The Pokémon games evolve at a leisurely pace. This can be frustrating for fans looking for the latest and greatest but does make it easier to chart how the games progress over time. Take the series’ relatively recent fixation with offering players an open world. It started small, with Pokémon Sword and Shield adding a wild area in 2019 that let players freely explore. At the beginning of this year came Legends: Arceus, a spinoff that divided its world into huge chunks full of wildlife and secrets. And now, we have Violet and Scarlet, the first truly open-world games in the franchise’s history. They’re the biggest, most varied Pokémon games to date.

That scale comes at a cost, however, as the Nintendo Switch often struggles to keep up with the games. But even though this milestone for the series feels hobbled at times, that never really kills the thrill of adventure. I don’t know what the future holds, but at present, the Pokémon series is in a great place.

The games take place in the new Paldea region, a place with a mix of Spanish and Portuguese influences, and centers on a local academy for budding pokémon trainers. It’s basically the magical school trope but for Pokémon — and it works very well. You play as a recent transfer student, and after a few weeks of classes (which you thankfully don’t actually have to sit through), you’re sent off on an independent project with the theme of “treasure hunt.” In reality, though, you’re just let loose in the world to do pretty much whatever you want.

Not only does this setup make more narrative sense than in past Pokémon games (sending kids out for a giant adventure with little to no training seems barbaric in retrospect) but it also allows the game to be much less rigid. Violet and Scarlet essentially have three different narrative threads, each with associated quests, and while you need to complete them all to finish the game, you can tackle them in almost whatever order you want.

The first thread will be instantly familiar to longtime fans: you have to travel the world to beat eight gym leaders, collect their badges, and then move on to the Pokémon League to become champion. But the others are quite different. One has you searching out mythical “titans” across the land in the name of research, while the other has you essentially raiding the basecamps of a group that seems to be behind some bullying problems at the school. Each has its own storyline, and while they start out very simple, they get surprisingly compelling — and weird. By the time you reach the climactic final boss, the game becomes delightfully strange.

Violet and Scarlet are also frequently very funny. One of the gym bosses is a like-obsessed streamer, while another is a dejected salaryman. At one point, a professor asks you the definition of cheugy. Later on, there’s a rap battle with lyrics that put Weird Al to…

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Summing up the new Pokémon game always means triggering a conflict between heart and head. By heart, among other things, Scarlet and Violet have plenty to sell. Although very diluted and with a very staid pace, the plot entertains and surprises especially at the end, and the many supporting actors of this new epic are among the funniest and most intriguing of the entire franchise. Overall, Game Freak packs a fun and content-rich adventure, despite some of the new features not fully convincing. The open world works but at the same time is limited by a great underlying repetitiveness, while some of the most interesting achievements achieved by the spin-off on Arceus have been revised and adapted – not always positively – for the new formula. Unfortunately, to weigh on the final judgment are the many technical problems on which it is now really impossible to postpone. In the hope that the development team, sooner or later, will be able to align their productions with current generational standards, we can still assert that the new pair of Pokémon games is interesting.

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12/02/22

New to Pokémon? Here are five helpful tips and tricks!

Whether you’re new to the series or a longtime player, these tips and tricks can help you make the most of the Pokémon™ Scarlet and Pokémon™ Violet games, available now only for the Nintendo Switch™ family of systems. Here are five fun and exciting …

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Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Remove Long-Standing Female Empowerment Feature for No Reason

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s character customization becomes more inclusive and filled with options, but a 9-year-old feature is cut for no reason.

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet: The 7 Best Items For Sweepers

Held items are of great importance when it comes to competitive Pokemon, as they provide boosts or abilities that can really turn the tide in battle.

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet: How to Catch All Titan Pokemon

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet trainers can get revenge and capture the Titan Pokemon after defeating them; here’s where to find them.

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet: The 7 Best Items For Pivots

Much like pivot Pokemon, items can make a big difference in competitive battles, so understanding the best held items for pivots is very important.

Pokemon Scarlet’s Roaring Moon is OP Compared to Other Paradox Pokemon

The fearsome Roaring Moon of Pokemon Scarlet makes its case as one of the strongest Paradox Pokemon among all of the new forms introduced.

The Story Differences Between Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Explained

While past Pokemon versions had some differences like which villain or legendary is fought, the choice of Scarlet or Violet carries narrative weight.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s Open World Isn’t As Free As It Initially Appears

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet promise a lot of freedom, but there are a few factors that restrict just how free players are when tackling quests.

How Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s Cyclizar Could Find Uses in Competitive

One of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s newest Pocket Monsters, Cyclizar, has the potential to be one of the meta-defining creatures in Generation 9.

Pokemon Fan Art Combines Scarlet and Violet’s Gimmighoul With Ben 10

A talented Pokemon Scarlet and Violet player makes fantastic fan art combining Gimmighoul with Grey Matter…

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A Bold New Direction. The Pokémon Legends: Arceus game honors past Pokémon games’ core gameplay while infusing new action and RPG elements. You’ll need to catch, survey, and research wild Pokémon in a long-gone era of the Sinnoh region to create and complete the region’s first Pokédex.
-Catch Pokémon-
To catch Pokémon in the Pokémon Legends: Arceus game, you can observe them to learn their behavior, then carefully sneak up, aim your Poké Ball, and let fly!

You can also have your ally Pokémon battle wild Pokémon that you hope to catch. Just throw the Poké Ball holding your ally Pokémon near a wild Pokémon, and you’ll seamlessly enter battle and command your Pokémon by choosing from moves it knows.

-An Adventure in the Sinnoh of Days Gone By-
You’ll be brought to the Sinnoh region, the setting for the Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl games. But this story unfolds in a long-gone era, before ideas such as being a Pokémon Trainer or having a Pokémon League even existed.

All around, you’ll find Pokémon living wild in harsh environments that make for a Sinnoh unlike the region you may remember from the days of the Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl games.

The Poké Balls of old were apparently built a little differently from the ones we know so well. They were made mostly of wood, and steam puffed from their tops when Pokémon were caught.
-Meet Your First Partner Pokémon-
As you start off on your adventure to create the region’s first Pokédex, you’ll be able to choose Rowlet, Cyndaquil, or Oshawott as a partner.

These three Pokémon arrived with a Pokémon Professor, who encountered them on research excursions to various regions.
Rowlet
Category: Grass Quill Pokémon
Type: Grass/Flying
Height: 1′
Weight: 3.3 lbs.

Rowlet is a Pokémon from the Alola region. It uses photosynthesis to store up energy during the day, while becoming active at night. Silently it glides, drawing near its targets. Before they even notice it, it begins to pelt them with vicious kicks.

Cyndaquil
Category: Fire Mouse Pokémon
Type: Fire
Height: 1’8″
Weight: 17.4 lbs.

Cyndaquil is a Pokémon from the Johto region. It is timid and always curls itself up in a ball. When it’s surprised, the flames on its back flare up stronger. When it is attacked, it uses its flames to protect itself.

Oshawott
Category: Sea Otter Pokémon
Type: Water
Height: 1’8″
Weight: 13 lbs.

Oshawott is a Pokémon from the Unova region. With the scalchop on its stomach, it blocks opponents’ attacks, then retaliates immediately by slashing. Its scalchop can be used to break open hard Berries as well.

Arceus
Holding the key to this tale is the Pokémon known as Arceus. Arceus is said to have shaped all there is in this world. Just how is this mighty Pokémon connected to your journey?

Category: Alpha Pokémon
Type: Normal
Height: 10’6″…

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Halloween is just around the corner, and Pokemon Go is celebrating with its annual Halloween event. Like last year, the festivities will be divided up into two parts, the first of which kicks off this week and introduces several new Pokemon to catch.

The first part of the event runs from Oct. 20 to Oct. 27. During that time, Mega Banette will make its debut in Mega raids. Each time you defeat the Pokemon, you’ll earn energy to Mega Evolve your own Banette. 

On top of that, two new shiny Pokemon will be available for the first time: shiny Galarian Yamask and shiny Noibat. The former will appear in one-star raids, while the latter may hatch from 7 km eggs. Giratina will also return to raids for the event, and each one you catch will know the Charged Attack Shadow Force.

In addition to the featured Pokemon, a variety of in-game bonuses will be available throughout the event. You’ll earn double candy for catching, hatching and transferring Pokemon. PokeStops and gyms will also be decked out for Halloween, and a remix of the Lavender Town theme will play at night. 

In the meantime, Pokemon Go’s Festival of Lights event is underway until Oct. 17, while Xerneas is back in five-star raids. You can see everything else happening in the game this month in our October events roundup.

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Now that Ash — not me, though I understand your confusion — has finally, after 25 years of not aging, become the Pokémon Champion, it seems like the animated series is saying goodbye to the very best. Nestled in the announcement that there’s a new Pokémon animated series on the horizon was the tidbit that after the end of the current series — Pokémon Ultimate Journeys — will be special episodes paying tribute to Ash’s many achievements.

“To conclude Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series, fans can enjoy a collection of special episodes commemorating Ash and his Pikachu’s 25-season journey to becoming Pokémon World Champion,” the press release reads. “The episodes offer a glimpse at what the future may hold for the world’s strongest trainer in this final chapter for Ash and his Pikachu.”

Seems like, after all that, the journey that began in Pallet Town and went everywhere from Johto, Sinnoh, Alola, and beyond is finally over. It’s a good thing for Ash, too — best to bow out at the top, right?

Even though Ash’s journey appears to be over, the Pokémon series will continue with new protagonists in 2023. Liko and Roy, the new stars, will begin their journey to be the best with the help of the starter pocket monsters from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. The show will also take place in the Paldea region so expect ‘mon like Fidough and Lechonk to show up as a part of a complete pokémon breakfast.

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