The Pokemon games have been evolving with every generation, but none seem to have the number of redesigns and overhauls as the upcoming entries. Initiating the ninth gen of monster-catching goodness, Pokemon Scarlet & Violet are the biggest games in the iconic gaming franchise to date.
In anticipation of its launch next month, previews for the game have now gone live. This has revealed a bunch of new details that the community has been keeping tabs on. Here are some of the most interesting ones.
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet look to be the best games in the series with quality-of-life improvements and interesting mechanics
1) In-depth character customization
Character customization has been a key aspect of personalizing your journey to becoming a talented trainer since X & Y. With Scarlet & Violet, the possibilities are more diverse than before. Even minute details, like eyelash type and lip color, can be altered according to the player's preference.
Additionally, players will be able to use the in-depth character creator early on in the game. Fans can expect to spend some time creating the perfect character or self-inserting into the game.
2) Overhauled wild Pokemon AI
Immersion is key to any open-world experience, and with Scarlet & Violet opting for the same, the games will have to introduce some significant changes to the usual formula. Thankfully, both games seem to have done so successfully. One major feature is how the wild Pokemon AI behaves and reacts to the player.
Encountered creatures can have different temperaments. Some will be unfazed by the trainer approaching them, others may be cautious and run away, and a few may even proceed to attack on sight. When players are battling out in the open, these wild critters may also stick around to witness the battle taking place in real-time. This is a small touch that should make Paldea more lively than any previous region.
3) Gym challenges are varied
We know at this point that Gyms are back, but they will now each have unique quirks to set them apart, and they won't be limited to puzzles. A Grass-type Gym has been showcased in which players will have to participate in a game of hide & seek as they attempt to hunt down a number of Sunflora. Other gyms can be expected to have interesting mechanics as well, keeping the experience fresh.
4) Challenge could be back on the menu
Recent games in the franchise have received criticism for being too easy. With Scarlet & Violet, developer Game Freak has ample opportunity to change this. We already know that Titan Pokemon (humungous variants of some critters encountered during one of the three main storylines) will have massive health pools.
To add to that, the Team Star base infiltration will be on a timer, and players must quickly beat the designated number of monsters to proceed. To do so, they will have to rely on the Let's Go battle mechanic where their party members will auto battle in real-time, piling on the pressure with onscreen chaos.
5) Gaining experience
With a brand new generation, gaining experience to level up Pokemon has been tweaked as well. For one, Let's Go auto-battles will reward less XP than normal battles. Additionally, Experience Candies are back from Sword & Shield. These grant a set number of XP points depending on the type of candy fed to a critter.
When a Pokemon gains enough experience, they level up and may evolve. Gaining multiple levels at once will only play a single animation instead of one for each.
6) Improved movement options
Ridable Pokemon are back in the form of legendaries Koraidon and Miraidon (for Scarlet and Violet, respectively). This allows not just traveling across the vast landscape at high speeds but also scaling cliffs, soaring through skies, and gliding across the water surface.
Player movement has also been revamped. Although the dodge roll is no longer here, players can still run, crouch/stealth, and even slide. This is great for getting the jump on enemies or avoiding enemy sight.
7) Seamless open-world
The region of Paldea is theoretically fully explorable right from the get-go, especially thanks to its legendary monster's movesets. On top of that, players will not encounter any loading screens while out in the wild.
There is only one transition which relates to the main central city hub. But otherwise, it seems like the game will live up to its promise of having no boundaries between human settlements and wild areas.
8) The sandwich minigame is physics driven
One of the new additions to the latest installment is a sandwich-making minigame that can grant bonuses to the party. It is accessible via the Picnic mode, in which players can kick back, relax, and play with the Pokemon in their party.
As shown in previous trailers, the sandwich-making game seems pretty interesting as well. It provides players with a variety of options to use for the filling, like lettuce, tomato, pickle, ham, and so on. The mode is also physics-driven, so players will have to be careful when piling up food or else the sandwich may topple.
9) Players won't be harassed by NPC trainers
In an interesting change of design, the line of sight mechanic that allowed NPC trainers to force players into battle has been scrapped. Instead, any characters interested in battling will toss a glowing Pokeball in their hand, indicating that they are available for battle. This allows players to explore freely without interruptions, and they can pick fights at their own pace.
10) Various quality-of-life improvements
As expected, there are many welcome changes here, including some surprising ones. They are:
- Changing Pokemon nicknames from the menu itself.
- Option to auto-heal Pokemon using items after battle.
- PC is accessible from the bag, allowing players to swap out their party at any point.
- Battles can be started by throwing a Pokeball in the presence of a wild Pokemon.
There's likely more that will be revealed as the game nears release. Pokemon Scarlet & Violet will arrive on Nintendo Switch on November 18, 2022.