness with the teacher improves. On top of that, you might even learn about the different Pokémon types, what is strong/weak against what, and Pokémon lore. It’s definitely worth a visit, or a few. Picnics are another enjoyable way to pass time, where players can make sandwiches from recipes that they acquire throughout the game, or by freestyling. Depending on the ingredients, the sandwiches give players a boost (like increasing the chances to find an egg, or catching certain Pokémon types). What’s more, this feature is available on the multiplayer version, which I’d highly recommend. There are some glitches, however; if I placed a tomato on my sandwich, the other players might not see it on the end sandwich. Either way, I’ve had great fun making sandwiches with my friends, and the chaos makes it even better. Unlike in previous games, where players can drop Pokémon off at a Nursery in the hopes off breeding them (or at least levelling them up), Scarlet and Violet allow players to breed and level-up their Pokémon through picnics. Because of this, I now have an abundance of Eevee’s and have collected all the Eeveelutions (Glaceon and Sylvion are my favourite). By making sandwiches, playing fetch or spending time together, Pokémon gain experience points and may even lay eggs. The best part is that these eggs mysteriously appear in the picnic basket. I’ve found that, by changing what Pokémon I have in my party, I can influence what Pokémon hatches from the egg. Through this, I’ve managed to breed all three starter Pokémon and now have them in my party! That’s another bonus of the multiplayer feature- by having picnics together, you can breed the Pokémon that you’re too precious about trading. I really hope this makes sense to any non-gamers reading.
There is so much to say about the multiplayer feature, especially because it is the first of its kind in the Pokémon franchise (aside from general trading), but the word count is stopping me from going into great detail. Instead, I’ll list some of the components that I like most (and the glitches) and readers can Google in their own leisure. When you play with someone else, you are all sent to the same map. There’s a cool animation of your player portal-ling (it’s a word now) down and waving at the player who’s world you are in. You also have the ability to ride your mounts together (the ones on the cover of Scarlet and Violet), even if they’re from opposite versions. You can fight Tera crystals together, which is essentially where you battle a jacked-up Pokémon and receive items and the opportunity to catch it if you win. And finally, there’s nothing better (for me) than travelling Paldea with your friends and having something to bond over.
If it isn’t clear enough, I have absolutely no regrets over buying Pokémon Scarlet. I understand that the price is daunting, but if you’re on the line, then I recommend you buy it. I cashed in my Nectar points and got money off for buying through Argos, one of the partner brands. Alternatively, you could ask it to be a present from your friends and/or family, if you’re in a fortunate enough position for that to be possible. As for which version you go for, there are no differences to the 3 major narratives, though I’d recommend you check out version-specific Pokémon as well as the aesthetics of each world. Whatever you do, I hope that your interest in Pokémon has increased, especially because of how well the franchise has delivered on their promises.