Pokemon Gen 10 Can’t Get Here Fast Enough

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet have been a tremendous dissapointment all around and it’s time to move on.

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The ninth generation of Pokemon games is drawing to a close – the final installment of DLC releasing in a few weeks – and the tenth generation can’t get here fast enough, as it needs to make up for the most undercooked and poorly made entries in the series.

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet have sold extremely well, meaning fan consensus holds little value. If a negative response from the press and many fans on social media isn’t enough to slow the Pokemon sales juggernaut, then little will. Word got out early about Pokemon Scarlet & Violet’s issues, yet players still turned up in droves to explore the Paldea region.

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Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Were Total Embarrassments To The Series

Image Via The Pokemon Company

The Nintendo Switch generation of Pokemon games is a mixed bag regarding technical issues. The spin-offs are far more polished than the mainline games, with Pokemon: Let’s Go, Sinnoh remakes, and Pokemon Legends: Arceus feeling more complete than the usual dual-title releases.

Pokemon Sword & Shield had issues, most notably in the Wild Area, but they looked like a new Mario game compared to Pokemon Scarlet & Violet. We don’t need to go over the endless technical and performance issues here, as they’ve been discussed to death, but it’s fair to say that Pokemon Scarlet & Violet should never have been released in their state or even the state they’re currently in.

All would have been forgiven had the games been improved via updates. After all, Cyberpunk 2077 returned from the worst backlash in gaming history, so surely the new Pokemon games could do the same thing? Unfortunately, fixes weren’t in the cards, with the Gen 9 games still troubled by bugs that have been around since launch.

Appearance aside, Pokemon Scarlet & Violet are terrible in other ways. The Terrastilizing mechanic might be the laziest addition to the series to date, with ramifications that are only exciting to die-hard competitive players, to the point where it can be easily ignored during a traditional playthrough.

In terms of setting, the school has little relevance to the player’s journey, save to act as a central location to return for cutscenes. The promised multiple paths through the story are limited by the fact that they’re tied to levels rather than becoming harder/easier based on the player’s progress, which means there isn’t as much choice as players have wanted.

The quality of the story will differ from person to person, but for me, the only interesting one was Arven’s, and that’s because it involved the cheap trick of trying to save a sick animal. The rest of the cast, from the rival to the Champion, were so boring they put me to tears. And without going into spoilers, the game’s final section has a twist so unearned it borders on comedy.

I’ll admit, Larry was pretty cool, but he wasn’t good enough to carry the whole game. I’m also unsure why he had to pull double duty in the Elite Four.

The Teal Mask Was Garbage

The Nintendo Switch generation has allowed The Pokemon Company to include DLC in the Pokemon games. Unfortunately, it’s rarely the kind that fans want. We didn’t get a Johto expansion for the Let’s Go games, a Platinum run for the Sinnoh remakes, or any post-launch content for Pokemon Legends: Arceus.

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet offers two expansions that add new areas and battles. As of the time of writing, The Teal Mask is the only expansion released for Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, and it’s garbage. It consists of one bland new area that feels like it was pieced together from bits of Paldea, adds maybe the worst new characters in years (Carmine and Kieran), and barely adds any content to the game, save for returning Pokemon from older games.

What’s worse is that The Teal Mask only adds a few new hours of story content and some new Legendary Pokemon. We didn’t even get the Diglett hunting game from the Pokemon Sword & Shield DLC, which helped pad out the runtime of that additional content. The Kitakami region just feels like a pointless addition to an already underwhelming game.

The Indigo Disk Doesn’t Look Like It Will Save The Gen

Pokemon-Indigo-Disk-DLC-Artwork
Image Via The Pokemon Company

The previews are out for the upcoming The Indigo Disk DLC, with journalists praising the game’s difficult battles and new biomes. But the performance issues remain, suggesting they will go unfixed for the remainder of the generation.

Unfortunately, The Indigo Disk seems to be more of the same: another Wild Area equivalent with some high-level battles thrown in. The people who love competitive battles might find enjoyment here, but they have an entire online scene to engage with whenever they want. Is it really worth paying for The Indigo Disk when you have to slog through the base game + The Teal Mask just to access content that should have been in the base game to begin with?

New Hardware Might Be What’s Needed To Make Game Freak’s Ambitions Come To Life

Image via Pokémon Company

We finally get to Gen 10 and what it can bring to the series. One of the biggest hurdles for the previous two generations of Pokemon games was hardware, as Game Freak struggled to bring bigger Pokemon worlds to a home console.

The Nintendo Switch is capable of some gorgeous titles, with many people pointing to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and its sequel as some of the most gorgeous titles on the system, but there are caveats to those titles. The Pokemon franchise has a much more rigid release schedule, with the games connected to multimedia elements, like the anime and the card game, so delaying a title for quality concerns would cause a massive ripple effect.

The inevitable successor to the Nintendo Switch might be able to do much of the heavy lifting that Pokemon games need to pull off an open-world experience. Pokemon Legends: Arceus could do a decent job with the tools available, but if Game Freak wants a setting with big cities and a massive field of view, a new system might be needed.

Whatever the case, fans are likely stuck with Gen 9 for the next few years. At this point, the best hope for the Paldea region is an updated rerelease on the Switch’s successor, which can help remove the dark stain on the franchise.

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The Pokemon fans of the world aren’t going anywhere, but you can only lose so much goodwill before they decide to spend their limited cash and time elsewhere. Gen 10 needs to win back the audience that had their immersion shattered by the broken Paldea region, and all it needs to do is produce some competent video games.