By Paul Harrington
It brings me joy to say “Pokémon Scarlet and Violet” has received downloadable content! Part one of “The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero” titled “The Teal Mask” dropped on Sept. 13.
“Pokémon Scarlet and Violet” is a Japanese role-playing game published by Game Freak and released in November 2022. Fans knew that there was going to be downloadable content, so it was just a matter of time before it launched.
After receiving the news from a friend on Discord that the first part of “The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero” would be dropping in 2023, I knew I had to get with the program.
After about 30 hours of gameplay that included completing the self-titled Pokédex and story, it’s time for a review! What it pains me to say is that “Teal Mask” was underwhelming at parts.
“The Teal Mask” takes place after the events of the main story in the Paldea Region. “The Teal Mask” follows the protagonist as they go on a field trip to the Kitakami region. The field trip consisted of a three-day tour of the landmarks around Kitakami. The locations did not stick with me as I noticed lag at various points.
The region of Kitakami is a land full of rich history and lore. The region is full of folktales that involve Pokémon and even festivals to honor these Pokémon. You get a sense of understanding for the deep relations of the village and Pokémon.
The region of Kitakami looks graphically amazing but runs horrendously on the Nintendo Switch. It does not help that the game is already riddled with performance issues. Sometimes I noticed that my game would just crash with no explanation. For a $35 add-on I would expect there to be some more polish.
The added content does not make the game's performance any better. This means that for users with older consoles, they will easily experience lag. As someone who wants to play these games, it is annoying to deal with the same performance issues over and over. It makes me wonder what my money is going toward.
What I can say about “The Teal Mask” is that I enjoyed the returning Pokémon and newly designed ones that are tied to Japanese folklore. New Pokémon such as Dipplin are adorable to see, as Dipplin’s design is a candied apple. Who would not want a powerful candied apple on their team?
I also am thankful for the returning Pokémon, as it adds depth to the video game championships (VGC) scene of competitive Pokémon. It allows for competitive players to use old-time favorites on their in-game teams. I can attest to this and say that my strategies for winning have grown. The beauty about the Pokémon franchise is that there is a battling medium for everyone.
Another thing “The Teal Mask” excels in is its sensational customization for both the outfits you wear in game and for the hairstyles you can use. The base game lacked the pizzazz needed to truly style your character. They have also added a selfie stick for photography purposes.
“The Teal Mask” had the right ideas, but would have benefitted from a little bit more time in development. Though “The Teal Mask” shines in some departments, i.e. the returning roster and new Pokémon, it felt like it was setting up for the second part of the added content. The overall performance of the game hinders the gameplay experience.
Overall, I enjoyed parts of the downloadable content and disliked other parts. It is always fun to experience new DLC and see how your opinions on them change as you play them.
My final thoughts come from the performance of the game while still enjoying the new features and making new memories with my Pokémon. There is just no room to see past the performance and graphics of the game.
“Teal Mask” was somewhat effective!