Editor’s Word: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s enlargement is available in two elements and cannot be bought individually. Due to this, we have determined to share our impressions of Half One and can replace it with a full evaluation of The Hidden Treasure of Space Zero when each elements can be found. The rating connected to this evaluation is topic to alter based mostly on this.
The fan reception to Scarlet and Violet’s launch different wildly throughout the group. Each Pokemon fan appears to know what’s greatest for the sequence, and so they have been completely satisfied to share their opinions on Scarlet and Violet with anybody who would pay attention. Some followers decried the bugs, the struggling body price, and different technical issues, whereas others appreciated the brand new mechanics, open world, and story sufficient to make peace with these points. Whichever aspect you fell on, the group was break up as at all times.
Nonetheless, the additional we get away from launch, the extra the group cools off. And those that’ve caught round for the long-term, particularly aggressive gamers, have dug their claws deep into the meta. That is the place Pokemon is at its greatest, and The Teal Masks bolsters that aspect of the sequence by new and returning Pokemon, extra TMs and strikes, and a few welcome quality-of-life modifications. That is all wrapped up in a wealthy new area with a heartfelt story. Whereas The Teal Masks does not do a lot to handle Scarlet and Violet’s poor technical efficiency, its modifications and additions supply an thrilling first half in a bigger enlargement.
The Teal Masks is billed as a category area journey. A handful of scholars are randomly chosen to review overseas in a brand new rural Japan-inspired area referred to as Kitakami. Your character is among the many fortunate few, and also you’re whisked away to the countryside. It is a punchy introduction that will get you to the brand new space rapidly and has you catching new and returning Pokemon immediately.
Whereas Kitakami shares a variety of geographical options with Paldea–rolling inexperienced hills, serene lakes adorned with waterfalls, and a rugged mountain mounted within the middle of the map–what units it aside is its wealthy tradition. The parents who name Kitakami house have a deep reverence for the Loyal Three, a trio of legendary Pokemon much like the legendary birds or canine from earlier generations. Because the story goes, the Loyal Three protected the townsfolk from a fearsome ogre. As a pupil, your task is to discover the Kitakami area and piece collectively the story of the Loyal Three and the Ogre. It is a easy setup, nevertheless it’s an efficient strategy to familiarize your self with the area, its historical past, and the characters.
The center and soul of The Teal Masks are two of its new characters: Carmine and Keiran. These siblings have been born and raised in Kitakami and attend Blueberry Academy (which will likely be featured extra prominently within the second DLC, The Indigo Disk). As you discover the area, they’re going to colour your discoveries with private expertise and native perception. Shortly, you be taught that Keiran appears like an outsider and Carmine is aggressive to a fault. The story offers a superb backdrop for each of those characters, notably Keiran, as his wrestle with acceptance mirrors the plight of the Loyal Three and the Ogre. The story builds to a satisfying conclusion that neatly ties issues up within the Kitakami area, whereas additionally sowing the seeds for the second enlargement.
It is a touching story that recurrently took me without warning. Whereas Scarlet and Violet’s story had some thrilling revelations up its sleeve, mainline Pokemon video games are sometimes shackled to a handful of recurring tropes: the fitness center problem, an evil or misunderstood faction, and a rival. With The Teal Masks, it is refreshing to play a semi-self-contained and condensed story that sheds a variety of these tropes with a purpose to shine a brighter mild on its characters. It takes roughly 4 to 5 hours to get by, however altogether it took me round 12 hours when factoring in finishing the Kitakami Pokedex.
As soon as you’ve got wrapped up the story, there are nonetheless causes to discover Kitakami, together with a handful of secrets and techniques and a strong new Pokemon to catch. However pretty much as good as its narrative chops are, the most important draw is the brand new and returning Pokemon. Dipplin, Sinistcha, and the Loyal Three are inventive additions that match thematically throughout the area and its tradition. In the meantime, fan favorites like Milotic, Chandelure, and Gliscor are welcome inclusions to Scarlet and Violet’s Pokedex.
It is laborious to say which Pokemon will shake up the aggressive scene, however there are a couple of new and returning strikes that would definitely make waves, resembling Grassy Glide, Syrup Bomb, and Matcha Gotcha. The added TMs might additionally make sure Pokemon viable as soon as once more. As an example, Scald and Poisonous have been pretty frequent on aggressive groups of previous generations however have been lacking from Scarlet and Violet at launch. On the very least, EV boosting and resetting gadgets are much more plentiful in Kitakami because of the Ogre Oustin’ minigame. This makes it a lot simpler for rivals to coach up these new and returning Pokemon and put them to the take a look at.
Nonetheless, the one actual take a look at Scarlet and Violet affords are a couple of difficult coach battles, none of which encompass double battles. With out a Battle Tower or one thing related, this implies the one strategy to put these new and returning Pokemon by the paces is by going surfing. On-line performance is first rate, nevertheless it does not at all times present the perfect house to check out totally different methods and builds. Primarily based on what we all know concerning the second enlargement, it seems like one thing much like the Battle Tower might return, however for now, The Scarlet and Violet nonetheless really feel like they’re lacking a core element of the endgame expertise.
The Teal Masks’s most obvious flaw is similar one which finally held again Scarlet and Violet. The efficiency and graphical high quality are tough. The brand new area is stricken by low body charges, poor-looking textures, and visible bugs. For those who have been hoping that replace 2.0.1 may patch these points, you are out of luck. There are some minor fixes, resembling smoother Pokemon Field navigation, nevertheless it’s laborious to understand given how subpar the sport stays from a technical standpoint.
Nailing down my emotions on Pokemon Scarlet and Violet this previous 12 months has been troublesome. In my review of the bottom sport, I mentioned it was one in every of “the perfect mainline Pokemon video games in years,” and 350 hours later, I nonetheless stand by that. Terastallization is the perfect battle gimmick the sequence has launched up to now, the open-world design matches properly into the sequence’ themes of exploration and discovery, and the aggressive scene has been a thrill to observe and take part in. Nonetheless, Scarlet and Violet’s triumphant highs are nonetheless obscured by technical points, and the identical could be mentioned for The Teal Masks. Scarlet and Violet’s core points nonetheless persist, however there’s loads to chew on right here, each for hardcore aggressive gamers and followers who need to see extra of the Pokemon world.