2022 has been one of the most eventful years for gaming, with multiple great games coming out to great fanfare. Among the crowd, some will stand out from the rest due to their reputation. Take, for example, God of War Ragnarok, the sequel to God of War. But that isn’t the game that we’re looking at today. Instead, cast your mind to the second game released by Game Freak this year. That’s right – Pokémon Scarlet & Violet.
However, it certainly did have big shoes to fill, with Pokémon Arceus coming out earlier in January, garnering very positive reviews from the player base owing to its fresh take on the typical style of Pokemon games you’d usually see on Nintendo systems.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Pokemon since I was young, but I’ve never actually finished a single game due to my inability to find the time to. I wanted Scarlet to be the first game that I completed. I will finally be able to say that I became a Champion in a Pokemon game!
So with a Nintendo Switch in one hand and the game cartridge in the other, I sat down, inserted the cartridge and dove straight into the game.
Let’s first set the stage. Beginning with customising your character, I wanted my future champion to represent me in real life. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a hairstyle that was the same as mine, so I decided to go with the “standard short cut” style; the closest one I could find. Hair colour-wise, I was able to match it with my dark brown hair.
My new character was done, and I was soon greeted with a cutscene helping to inform on what Pokémon Scarlet is all about—introducing you to Naranja Academy, the academy where you will be enrolling.
A friendly greeting from the Head of the Academy – Director Clavell – was next, with him introducing the region of Paldea, Pokémon and the role of Naranja Academy in the game; to nurture and learn more about Pokémon as well.
We were then given a bird’s eye view of Paldea, which is humongous, with multiple different areas not being able to fit into the frame. Koraidon (the cover Pokémon for Scarlet) even makes a cameo appearance cruising around Paldea before crashing into the ocean.
The Start of the Game
Naturally, as per all Pokémon games, you start at your house – exploring the home, talking to your mom, the usual routine. That is until Director Clavell suddenly shows up at your house to deliver your enrollment documents personally, even apologising for their late delivery. What a lovely man. After some exchange of words, lo and behold, it is time to pick our first Pokémon!
With a new generation comes new creatures to find and catch, but you always get to choose among a trio of Pokémon first. The starter Pokémon for Generation IX this time round are Sprigatito, Fuecoco and Quaxly – the Grass, Fire and Water type, respectively.
I usually prefer water types and already had Quaxly in mind. Plus, it looked so… sassy? Its design was really cool, especially with its little hat! (At least, in my heart it was a hat)
However, I couldn’t make my pick just yet; we had to go on a walk with those three first to a house at the end of the street. This is where you’re first introduced to your first friend and rival, Nemona. Oh, sorry, I got that wrong. Champion Nemona. Yes, your neighbour down the street is the President of the Student Council and already is a Pokémon Champion, which is somewhat mind-boggling.
After making introductions, I was finally able to pick my starter and was rewarded with a scene of Quaxly hopping onto my shoulder, doing its little “hair” flip. I already love it.
Nemona, too, picks a Pokémon of her own, going for Fuecoco, which is the direct opposite type of Quaxly but one in my favour. She then challenges you to a battle at the nearby beach but loses after I use Water Gun a few times. My first battle went well.
After capturing a Lechonk as part of the tutorial, Nemona leaves me to my own devices and says to meet her at the lighthouse at the top of the hill.
I gladly obliged and caught a few extra Pokémon, such as a Scatterbug, which in all honesty, isn’t great, but I wanted to fill up my Pokédex as much as possible. In making my way to Nemona, I got the opportunity to get the Legendary Koraidon as my Pokémon too! It will serve to be useful in transport for my journey later on.
Eventually, I reach the first Pokécentre in the tiny little town of Los Platos, where we can heal our Pokémon. It had taken a surprisingly long time to get up to this point, but healing up at the Poké Centre and consolidating my lineup made me feel rather proud. I knew well enough that the journey ahead would see it change shape, but regardless, I was content with most of the Pokémon I had caught so far.
Onward to Naranja Academy!
Reaching the gates of Naranja Academy, Nemona suddenly challenges us to yet another battle (how battle-hungry is she?). For the second rival battle, she sends out Fuecoco again, but we easily take care of it with Quaxly. But then she sends out Pawmi and uses something called ‘Terastal phenomenon’ on it.
It’s a new mechanic in Generation 9 that transforms your Pokémon into a gem-like appearance and boosts its moves, which are similar to its tera-type. Pawmi is an Electric tera-type, and thus its electric moves now hit harder. Our water-type duck is weak to electric-type moves, meaning that the battle was not in our favour at all.
Thankfully, her Pawmi didn’t know any strong electric-type moves, and with the aid of potions I had found while exploring, we slowly took it down with a few water guns. With that, we could finally enter the school, where I headed up the steps towards the main school building.
This was where we first encountered Team Star, the antagonists of this generation. It was a fruitful meeting which saw me get my own experience of the Terastal phenomenon.
During the battle with one of the grunts, Nemona suddenly shows up, handing us our very own Tera Orb, which allows us to terastallise our Pokémon. She encourages us to test it out in battle against the other Team Star Grunt, and we gladly oblige.
I must admit, the terastal transformation animation and form look really good. The boost in power, however, wasn’t all that noticeable. But hey, at least my Quaxly gets to have a crystal water fountain for a hat!
After the battle concludes, I finally get to the school, am introduced to our Biology class, and then allowed to free-roam to talk to our classmates before heading to the Staff Room to find Nemona. This is where we first encounter the Top Champion (Champion La Primera), who walks off without saying too much. We will see her again later.
Nemona then tells us about one of the three routes you can do in Pokémon Scarlet, which is “Victory Road”, where it stays true to the Pokémon series – Battling gyms, obtaining Gym Badges and challenging the Elite Four. She then sends us the locations of the Gyms. Scarlet and Violet are unique in that they are the first games in the series to let you tackle gyms in any order.
Beyond Naranja Academy
Day one soon ends, and the darkness of the screen fades into a scene of us hearing a school announcement of a new important assignment where we have to gather in the courtyard. A boisterous Nemona then barges into our room. Does she not know how to knock?
We then head downstairs, where Director Clavell is prepared to give a speech to all the students about our Independent Study Assignment. The theme of it is “A Treasure Hunt”, and we have to set out to search for our treasure. He sends everyone off; now, this is where the real game begins.
Walking down the steps with Nemona, she tells us how attaining Champion rank is the way to go for our Independent Study Assignment. Meanwhile, Arven (who gifted Koraidon) suddenly butts in to refute her comment, saying that we already agreed to help him find the Herba Mystica (Did we really?). We also get a call from another person named Cassiopeia about Operation Starfall to stop Team Star.
So the game has now opened up the three paths to pursue in Pokémon Scarlet, but I wanted to stay true to the original way to finish the game. After all, I had the ultimate goal of being a Champion in mind.
On the Victory Road
I first set off for the Cortondo Gym, where I would face the bug-type Gym Leader, Katy. It should not be too much of an issue for me since Quaxly knew how to use Flying-type moves, which were super effective against bug-types.
In true me fashion, however, I ended up exploring the areas around the different exits of Mesagoza instead, which included me going in the opposite direction of the Cortondo Gym. It wasn’t for granted, though, as my Quaxly evolved into Quaxwell.
After a little bit of sidetracking (and catching more Pokémon), I finally started to make my way over to the Cortondo Gym as I began my march towards Victory Road.
Entering the gym, Nemona excitedly greets us. She goes on to explain that to challenge the Gym Leader, we needed first to pass the Gym Test set by them. In the case of the Cortondo Gym, it was the Olive Roll Challenge.
Heading to the field outside, we were tasked to roll a gigantic olive into a basket, which I quickly cleared without much trouble; the physics of the olive was a little wonky, but it still went well nonetheless.
Going back to the gym, I was now allowed to take on Katy, who was waiting for me on the battlegrounds nearby. Neatly situated on top of four tree trunks, it felt like a treehouse, giving me that feeling of playfulness.
Katy sent out Nymble, Tarountula and a Teddiursa, which she terastallised into a Bug-Type. They all went down without much resistance to my Quaxwell, who could repeatedly use Wing Attack. With that, I got my first Gym Badge, but it was barely a challenge to me. Still, I did feel a sense of accomplishment for picking the right starter Pokémon. That’s Gym 1 of 8 complete.
As I pondered where to head next, I encountered a Dragonair that was Level 54, teasing me to capture it. For some reason, I had a lot of confidence in my Pokémon, who were just level 21 at that point. Unsurprisingly, I got battered and blacked out. Making a mental note not to punch above my weight, I went towards Artazon.
The next gym was in Artazon, to the right of Mesagoza. Being a grass-type gym, it didn’t look like much of a challenge on paper, with my Quaxwell having moves that were super effective against them. Still, best to be cautious.
While taking a detour through a cave in Area 5 of the South Province, I found myself a great ground/rock-type Pokémon – Larvitar, a great Pokémon that, when fully evolved, will prove to be a formidable foe for my opponents.
Entering the gym and speaking to the Gym Representative, I was tasked to look for 10 Sunfloras and bring them back to the gym to pass the Gym Test.
Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong. With how old my Nintendo Switch was, it was a horrifying experience all-round; Each time I found a Sunflora, my frame rate worsened. By the time I was done finding all of them, my game was so choppy that finding the gym again was nearly impossible.
To make matters worse, I had to fight 2 Sunfloras along the way, meaning that with the amount of Pokémon around me, waiting for the Switch to catch up to my actions made the whole experience terrible. Slowly but surely, however, I completed it, meaning that I could FINALLY take on Brassius – The Artazon Gym Leader.
His Pokémon – Petilil, Smoliv and a terastallised Sudowoodo were all grass-types, meaning that Quaxly’s flying-type moves were super effective against it. With just my favourite duck, I was able to sweep his entire team. Brassius calls the battle “a work of artistry” (if you say so) and hands us our second Gym Badge and the TM Trailblaze.
On a whim, I decided to head back to the other side of Paldea to take on the Water-type gym next. As the level cap is significantly higher than other gyms, I decided to go ahead and train my Pokémon to increase their level before making my way towards Cascaraffa.
Along the way, an Eevee that I had caught while exploring the world evolved into an Umbreon, which wasn’t the type I wanted, but I kept it either way. It would prove to be one of my best Pokémon throughout my playthrough.
Nearing the place, I come across Kofu, Cascaraffa’s Gym Leader, running out of the gym, rushing off towards somewhere. His gym assistant comes out wanting to return his wallet, but the man is long gone. Seemed like he had a place to be.
Learning that he was running off towards the market, his assistant asked us to bring him his wallet, saying that if we returned it, that’d be that for the gym challenge. Sounds easy enough, so off I went towards Porto Marinada.
When I did reach the town, after crossing a whole desert, a gym trainer accompanying him confronted us as they were “in the middle of some super duper important ingredient buyin’ and challenged us to a battle. He wasn’t much of a challenge either, with my new Umbreon brute-forcing its way to cleaning up his Floatzel and Clauncher.
Talking to Kofu afterwards, he encouraged us to win some Wakame Seaweed in an auction for him, which would be our actual gym test. Handing us some of the funds from his wallet, all I had to do was remain under budget and win – and I duly delivered.
While heading back to the gym, Nemona challenges us to yet another battle, to which I finish off her Rockruff, Pawmi and Crocalor without much resistance. Good practice before the gym battle.
So, after a long detour, I could finally take on Gym Leader Kofu. Talk about going the extra mile. Sending out Umbreon, I quickly finished off his Veluza using Dark-type moves before chipping away at his Wugtrio with my Larvitar to defeat the white Diglett look-alike.
His next (and last) Pokémon was a terastallised Crabominable, which I quickly took care of using a few water-type moves from my Quaxwell, meaning that I had completed my third gym! Better still, Quaxwell also evolved into Quaquaval after the battle. Kofu hands me the TM Chilling Water. With three gym badges, my level cap had been raised to 35!
Heading to the Medali Gym next wasn’t much of a hassle as it was close to Cascaraffa. Here, I would be taking on the Normal-type gym. Usually, this would be rather tedious and sometimes challenging, with normal-type Pokémon only having weaknesses to fighting-type moves. With my newly evolved Quaquaval knowing fighting-type moves, though, I wasn’t too worried.
The gym test this time involved ordering a secret menu item from a restaurant near the gym. To ascertain its identity, I roamed around Medali, looking for more clues about the item.
Obtaining these clues meant battling other trainers for them and solving simple riddles – such as “the odd one out at one of the ice cream stands.” After what felt like an eternity, however, I gathered what I felt were all the clues and headed back to the restaurant to talk to the front-of-house.
Answering the questions in this order: Grilled Rice Balls, Medium, Extra Crispy, Fire Blast Style and Lemon. A cutscene played, with more than half the restaurant suddenly changing into a battle court. Speaking to the waiter again, he calls for Larry to take me on for the gym battle.
Going up against his Pokémon – Komala, Dundunsparce and a terastallised Staraptor, it was time for me to get my fourth gym badge. None of them thankfully proved to be a challenge, with them all going down to Quaquaval’s Low Sweep, meaning that it was yet another clean sweep of a gym. Pun very much intended
Larry then handed me the TM Facade along with the Gym Badge, which marked the completion of my fourth gym, meaning that my level cap was further raised, allowing me to fully evolve more of my Pokémon.
Moving swiftly on to the Levincia Gym, it was here where I realised that I had done the gyms in the wrong order as the level of the Gym leader’s Pokémon was lower than Larry’s. Nevertheless, it just meant it would be easier for me to clear.
Entering the gym, the assistant tells me that the Gym Test would be to star in one of Gym Leader Iono’s live streams before telling me to head outside. Right outside, I was suddenly thrust into a live stream. One thing led to another, and I had to spot Director Clavell in a crowd, similar to “Where’s Waldo?”
I had to spot him three times in total, and at the end of the first two rounds, I had to battle trainers who were, of course, no challenge due to how my Pokémon was over levelled at this point. I easily passed and was granted access to challenge Iono.
With a Pupitar and Gabite on my team, I made light work of her Electric-Type Pokémon – Wattrel, Bellibolt, Luxio and a terastallised Mismagius, due to Ground-Type moves being super effective against them. After clearing out her final Pokémon, she hands me the TM Volt Switch and my gym badge! Gym number 5 done.
My sixth gym would be the Glaseado Gym. I discovered that this was the recommended gym to be challenged last. Well, not that anyone or anything stopped me from doing it first. Still, this gym proved to be quite the test.
But first off, the Gym Test. At the Glaseado Gym, I had to complete the Snow Slope Run, which meant I had to slide down a slope with Koraidon and pass through the designated gates to earn points. This was, as expected, not difficult at all. Clearing it, I was then allowed to challenge Grusha, the Gym Leader of the Glaseado Gym.
Her Pokémon were no slouches, with her lowest-level Pokémon being Level 47. Starting with Frosmoth, I could only chip away at it as I had no high-level Fire-Type Pokémon. The lack of good Pokémon resulted in my Pupitar and Gabite falling to it. After all, Ice is super effective against Ground-Type Pokémon. I eventually finished it off with Umbreon, however, with the help of a few healing items.
Following Frosmoth, her next two Pokémon were pure Ice-Types, which meant that Quaquaval had a field day. Since Fighting-Type moves were super effective against Ice-Types, a few Low Sweeps wiped out both Beartic and Cetitan. This left her with just her ace – Altaria.
Altaria is originally a Flying/Dragon-Type Pokémon. Though, with it being terastallised, it became a pure Ice-Type, which means that Quaquaval could simply take it out with its Fighting-Type moves. A bit of self-sabotage from my opponent, but it netted me my 6th Gym badge.
Grusha handed me the TM Ice Spinner for beating her, and my level cap was now raised to 50, which meant that I could command higher-level Pokémon now!
Ah, Psychic-Types. With so many notable and powerful Pokémon being Psychic, it’s one of the most prominent types. Mew, Mewtwo, and Necrozma, to name a few. I felt confident with Umbreon in my party as I made my way over to Alfornada, as Dark-type moves were solid against Psychic-Types.
As is the trend with all other gyms, I must pass the gym test first. For the Alfornada Gym, this meant successfully taking on something called “Emotional Spectrum Practice”.
What exactly was that? Well, as I found out the hard way, it was essentially just me pressing the buttons – either X, A, B or Y – to the corresponding emotions of Anger, Joy, Surprise and Excitement, respectively. It wasn’t hard, but it was one of the more intensive Gym Tests I had done thus far, with two rounds of mindless button pressing.
At the end of each round, I had to defeat two trainers, which I easily defeated. With that out of the way, though, I was able to challenge Tulip – the Psychic Gym Leader. She was rather comical to me, using hip and trendy terminologies when speaking.
I would soon find out that my confidence was, well, misplaced. Even with Umbreon in my team, Psychic-Type moves were generally super effective against the rest of my team members (this was bad planning on my part). What I thought would be an easy win was instantly flipped on its head as Tulip’s terastallised Florges wiped out my entire team. Yikes.
It was my first loss to a Gym Leader, but I was undeterred. Trying again, I changed out some of my Pokémon, bringing in Sylveon and Scyther onto the team as they were super effective against Psychic-Types.
For the second try, I quickly dispose of her first three Pokémon – Farigiraf, Gardevoir and Espathra, but at the expense of my own Gardevoir. Now it was time to face her terrifying terastillised Florges again.
Fortunately, with the aid of my own terastallised Umbreon, I managed to pull through and defeat it with the assistance of Lady Luck and a bunch of Hyper Potions. With that, I had beaten and conquered seven out of the eight gyms.
Tulip hands me the TM Psychic, an extremely powerful move, along with the gym badge. To top it all off, my level cap had now been raised to Level 55. Lovely.
Finally, after a long journey, I was left with one more gym – The Dark-Type Gym. Conveniently enough, it was near the Glaseado Gym, which made travelling to the gym much more straightforward.
Before heading over, however, with the new level cap, I returned to the spot where I had found the terastillised Level 54 Dragonair from earlier (Remember it?) and successfully caught it. Talk about a full circle, huh?
To make things even better, after levelling it up to Level 55, it evolved into a Dragonite, one of the stronger Pokémon in the game with its diverse move set. Furthermore, it also knew the move Thunder, which can only usually be taught using TMs. This made Dragonite a great addition to my team, allowing me to deal with more Pokémon types.
Flying over to the Glaseado Gym, I made my way around the mountain towards Montenevera, which was nearby. Montenevera was a quaint little town which had nice and cosy vibes. This, however, was a stark contrast to the Gym Leader, Ryme, whose personality was more intense. The Gym Test required me to hype the crowd for Ryme’s concert before her act by battling other trainers.
What set these battles apart from regular battles was that they were double battles, meaning that I would have to send out two Pokémon at once, as instructed by the organiser – DJ Sledge. Not that it made much difference, as I had Pokémon that were already higher than the recommended level for the Montenevara Gym.
Having to battle against three rounds of trainers was fun, especially with all of them being double battles. First up was Tas, who has a Greavard and Shuppet, both at level 40. Because Ghost-Type Pokémon were weak to Dark-Types, I brought along both Umbreon and my recently-evolved Garchomp, both of which knew Dark-Type moves, which took care of his Pokémon without much fuss.
Second to face me was Lani, who had a Haunter and a Misdreavius, both of which were Level 40. Both Umbreon and Garchomp from my squad finished them off without much fuss as well.
My third and final opponent was none other than DJ Sledge himself. His Pokémon – Sableye and Drifblim, were also easily defeated by my dynamic duo of Umbreon and Garchomp, who had single-handedly wiped out the competition and completed my Gym Test for me without any problems whatsoever.
With that then, I was now up against none other than Ryme herself. Continuing the trend of double battles, her Banette and Mimikyu came out first.
I decided to send out Umbreon and my recently caught Leafeon. Why a Grass-Type? I wanted a little challenge and tested how easily I could defeat her Pokémon without super-effective moves.
To be fair, my Pokémon were already over-levelled, so it didn’t make too much of a difference. I defeated both her Banette and Mimikyu without breaking a sweat. Last up was her Houndstone and Toxtricity, which Umbreon took care of with a couple of turns of the move Snarl.
This meant that I had defeated Ryme, and with it, had completed my eighth and final gym. I was now eligible to challenge the Elite Four! She hands me the gym badge and the TM Shadow Ball. With the last gym badge, Pokémon of all levels would now listen to me, which meant I could catch any Pokémon I wanted.
Back inside the Montenevera Gym, I was greeted by Nemona and Top Champion Geeta, who both congratulated me on beating all eight gyms (How do I tell them that I did it in the wrong order?). Geeta tells me that if I want to “stand alongside Nemona as a Fellow Champion”, I should head over to the Pokémon League, where I would be taking the Champion Assessment, which is where I would be taking on the Elite Four.
As a whole, the gyms weren’t exactly what I would call tough, bar one instance where a few poor decisions from me led to all my Pokémon fainting. Compared to previous generations, Scarlet‘s gyms felt a little less challenging, with the Gym Leaders never using potions or making things more difficult for the player. Now we move on to the Big Four.
Taking on the Elite 4
Champion Assessment Interview
With my new level cap allowing me to capture and command any Pokémon of any level, I decided to head over to Daluzapa Passage, where there was a Level 75 terastillised Lucario available to catch.
Would this trivialise the rest of the game? Yes. Am I making things too easy for myself? Yes. But the endgame for Pokémon Scarlet wasn’t just finishing all three paths. That would be the 7 Star Tera Raids that one could only access once they had completed the rest of the game; that will truly test one’s capabilities. For now, Lucario was simply insurance.
The Pokémon League happened to be linked to Mesagoza, so a quick fly over to the nearest Pokémon Center and a short walk later, I was right outside the Pokémon League building.
After a quick acknowledgement from Top Champion Geeta, a representative brought me into an interview room. I was greeted by Rika, who would interview me to ensure I could challenge the Elite Four.
The Champion Assessment consists of multiple questions you must answer correctly; a wrong answer would immediately result in failing the test. She asks simple questions, like “How did you get here?” and “What brings you to the Pokémon League today?”. Answering anything other than “I came here to become Champion” for the latter would result in instant failure.
One tricky question which stumped me was, “Which of the eight gyms gave you the most difficulty?”, “What was the name of the Gym Leader you faced there?” and “What type of Pokémon did the Gym Leader use?” These few questions required a bit of googling to ensure I didn’t mess up any of the answers (I still messed up once).
After finishing the assessment properly, I was granted the opportunity to take on the Elite Four. First up was Rika. Her team mainly consisted of Ground-type Pokémon, which meant that Water and Grass-types would be the most effective. I was in good stead then.
Quaquaval and Leafeon carried me throughout this fight with their Water and Grass-type moves, respectively, granting me victory against Rika and defeating the first of the Elite Four members!
Before meeting my next opponent, I promptly healed my party back to tip-top condition. The person in the next room was Poppy, the third strongest Elite Four Member.
To my surprise, Poppy was a young girl. Not to be stereotypical, but most trainers her age that I met on my journey would usually be stuck in school with low-levelled Pokémon. A little googling also revealed that she is the youngest ever Elite Four member throughout the many Pokémon games thus far, so she would seem pretty darn good at battling.
Her team consists of Copperajah, Corviknight, Magnezone, Bronzong and Tinkaton – All Steel-type Pokémon, meaning the Lucario I caught earlier would come in handy. True enough, it single-handedly wiped out the entirety of Poppy’s team effortlessly. It was grossly over-levelled at this point, meaning that none of her Pokémon stood a chance.
I felt rather bad for sweeping her aside without breaking a sweat. But with that, I defeated Poppy and was now on course to face the next member of the Elite Four.
I was surprised though, the next member I was to face was none other than my favourite salaryman, Larry! What was he doing here? Wasn’t he the Medali Gym Leader?
Larry was back and more formidable than before. Instead of using the normal-type Pokémon I was previously familiar with, he was using Flying-type Pokémon this time round. They were strong, with his ace Flamigo being at level 60.
No need to fear, though, because, with Dragonite on my team, it made things a lot easier. Owing to its Electric terastillised form, it knew the move Thunder by default, which meant that all I had to do was pray for it to hit.
Thankfully, it worked out. Larry’s Pokémon all fell one by one, and with that, I had beaten the third member of the Elite Four.
The final member of the Elite Four usually tends to be the most brutal battle on paper; this was no different. Hassel was the last person standing in between Top Champion Geeta and me. Who exactly is Hassel? Well, he’s surprisingly one of Naranja Academy’s own staff.
His team consists of Dragon-type Pokémon, which throughout the Pokémon series, are known to be rather tricky to deal with. I could have used Dragonite for this battle, but Dragon-types are weak to themselves, so it was a risk. Enter my overleveled Ice-tera type Lucario.
Remember how it managed to wipe out Poppy’s team completely? Well… Ice-type moves are super effective against Dragon-types, so it was over in a matter of minutes. All Lucario had to do was simply use Ice Punch a few times, and all his Pokémon, no matter how strong they were, fell.
Hassel started crying when I beat him, though it wasn’t tears of defeat. Were they tears of joy…? It seemed somewhat exaggerated to me, but I got the comedic appeal of it. With that, though, I had beaten the Elite Four, and it was, oddly enough, not much of a challenge besides Larry, which required a lot of luck.
Champion Geeta then was the final fight for me to achieve Champion status. Telling us more about herself, Geeta says she is incapable of holding back for Pokémon battles. It reminds me of a certain Nemona… maybe that’s why she became the youngest Champion in Paldea. Either way, it was time to take on the strongest in all of Paldea – Geeta herself.
Her first Pokémon was Espathra, a pure psychic-type Pokémon, which meant that my Umbreon could take care of it with its Dark-type moves with no problem. Her next Pokémon was Kingambit, a Dark/Steel-type. This meant it was weak to Fighting-type moves, to which my Quaquaval swatted aside with Low Sweep.
She followed up with her Avalugg, which Quaquaval also duly obliterated. She brought out her Veluza in response, which I countered by switching to Umbreon, who took care of the ugly fish with its Dark-type moves.
Last up then was her supposed ace – Glimmora. Terastilising it into a Rock-type, I had to switch back to Quaquaval and used Liquidation, a Water-type move. This took out her Glimmora in a single strike.
The battle ends, but wait, that’s all? I didn’t even take any damage from any of her Pokémon…
Her congratulations effectively confirmed it. I was now Paldea Champion, but the last fight wasn’t much of a challenge…
Outside the Pokémon League building, Nemona greeted me and congratulated us for attaining Champion Status. She wanted to battle us immediately, but we needed a break, so she asked us for a location for us to battle. So, of course, there could only be one suitable place – Mesagoza, where we started our journey.
A Challenge from Nemona
Flying back to Mesagoza to the nearest Poké Centre felt rather nostalgic; I hadn’t been in the town since I first left to take on the first gym, which frankly felt like ages ago. Upon climbing up the stairs towards the central plaza, a cutscene played.
“You ready for a battle between Champions?” she asked. Of course, I am.
Her team is notably highly diverse in terms of the Pokémon used, meaning that I had to take note of many different types of matchups. That being said, I could just brute force my way through the battle.
The first Pokémon she sent out was Lycanroc, a pure Rock-type Pokémon. Starting with Quaquaval was a good idea then. Using the Water-type move, Liquidation was enough to take out the poor fox in a single kick.
Next up was Pawmot – an Electric/Fighting-type Pokémon. Switching out to Garchomp and using the move Bulldoze was enough to take it out, for Ground-type moves were super effective against Pawmot.
Goodra was up next for Nemona, and with it being a pure Dragon-type, I switched to Dragonite, who outspeeds it. Landing a Dragon Claw, it managed to get the job done in two turns, which meant that while I still had all my Pokémon; Nemona was left with just three. This fight wasn’t proving to be much of a challenge either.
I continued my streak of destroying teams with Lucario. Her next Pokémon, Dundunsparce, was a Normal-type Pokémon, meaning that Fighting-type moves would be super effective against it. A simple Close Combat from Lucario got the job done. Her second to last Pokémon was Orthworm, a Steel-type. Yet again, Lucario swatted it aside with another Close Combat, leaving Nemona with her starter Pokémon – the fully evolved Skeledirge.
Switching back to Quaquaval, it was already a matchup that I was destined to win, with Quaquaval being a Water-type and Skeledirge being a fire-type. Using Liquidation twice, Skeledirge fainted, which meant that I had beaten Nemona for what was hopefully the final time.
Upon defeating her, she exclaimed, “You did it!” in excitement and that I was now the strongest trainer in all of Paldea. But with Nemona being Nemona, she was already looking forward to the next battle. Gulp. No thanks.
With that, though, the screen faded to black, and I woke up inside my dorm room. I had finally completed Victory Road, arguably the longest route of all three.
With that, my Champion journey comes to a close. It took me almost three whole weeks to complete this route alongside the others, but that’s for another time. Overall, I must say that the storyline and my experience playing the game was terrific. The fights, however, were relatively easy, with me being able to swat aside most teams easily. The graphics aren’t mind-blowing, but I was really in it more for the experience.
Some aspects of the game were rather cringe-inducing, such as the animation playing when you eat food. They are useful for increasing things such as spawn rates for certain Pokémon types, or even shiny Pokémon, but it was a bit much for me.
With that being said, however, the story doesn’t just end with you finishing Victory Road; The other two routes also offer compelling story progression. In the end, all three parts come together as a Grand Finale.
If you want to try the game out, I highly recommend it. You could even try Nuzlocking the game, which is essentially making the game harder for yourself with self-imposed limitations to ensure that the game is made more difficult yet at the same time, equally, if not more enjoyable.
For now, though, thank you for joining me on my journey! I’ll just head back to trying to complete the Pokédex. It can’t be that hard, right? …Right?
Screenshots were taken on a Nintendo Switch.