Pokemon Scarlet and Violet: 11 Tips for Becoming an Open-World Pokemon Master5 min read
It happened. It finally happened. Game Freak, the longtime Pokemon game developer, released an open-world Pokemon game. After experimenting with open zones in previous Pokemon titles on the Nintendo Switch, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet let trainers go wherever they want and do whatever they want, catching plenty of Pokemon along the way. It isn’t perfect, especially when it comes to technical performance, but it’s the future we want for the series.
This new format doesn’t mean all of your old Pokemon knowledge is totally irrelevant, though. When you take on the Ice-type gym leader, for example, it’s still a smart idea to bring out your Fire-type monsters. However, the Paldea region demands you alter your approach if you want to become a next-generation Pokemon master. Wherever your journey takes you, these tips and tricks will help you succeed.
1. Go Wherever You Want
In case you forgot, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are open-world games. The characters constantly remind you to go wherever you want, and that you can complete tasks in any order. This exploration is fun and freeing in its own right. However, casually swapping between gym battles, titan Pokemon hunts, and Team Star raids are the best wasy to stay leveled up and strong enough as each questline becomes more difficult.
2. Sneak Up on Pokemon
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet aren’t quite as mechanically sophisticated as Pokemon Legends: Arceus when it comes to catching monsters. However, you can crouch and sneak up on Pokemon before manually tossing your Poke Ball, giving yourself an edge in battle against the confused creature.
3. Strategically Terastalize Pokemon
Terastalization is Scarlet and Violet’s new battle gimmick. Once activated, it covers your Pokemon in crystals that enhance its moves and alter its type. Some Pokemon have Tera types completely different from their normal types, like Sudowoodo actually becoming Grass-type instead of Rock-type. Terastalization can flip an unexpected weakness into a surprise strength, but you can only use it once per battle, so strategically terastalize to gain the advantage.
4. Go to Class
In Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, you play as a student in the Naranja/Uva Academy. Your entire adventure is just one big independent study. Classes aren’t mandatory, but you learn more about high-level Pokemon gameplay mechanics if you choose to take them. For example, the gym teacher explains the difference between your Pokemon’s attack and special attack stats.
5. Don’t Dawdle During Raid Battles
In raid battles, four players team up to take down one powerful Pokemon. Although it’s a turned-based battle, you only have a limited amount of real-world time to defeat your foe. If your Pokemon faints, the clock counts down even faster. Think of these battles like speed chess—attack with aggression.
6. Unlock New Mount Abilities ASAP
You travel the Paldea region on the back of either Koraidon or Miraidon, the two reptilian, legendary Pokemon. Initially, your mount can only jog across the landscape. However, progressing the titan Pokemon questline unlocks new movement abilities, such as dashing, climbing, and swimming. Gain these skills as soon as possible so that you can explore the world with greater ease.
7. Craft New Moves and Relearn Old Ones
Your Pokemon can only use four moves at a time, and when it learns a new one, it ditches an old one. However, outside of battles, you can have your Pokemon relearn discarded moves. This removes much of the pressure from deciding whether or not to learn a new technique as old moves are no longer forgotten forever, unlike in previous games. Not only that, winning battles grants you Pokemon materials you can craft into additional Technical Machines (TMs), the items that teach your Pokemon even more moves.
8. Team Up With Other Players
Multiplayer action has always been at the forefront of the Pokemon experience. Scarlet and Violet take it further with four-player online co-op using the Union Circle you’ll find at every Pokemon Center. If you want to trade Pokemon, explore with a crew, or fight raid battles without relying on inept computer teammates, find some cool human friends.
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9. Have a Picnic With Your Pokemon
Pokemon aren’t just for battle, they’re also your buddies. So have a picnic to bond with your team, and take cool pictures together. Feed them sandwiches to enhance their stats (and show them that you care).
10. Speed Up Annoying, Low-End Pokemon Battles
The Palden region is crawling with Pokemon, and eventually your team will get so powerful that fighting early creatures will just feel like a waste of time. Press the R button to use the Let’s Go feature, and send your lead Pokemon to automatically battle the low-end critters. This will wipe out weak Pokemon within seconds and give you experience points. However, your Pokemon will take damage from more evenly matched foes.
11. Restart After Each Session
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s open world is an ambitious undertaking, which may explain the game’s somewhat iffy technical performance. The gameplay will suffer from a wonky frame rate until Game Freak pushes out a patch. However, if you’ve been playing for a long time and experience a severe glitch, try restarting the game to solve what might be a memory leak.
For more recommended Nintendo Switch titles, check out The Best Nintendo Switch Games and The Best Nintendo Switch Games for Kids. For in-depth video game talk, visit PCMag’s Pop-Off YouTube channel(Opens in a new window).
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