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Picture this: It is Christmas 1998. You’re four years old, and you’ve been gifted an atomic purple Game Boy Color along with Pokemon Red Version. You’re already familiar with the franchise thanks to the ever-present anime, but being immersed in this tiny 2D version of the show’s world with its adorable Pokemon sprites was an experience your young mind could never possibly be prepared for.
Now, it is September 2022. Twenty-four years have passed, yet the Pokemon video game series has changed precious little with the exception of a few spinoffs. The majority of the mainline games have maintained the very same isometric perspective and rigid gameplay formula that felt so novel when it was in your four-year-old hands, and it’s all beginning to feel a bit… stale.
But there is hope. The next mainline Pokemon games seem like they will take the fresh new gameplay and huge 3D zones of the most recent spinoff, Pokemon Legends: Arceus. A game that, despite its flaws, was the most exciting Pokemon experience in a long while.
That next duo of mainline Pokemon games is Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, and from everything that has been shown of these games so far, they seem like they might be able to give your now nearly 30-year-old mind the same rush of excitement and adventure that Pokemon Red gave you all those years ago. With the games’ release date quickly approaching, let’s take a look at some of the features the game will bring along with it at launch.
For the First Time, an Entirely Open-World Pokemon Game
Pokemon Legends: Arceus dabbled in large open maps that players could freely explore, but they were presented in a way that was more akin to Monster Hunter than a true open-world game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet will fully deliver the very first open-world Pokemon game in the franchise’s history with their Paldera region. That means there are a ton of areas to explore, no loading screens, and, most importantly, an entirely non-linear experience. That means you can go anywhere, at any time, and tackle gyms in whichever order you like.
More Fun with Friends
The Pokemon series has always had social aspects built into the game, whether it was trading or battling players through some kind of link between your consoles. Now, with a Nintendo Online subscription, up to four players can team up and explore the games’ massive open world and collect Pokemon together!
A concept that seemed impossible just a few years ago is now fully implemented, and it looks like it will be an incredible experience for both veteran Pokemon fans as well as the next generation.
Which Path Will You Choose?
Another first for the Pokemon series will be Scarlet and Violet’s triple-threat approach to their stories. In total, there will be three separate paths for players to follow over the course of their time with the game: the traditional “Victory Road” path, the “Path of Legends”, and the “Starfall Street” path.
Path of Legends will be a less gym-focused experience that will have players hunting down a rare herb in the Paldea region. Sounds easy, right? Well, not when that herb is guarded by a Titan Pokemon that destroys anything that approaches the herb. Similarly, Starfall Street will nix the gyms in exchange for taking down squads of pesky antagonists until you can finally fight their boss.
New Pokemon, New Characters
Every new mainline Pokemon game marks the beginning of a new generation, and Scarlet and Violet’s generation IX will have plenty of awesome new Pokemon for players to get to know. Most notably, you have the three new starters: Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly, which are grass, fire, and water types, in that order. They are joined by new additions including Lechonk (LECHONK!!!!) and Pawmi, along with Pladean variants of beloved Pokemon from previous generations.
You’ll also encounter a slew of new characters, including the professors Sada (Scarlet only) and Turo (Violet only), and your nemesis, Nemona. Other new characters include the new gym leaders of which two have been revealed: Grusha, the ice-type leader, and Brassius, the grass-type leader.
This is just a small taste of what will be available to players when Pokemon Scarlet and Violet hits shelves. Get hype with the latest trailer for the game, which has some awesome gameplay to tide you over till the game’s November 18th release date.