After a long wait, fans are just a month away from the release of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. The latest Scarlet and Violet trailer finally gave gamers an extended look at what awaits them in the Paldea region. The 15-minute showcase featured new Pokemon, features, settings, and another extended look at the region’s Terastallization ability.


For all of its well-deserved praise, the Pokemon franchise’s recent games have been divisive among fans. As one of the best-selling games of all time, Game Freak never has to worry about fans showing up on release day. However, it seems that the recent games have favored battle gimmicks over telling a good story set within the Pokemon universe.

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RELATED: Farigiraf’s New Abilities Are a Game-Changer for Pokemon Scarlet and Violet


History of Pokemon’s Battle Gimmicks

Game Freak has added new battle features in each Pokemon generation, but the newer ones have been one-offs that were abandoned in the next entry. The earliest ditched gimmick was Pokemon Black and White’s triple battles. While they added a new dynamic to the typical battle grind, they were left behind in the next generation.

Pokemon X and Y introduced Mega Evolution. With a Key Stone and your Pokemon’s Mega Stone, players could Mega Evolve one monster per battle, seeing them grow in both size and power. Mega Evolutions gave Game Freak the chance to put a fresh design on existing Pokemon, and could seriously swing battles in an instant. This gimmick also carried over into Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, adding a twist to their original entries.

After Mega Evolution came Z-Moves. The concept was similar to Mega Evolution but lowered the overall power of the gimmick after fans complained about the outsized impact of Mega Pokemon. Rather than enhancing one monster for the duration of a battle, Z-Moves were powerful attacks that Pokemon in Sun and Moon could use if they were holding the correct Z-Crystal.

The latest gimmick was Pokemon Sword and Shield’s Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing. This new feature allowed players to use a Dynamax band to increase their monsters’ size and HP while changing some of their moves. Additionally, certain Pokemon had the ability to Gigantamax, which also gave the monsters a new design and an ultra-powerful G-Max move.

A Greater Narrative Focus

When Pokemon Scarlet and Violet debut next month, there will be a new battle gimmick right alongside with it. The promotional materials for the new games have heavily featured Terastallization. This new ability gives Pokemon a shiny, crystallized exterior along with a new Terastal type. While the monsters are in this form, they take on all the statistical advantages and disadvantages of their new type. It hasn’t been confirmed whether Dynamaxing or Mega Evolutions will appear in Scarlet and Violet, but with the prevalence of Terastallization, they seem unlikely to return.

While the new abilities give a fun dynamic to battle and will make the competitive Pokemon scene even more interesting, it seems that Game Freak has put more effort into battle gimmicks than the actual story of the game. Sword and Shield in particular saw very few new narrative elements in the game, favoring instead retreading old plot points while focusing on the Dynamax ability rather than Mega Evolution. These games also introduced the Wild Zone, an open-world area within the game that allowed players to battle Dynamaxed Raid Pokemon. While the Wild Area was a welcome surprise for fans, it ultimately didn’t contribute anything to the narrative.

The Pokemon franchise doesn’t need to completely abandon new battle features. When done right, they can greatly enhance the fights along with the narrative itself. However, Game Freak needs to make sure that it is putting the same time and effort into crafting a new Pokemon story that can compete with the original ideas of the early generations.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet will release on November 18, 2022, for the Nintendo Switch.

MORE: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet: How Wiglett and Farigiraf Lend Credibility to the Leaks



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