The ninth generation of Pokemon kicks off on November 18th when Pokemon Scarlet and Violet launch for the Nintendo Switch. The newest mainline titles offer a lot for both new players and veterans. Take a look at 15 major things you should know before buying.
Previous Pokemon titles present a variety of plot lines, from becoming the Pokemon League Champion to defeating an enemy team or, as in Pokemon Legends Arceus, collecting all Pokemon. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet shake things up a bit. As a student with an independent study project with the “Treasure Hunt” theme, three different stories interweave throughout your journey.
There’s Victory Road, which involves traveling to eight Pokemon Gyms and defeating their leaders before going to the Pokemon League and trying to achieve Champion Rank. Path of Legends is about exploring the region for Herba Mystica, a rare ingredient which is very potent but guarded by powerful Titan Pokemon. Starfall Street is about taking on Team Star, composed of rebellious Academy students, and clearing their bases by defeating bosses.
The player is a student (Florian or Juliana) of Naranja Academy in Scarlet and Uva Academy in Violet, with Professor Sada and Professor Turo advising, respectively. They’ll meet characters like upperclassmen and cook Arven and Penny, who is in the same class as the player. Clavell is the academy director; Nemona is your new rival; and Geeta is the Pokemon League’s chairwoman. You’ll also meet Gym Leaders like Brassius, who uses Grass-type Pokemon, and Grusha, an Ice-type Pokemon user. Team Star also has charismatic figures like Mela, who is exclusive to Scarlet.
Paldea is the setting for Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, seemingly based on the Iberian Peninsula that divides Spain and Portugal along with areas like Andorra, Gibraltar and Southern France. We know about places like Mesagoza, the largest city in the region, which is also home to the Academy, and Artazon where Brassius stays. But looking at the world map, there are several points of interest, from the snowy mountain peak to the massive vortex in the centre, that should make for some exploration.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are open-world games. You can go anywhere and explore each area with complete freedom. Unlike Pokemon Legends: Arceus, the world is seamlessly connected instead of being divided into large, separate zones. It’s an ambitious change, but much like Legends, you’ll seamlessly battle and capture Pokemon with no separate encounter screens.
Koraidon and Miraidon
Getting around Paldea can be tough, and mounts are a necessity. Instead of different Pokemon that fly, swim, and sprint, the new Legendaries – Koraidon in Scarlet and Miraidon in Violet – fulfil these functions. Both can change forms, with Koraidon using Sprinting Mode for quick traversal on land and Swimming and Gliding Modes for swimming and flying, respectively. Miraidon has the same functions, except its Drive Mode is more like a bike on land. Their Types are still unknown, as is their role in the story.
Three new Starter Pokemon are available in both titles – Sprigatito, a Grass-type; Fuecoco, a Fire-type; and Quaxly, a Water-type. Others revealed thus far include Wigglet, a Water-type who – contrary to belief – isn’t a Paldean variant of Diglett; Fidough, a Fairy-type that’s literally a dog made of dough; Girafarig, a Normal/Psychic-type that evolves into Fargiraf; and many more. You also have version-exclusive Pokemon – Larviar, Stonjourner, and Armarouge are only available in Scarlet, while Bagon, Eiscue, and Ceruledge are exclusive to Violet.
Paldean Variants and Returning Pokemon
Paldea has unique variants of familiar Pokemon, like Wooper. A Water/Ground-type Pokemon, it appears as a Poison/Ground-type in Paldea. Further variants have yet to be revealed, but a pretty large number of returning Pokemon are confirmed. These include Arcanine, Chansey, Diglett, Dratini, Dragonair, Eevee, Gardevoir, Lucario, Meowth, Pikachu, Stonjourner, Bagon, and many more. The total number of Pokemon is unknown, but at least 180 have been confirmed till now.
One of the new hooks of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is Terastrallization. It causes Pokemon to take on a shining, crystallized appearance and changes their type to Tera. For example, changing Coalossal into a Water Tera Type not only lets it take less damage from Water attacks, but it can also receive a Speed boost thanks to the Steam Engine ability.
New Moves and Items
Complimenting the new Pokemon and Terastral Pokemon are new moves and items. There’s Cud Chew, which sees a Pokemon eating a berry at the end of the next turn after eating it once, and Armor Tail which prevents enemy Pokemon from using priority moves. You also have Shed Tail, which creates a substitute and swaps with another one of your Pokemon.
Tera Blast is an ability available for Terastrallized Pokemon, which unleashes an attack of the same type as the Terastrallized Pokemon (with damage based on Attack or Special Attack). As for items, there’s Mirror Herb which copies an enemy Pokemon’s stats when used, and Loaded Dice, which increases the chance of multi-strike moves to score more hits.
Let’s Go! and Auto Battles
Let’s Go! Returns, and allows for having a Pokemon out and following you. However, the function is expanded significantly. You can now send this Pokemon out in a specific direction, and it will gather items and engage in Auto Battles with other Pokemon. Not only does this leave you free to do other things, but it can help even the odds when attacking a Team Star base. That Pokemon also gains experience, which helps reduce the grind.
Co-op play was missing in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, and it lacked online battles. In Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, co-op is available for up to four players, who can also explore Paldea via the Union Circle. Online battles also return with the Battle Stadium, and you can Link Trade, Surprise Trade, and Tera Raid Battles.
Tera Raid Battles
The Raid Battles from Pokemon Sword and Shield make a triumphant return and sport some much-needed improvements. Dubbed Tera Raid Battles, since you’ll battle Terastrallized Pokemon, all players can now move simultaneously without waiting for each other’s turns to finish. Players can also Cheer for allies, raising their Attack and Defense stats, and even healing them. Along with using Link Codes with friends, you can also join other Trainers’ Tera Raid Battles through requests.
By defeating wild Pokemon, trading, and playing the story, one earns League Points and Pokemon materials, which can be spent on the new TM Machine. By making TMs, you can teach new moves to your Pokemon. Even though a TM is usable once, you can craft as many of the same kind as you want. The selection of TMs expands with more story progress made.
Fans of Pokemon care can look forward to Picnics in this year’s games. You can set up a Picnic anywhere, modify the design of the tablecloth, cups, and whatnot, and play with each Pokemon. They can also be bathed, which restores their HP and increases their bond. Given the amount of mud, snow and sand they’ll accumulate while exploring and fighting, regular baths are advised for peak performance.
On top of this is Sandwich making, where different condiments and fillings provide different buffs to Pokemon (though you need to be careful when stacking ingredients). Friends can also join your Picnic to liven things up further.
Profile and Camera Apps
The Pokemon franchise is no stranger to camera apps, but Scarlet and Violet up the ante further. The Camera app returns with filters, rotation, various emotes, and more. But players can also use the new Profile app, which displays their achievements, badges, sandwich recipes, and whatnot, along with a profile picture.