REVIEW

REVIEW

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet The Teal Mask DLC

October 2, 2023

GOOD

  • Great Soundtrack
  • Best story and characters we've seen in a while
  • Awesome legendaries' design
  • Enticing ending

BAD

  • Same if not worse visual glitches
  • Performance/framerate issues

GOOD

GOOD

The Teal Mask DLC is definitely a move in the right direction! It is such an improvement over the base game in terms of location, characters, story, and the design of Pokémon, not to mention the music. Sadly, however, the performance issues are worse and almost all the visual issues from the base game are still prevalent in Teal Mask. Thankfully, the overall experience is overwhelmingly positive especially when compared to previous games’ DLC offerings.

Myths and Truth

In the Teal Mask, we are introduced to the land of Kitakami. A unique location with different regions around an immense protruding peak (Oni Mountain) in the centre of the map. Oni Mountain not only serves as a scalable vantage point but also includes wondrous caves (unlike the base game’s Area Zero), a lovely mythical pool, and many other secrets. Oni Mountain is surrounded by the beautiful Mossi Town, rolling Apple Hills, marshy Fellhorn Gorge and the creepy Timeless Woods, to mention but a few, all of which add to the variety of locations in the Kitakami region.

The characters have one of the better story arcs in a Pokémon game. There are some great moments, ranging from the real humorous to the deeply heartfelt. The characters of Carmine and Kieran carry the story with their strong personalities and earnest motivations, which the Pokémon series has not seen since Champion Cynthia in Sinnoh. It is a story of betrayal and lies. There are many twists and yet it is still simple and effective and a huge step up from the bare bones story of Pokémon Sword and Shield (and its DLC) and even the base game of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. While it is very linear it allows you much freedom and the spirit of exploration takes hold right from the start.\

It is a story of betrayal and lies.

Masked ‘mons

The Kitikami Pokedex starts off with 100 of Paldea’s Pokedex. There are also just under 100 returning Pokémon from the previous games, seven brand new Pokémon and one new Pokémon form. The new legendaries have varying designs and I found all of them unique and integral to the story. However, Ogerpon is the legendary who steals the show in terms of design and their role in the story (I simply loved them!). The Loyal Three, the other legendary Pokémon, also have classic Pokémon capture odds after the main story is completed. This leads to some true strategy in terms of making your Pokémon team, including even deciding on when and how you capture them (and I enjoyed the increased level of decision-making).

Interestingly, the Teal Mask DLC revolves around many fetch quests; walking to a specific location for a specific activity/item and then returning to a base. You visit some of these areas multiple times. While this may sound like a negative, it is not overdone and I felt it added to the basic mechanics of the recent Pokémon games. I enjoyed it particularly because only a few of the battles you encounter do any of the Pokémon Terastallize – so the fetch quests added some variety and changed up the formula a bit.

Ogerpon steals the show in terms of design and their role in the story.

Poor Poke-formance and Battles

The Pokémon models do not look as rushed as they have in the past. The environments, however, still do not look good as many textures up close look stretched and pixelated. The framerate drops occasionally throughout gameplay, especially on top of Oni Mountain and sadly the DLC’s overall performance actually somehow feels lower than the base game.

The Teal Mask also does not add anything new to the traditional turn-based battling system that Pokémon is known for. However, the new special abilities of the legendaries add some much-needed challenge to Pokémon battles as well as the battles against your rivals. The Battles against Carmine and Kieran are both quite challenging, nothing close to the battle against Cynthia, but they add much-needed strategy when facing them, as they both use items and have decent enough Pokémon to challenge your type matchups.

…the DLC’s overall performance actually somehow feels worse than the base game.

Music and more!

The music in The Teal Mask DLC is a definite improvement overall with Toby Fox, the creator of UNDERTALE and DELTARUNE, and their respective soundtracks, returning to add their iconic flair and masterful melodies to the Teal Mask DLC. The soundtrack helps add an atmospheric punch in a lot of The Teal Mask DLC’s sacred and secret locations and even around the characters and environments themselves and it was a real highlight.

The side quests also add extra flair which was greatly needed. In one, you must find a wealthy couple around the Land of Kitakami and Paldea. In another, you must collect berries in one of the mini-games and your reward for completing the hardest challenge is particularly special. Finally, professor Jaqu, your homeroom teacher from the base game of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, can be found in one of the fields and also has something special to share. They’re a great mix and break up the regular loop well.

The soundtrack helps add an atmospheric punch!

Teal-y Terrific

I really enjoyed the Teal Mask. It felt fantastic in comparison to Niantic/The Pokémon Company’s past games.
It has some great music, and an interesting narrative and ends with a bang with a stellar final boss fight that leads you to an ominous “TO BE CONTINUED” screen after a shocking twist. It is undoubtedly better than the base game of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet in so many ways (despite the disappointing returning visual issues) and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: DLC Part 2: The Indigo Disk!

REVIEW CODE PROVIDED BY: NINTENDO


For more Nintendo Reviews click here.

Written by Ryan M Gallus

October 2, 2023

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