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Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: A Tale of Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, the latest installment in the beloved franchise, have been met with mostly positive reception for their DLC expansions, Th...

Ben Brosofsky

Jan 29, 2024

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: A Tale of Two Steps Forward, One Step Back


Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, the latest installment in the beloved franchise, have been met with mostly positive reception for their DLC expansions, The Teal Mask and The Indigo Disk. However, despite the innovative approach of releasing DLC expansions instead of a third version, the games still suffer from a familiar issue: the loss of beloved features from previous generations. In this humorous and witty article, we delve into the missing elements and the whimsical world of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, painting a vivid picture of the game's untold adventures.

Amidst the troubled launch and the occasional technical hiccups, the ninth generation of Pokémon received ample post-launch support. Scarlet and Violet even received a post-game epilogue for the adventurous souls who dared to dive into the DLCs. However, as is often the case with these games, it felt like the franchise was playing a game of hide-and-seek with its own features, leaving them behind as it sprinted towards new horizons.

The DLCs for Scarlet and Violet introduced plenty of fresh content, from new areas teeming with Pokémon to engaging activities like The Indigo Disk's Blueberry Quests. Yet, amidst this abundance, there was a conspicuous absence—a void that mirrored the grandeur of Dynamax Adventures, the crown jewel of Sword and Shield's Crown Tundra DLC.

Ah, Dynamax Adventures, those captivating expeditions into the unknown! They allowed trainers to team up and tackle a series of Max Raid battles against random Pokémon, including rare additions from past generations. The journey would culminate in a battle against a Legendary Pokémon, adding a pinch of spice to the mix. Sure, the rental Pokémon sometimes had questionable movesets, but it was all part of the adventure. Swapping them out for defeated foes added a dash of adaptability, turning the experience into a rewarding endgame quest.

Now, let's take a peek into The Indigo Disk's equivalent activity: Blueberry Quests. These quests granted access to past-generation Legendaries, but they felt more like tasks from a battle pass than a dedicated game mode. Trainers were tasked with catching specific types of Pokémon or making peculiar sandwiches. Multiplayer functionality was present, but it lacked the thrill and camaraderie of actual players, reducing the experience to a mere BP optimization session. Oh, what a difference it would have made to have fellow trainers by our side!

Scarlet and Violet already boasted Terastalize battles, an evolution of Sword and Shield's Max Raid Battles. These battles played out quite similarly, with only slight differences in mechanics. Terastalize introduced the Terastalize mechanic, a quirky twist on Dynamaxing, and bid farewell to the rigid turn order of Tera Raids. But alas, the DLCs failed to deliver an equivalent "Terastalize Adventure" mode, leaving trainers to catch Legendary Pokémon through BBQs and consultations with an NPC named Snacksworth.

Yes, you heard it right—catching Legendary Pokémon involved BBQs and a chit-chat with Snacksworth, who would then unveil a random Legendary and drop hints about its whereabouts. While this made clever use of Paldea's open-world map, it paled in comparison to the thrill of Crown Tundra's Dynamax Adventures.

The loss of Dynamax Adventures, and other remarkable game modes like it, is nothing new in the Pokémon universe. The series has a knack for bidding farewell to mechanics from previous generations, sometimes replacing them with lesser variations. Remember Mega Evolution? Introduced in X and Y, it was the star gimmick of the sixth generation, delighting trainers by granting older Pokémon new forms. But by the time Sword and Shield arrived, Mega Evolutions vanished, seemingly replaced first by Dynamaxing and then by Terastalization.

The series has a habit of discarding other beloved mechanics too. The Battle Frontiers of the past, the Horde Encounters from the sixth generation, and even smaller features like Sinnoh's Pokétch— all swept away like fallen leaves, making room for new, sometimes shallower replacements. The Battle Chateau of X and Y comes to mind, a feature that lacked the depth of its predecessors but was still somehow deemed worthy.

Of course, there are reasons for certain features not to return. Each Pokémon region has its own distinct identity, and the varying mechanics help enhance that uniqueness. Z-Moves, for instance, felt like a signature Alolan experience. Furthermore, combining too many mechanics in a single game,especially in a franchise as vast as Pokémon, can become overwhelming for both newcomers and long-time fans. Streamlining and refining the gameplay experience is essential for maintaining a balance between innovation and accessibility.

Nevertheless, it's hard not to feel a pang of nostalgia for those lost features. They added depth, variety, and a sense of continuity to the Pokémon world. Each generation brought its own flavor, building upon the foundation of its predecessors. But as the series evolves, some of those flavors get left behind, fading into the annals of Pokémon history.

Despite these setbacks, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet still manage to capture the essence of the franchise that has captivated millions. The games offer a vast world to explore, a diverse cast of Pokémon to befriend, and a story that intertwines friendship, self-discovery, and the eternal quest for becoming a Pokémon Champion. The DLCs expand upon this foundation, providing additional hours of gameplay and opportunities to catch elusive creatures.

In the end, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet may stumble upon a few potholes, leaving us to take one step back, but they also take two steps forward by introducing new adventures and fresh experiences. It's the ever-evolving nature of the Pokémon world, where change is both inevitable and necessary. So, as trainers, let us cherish the memories of those lost features while eagerly embracing the future that lies ahead.

As we bid farewell to Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, we eagerly await the next installment, wondering what surprises and tribulations the Pokémon universe will have in store for us. Will it be a giant leap forward or another dance of two steps forward, one step back? Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain—the world of Pokémon will continue to enchant and captivate us, no matter the path it takes.

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