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Pokémon Scarlet And Violet Ends Like It Began, With Unmet Potential

After playing through Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s epilogue I can definitively say I was mostly let down by the Hidden Treasure of Area Zero DLC. Don’t get me wrong, the “Mochi Mayhem” episode is an hour of silly fun alongside some of the best characters to grace the games’ Paldea region, but it is just that—silly, especially when compared to some of the games’ more memorable moments.

The Week In Games: Pocket Monsters And Simulated Goats

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“Mochi Mayhem” is positioned as an epilogue to the DLC rather than more broadly Scarlet and Violet as a whole, so it naturally still centers on characters and places introduced in The Teal Mask and The Indigo Disk, but thankfully clears some space for old friends. Rival Kieran, humbled by his losses in the DLC, invites the player and their Paldean friends to visit him and his family in the small region of Kitakami, where there’s a weird curse going around that has civilians doing what’s essentially The Chicken Dance and mindlessly proclaiming how much they love to eat Mochi while trying to force it on others. Despite the silliness, the horror of an entire civilization being mind-controlled by an unknown force is played pretty straight, which gives it a balanced tone of ridiculous and unsettling.

But all of this table-setting is a way for the games to facilitate high-level battles against old friends. Nemona, Arven, and Penny from the base game play a prominent role in the story, and as more powerful trainers succumb to the curse, you’ll have to battle them to save yourself. Even for my level 100 team, battling old friends was a little tough. Well, as tough as a Pokémon game ever is.

The A plot is a lot of nonsense culminating in the capture of perhaps the least remarkable Mythical Pokémon in the series, but it does fill in some gaps from The Teal Mask’s story and, more importantly, gives the game an excuse to bring back the main trio for one more adventure. As we mentioned in our hopes for Pokémon Gen X, the cast dynamic of Scarlet and Violet was deeply underutilized in the main game. When the crew finally comes together in the finale, it’s really special to see these three diametrically opposed people butt heads before finding common ground. The mind naturally wanders to what a game that leaned into that dynamic could look like. Scarlet and Violet’s epilogue offers another glimpse into a party-centric Pokémon game, and a reminder that these games don’t get enough credit for their writing and localization. They’re funny and heartfelt, and when they want to be, they are home to some of the most compelling worldbuilding Pokémon has ever had.

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