Pokémon games on the Switch need to break a new pattern with the 10th generation
The Scarlet and Violet DLC for Pokémon does not include enough new Pokémon, giving the impression that the expansions prioritize old Pokémon over new...
The Scarlet and Violet DLC for Pokémon does not include enough new Pokémon, giving the impression that the expansions prioritize old Pokémon over new additions.
Technical issues in Scarlet and Violet have impacted gameplay and may be attributed to limitations of the game engine.
The DLC of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet has received average reviews, indicating that Game Freak should improve future DLC models and prioritize the introduction of new Pokémon.
The main series of Pokémon games has long been a staple for Nintendo fans. Now, in its ninth generation, the latest installment of Pokémon RPGs - Scarlet and Violet - has demonstrated that the series remains a formidable force and is as popular as ever.
However, if one believes the recent Pokedex leaks regarding the Scarlet and Violet DLCs, a slightly concerning pattern begins to emerge, following the previous games and their expansions. This pattern started with "The Isle of Armor" and "The Crown Tundra" in "Sword and Shield".
Not Enough New Pokemon in DLC
Looking at the number of new Pokémon added in the DLCs of each game, the count of new creatures ranges from around 10 to 15, including regional variants of existing Pokémon. While it's evident that considerable effort has been put into designing new Pokémon like Polteageist, the abundance of returning Pokémon can make the expansions feel hollow. They increasingly feel like a means to make old Pokémon available rather than genuine expansions of the Pokédex.
The datamines of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet may not provide a complete picture, but the logic behind them is simple. Players of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are spending roughly half of what they paid for the base game and discovering only a handful of new creatures. There are limits to what can be expected from expansions of existing games. The lowest number of new Pokémon introduced by a main game was 72 in Pokémon X and Y. Expecting such a quantity from an expansion would be unrealistic, but the expansions would feel like genuine expansions if they introduced around 20-30 new monsters throughout the DLC.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet's Technical Issues
One must acknowledge the level of detail and richness in the story elements of the new expansion regions so far, and the Pokémon expansions have been mostly acceptable additions. However, it appears very strongly that Game Freak is plagued by technical issues in Scarlet and Violet. While the exact details regarding potential shortcomings of the game engine and whether this affects the amount of new content remain privileged information, the performance issues reported by players in Scarlet and Violet speak for themselves.
Hopefully, the transition between the current Switch and the rumored new console, which is said to be released in 2024, will go much smoother for Game Freak than the switch from the 3DS to the Switch. It's possible that the next main Pokémon game will be released on the newer and more powerful successor to the Nintendo Switch. This could give Game Freak enough room to develop significantly more detailed and creative expansions in the future.
Future Pokemon Games And Expansions Can Be Better
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet have the unfortunate distinction of being the lowest-rated main Pokémon games in recent history. They have respective Metacritic scores of 72 and 71. This doesn't mean that they are bad games; the aggregated rating is simply a useful tool to gauge the performance of the Pokémon series over time. However, The Teal Mask also doesn't achieve impressive Metacritic scores, indicating that Game Freak needs to improve its DLC model in the future.
The greatest appeal of Pokémon has always been the Pokémon themselves. When you only find a handful of new regional Pokémon among hundreds of already known Pokémon, the expansions can feel particularly diluted. Hopefully, Game Freak will address this issue in future Pokémon titles and create future expansions deserving of greater recognition by introducing a colorful array of new Pokémon.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are available for Nintendo Switch. The DLC "The Teal Mask" is also now available.