Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet

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Pokémon Violet: The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero – Part 1 (Nintendo Switch) – Review

It’s the best time of the school year – field trip time! So get those permission slips signed and travel to the distant lands of Kitakami to embark on a new adventure in the Pokemon Scarlet/Violet franchise. Pokemon Scarlet/Violet: the Teal Mask DLC is part one of The Hidden Treasures of Area Zero DLC package. The long-awaited content drop for Scarlet/Violet has finally dawned upon us and was released on September 9, 2023, for the Nintendo Switch.

With new Pokemon DLC comes new Pokemon. 200 recycled and new Pokemon have been added to the games, including 4 new legendaries, a new evolution for Applin, and a convergent line for Sinistea. The most fascinating part about the new Pokemon was with Ogerpons masks, each mask changes Ogerpon’s typing and abilities, but furthermore, when terrastilized, instead of a terrastilized crown, the mask takes its place, a nice aesthetic choice if I may add. Hopefully, the developers continue down this path and further alter the terrastilization aesthetics, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Kitakami town is the mainstay for Teal Mask and has heavy inspiration from Japan. This feels kind of odd as Paldea is inspired by Spain. Kitakami hosts a single small isolated village, Mossui town. Mossui town lies at the base of a cavernous mountain, surrounded by forests, rivers, rice paddies, and apple orchards. Once a year, Mossui town hosts a festival of masks to honor the “Loyal Three”, a myth of three deity creatures who forfeit their lives to protect the village and its people.

Festivals are usually fun for all ages, I, however, found the mask festival to miss the mark. Boasting an impressive 6 stalls that all sell food and 1 whole festival game, you heard that right, 1 FESTIVAL GAME, the festival quickly turned into a speed runner’s dream. The developers had already thought of adding mini-games as part of the DLC, but why not expand them and give us 3 or 5? Instead, they left us with one extremely repetitive game called Ogre Ousting.

With Ogre Ousting, the player rides around on their mount popping balloons and depositing the berries from them in the corresponding stalls, all while preventing the greedy Greedunts and Munchlax from stealing your hard-earned berries. A few extra mini-games and some special cosmetic stalls that used currency from the mini-games would have improved the festival tenfold.

I would have hoped that the game had been ironed out by now, but it still suffers from performance and frame rate issues. Clipping and weird textures are abhorrent, and when going full speed on the mount, the underwhelming power of the Switch struggles to output a smooth experience. Most areas in Kitakami suffer from this.

With the huge mountainous areas, you almost have to wait for the game to catch up and everything in the area to load in for it not to feel barren, and most areas feel extremely repetitive and lack any ‘wow’ factor. In saying this, the landmarks and places of interest were stunning, but they also further added to the performance problems.

If Pokemon can do one thing right, it’s audio, and the Teal Mask DLC is no exception. Well-balanced and inspired by Japanese folklore that dynamically changes between areas and battles, boasting the immersion factor.

School trips are fun, however, Pokemon the Teal Mask DLC felt more like a detention. The stories told through legends of the Kitakami folklore and Perrin’s side quest have to be the best part of the DLC, although I had hoped they would have been longer with a little more depth and historical value added in. Other than that, everything else falls exceptionally flat. There is SO much they could have done with what was already part of the DLC but instead glossed over.

Next up for the Scarlet/Violet franchise is the Indigo Disc and I pray to Arceus, the developers, awaken from their fever dream. The Teal Mask falls short in a lot of areas and can be completed in a short amount of time – anywhere between 4-6 hours if you solely focus on the story. The only real thing besides the story that this DLC offers is more Pokemon to shiny hunt.

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The Good

  • Touching DLC Stories
  • New areas and Pokemon to discover
  • Outstanding audio

The Bad

  • Lackluster content
  • Repetitive and boring landscapes
  • A once-and-done DLC
  • Festival felt barren

Written by: Bigfoot


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