Pokemon Scarlet & Violet’s New DLC Is Too Much Grind, Not Enough Story

0

Highlights

  • The Indigo Disk DLC concludes the character arc for Kieran and offers a more varied area to catch Pokemon.
  • The Elite Four in the DLC has stronger personalities and more shared screen time, making them more interesting than the base game’s Elite Four.
  • The DLC requires players to engage in a long and repetitive grind, and playing online with friends is necessary to access most of the new content.

It’s that time again where I talk about Pokemon, specifically the DLC for Scarlet & Violet. I wasn’t fond of the base game when it released last year, between the terrible framerate and the complete mishmash of an attempted open-world structure. It did manage to redeem itself somewhat with The Teal Mask DLC (even if that too suffered from frame-rate issues).

The Teal Mask was only the first half of the full ‘Hidden Treasure Of Area Zero’ DLC package. The new one is The Indigo Disk, which concludes the character arc for Teal Mask’s Kieran, and gives a much more varied area to run around and catch Pokemon in. This second DLC also continues both The Teal Mask’s tradition of being superior to the main game, and the main game’s tradition of wasting my time.

Related

If You Want Pokemon But Darker And Dirty-Mouthed, Try Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

If you’re feeling too old to catch ’em all, consider some digital detective work.

Fight The Elite Four Then Get Out

Indigo Disk Victory Selfie With Drayton

Spoilers for the game in this section.After The Teal Mask, Kieran becomes champion of the Blueberry Academy, and in true Pokemon fashion this means you gotta go beat him. With Kieran already being a pre-established character, he’s just full-on a more interesting champion than Geeta from the main game was.

The dynamic of the DLC’s Elite Four is far better than the base game’s one. Larry’s a meme due to just being a regular guy, but the Blueberry Elite Four has much stronger personalities and more shared screen time that clues you in on how they are as teammates and people. I could tell I was in good company when Lacey was asked to explain the Academy to me and took no time to complain that this duty is always passed to her; a video game character being allowed to take a jab at how they’ve been programmed, an easy chuckle but still fun.

Drayton steals the show though, being a gadfly that everyone else thinks is a lazy bum, yet warn you that he’s a master manipulator. They’re right, as he sets you down the path to defeating Kieran despite the fact there were rules in place to prevent an exchange student from challenging the Champion. He’s a trickster, but not a monster, as his plan ends up serving the greater good.

Indigo Disk Kieran Holding Terapagos

But he’s so good at manipulation that he ends up making the plot go by pretty fast. Once I was allowed to challenge the Elite Four, I remember thinking “This seems kind of early, shouldn’t I still have more cutscenes or story missions first?” And when I beat Kieran, that same question came right back. We didn’t have time to mull over Kieran’s defeat before the game got tired of itself and demanded that me, Carmine, Kieran, and Professor Briar go into the depths of Area Zero and wake up the legendary Pokemon on the box art already.

The Area Zero stuff just rushed by! Credit that Kieran’s redemption still felt earned, but I can’t say the same for Briar. Girl goes from obsessive creep to “Oh God, what have I done” in about the span it takes to brush your teeth. Nearly all of Briar’s screen time is condensed into the half-hour or so in the finale, and it led me to have no real read on her character. Just a nothing burger meant to give Kieran a reason to go after Terapagos. Wonderful.

Indigo Disk Kieran Face Glowing

Kieran deserved better. They programmed him to react if you send out the Ogerpon he obsessed over in the previous DLC, but they couldn’t give him a conclusion without rushing to the finish line.

Get Some Friends Or Go Kick Rocks

Indigo Disk Wild Chimchar

Aw, look at the Chimchar up there, one of the 24 starter Pokemon you can now catch in the wild of Blueberry Academy’s Terarium, assuming you farm the Blueberry Quests (BBQ) for Blueberry Points (BP). The average BP you’ll earn per BBQ is 20, but don’t worry, you only need 3000 per Biome. So 12,000 BP if you want every wild starter. It was part of my job to farm this BP, and I still felt like my time was being wasted, because it took around an hour or so for every 1000 BP, never getting faster.

It’s a long, long grind, and the only way to offset it is to play online.

Indigo Disk Wild Piplup

If you run around the Terarium with your friends, you can all continuously hand in BBQs. Not only that, but you can also get Group Quests that can give over 400 BP in one go. So yep, you’re screwed unless you have Switch Online and friends who play the game.

Single-player BP earns are busted, broken on purpose, so we’re forced to play online to engage with 80-90 percent of the new content. Wild starters, item creation, gym leader rematches, any legendary besides Terapagos and Meloetta. The last one stings extra, as some legendaries can only be summoned after doing Group Quests, and they can’t even be shiny, so why bother farming for them?!

Indigo Disk Ending Snapshot with Player Carmine and Kieran

I’m happy Kieran got to complete his character arc, even if it was rushed. I’m not at all happy about how much of a grind everything else is. I see people snark that Pokemon isn’t triple-A just yet, but good news everyone, Pokemon’s new DLC feels like an attempt at the live-service model well after that bubble burst. And I can’t think of anything more Triple-A than that.

Related

DualShockers Definitives: 10 Best Family Games Of 2023

DualShockers has voted on the best family games of 2023, here’s what came out on top.

Pokemon Scarlet and the hidden treasure of area zero art

Pokemon Scarlet And Violet: The Hidden Treasure Of Area Zero

Released
February 27, 2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *