After almost a year since the release of Pokémon Scarlet and Violetwe are finally ready to embark on a new adventure in Paldea, which will take us to an area away from the main region, to a place called Nordivia.
Obviously, we are talking about the first DLC released for the game, The Treasure of Area Zero. Part I: The Turquoise Maskalready available for purchase on the Nintendo Switch store.
We were very curious to try this content, also considering that Game Freak had demonstrated its ability to use DLC well already on the occasion of Pokémon Sword and Shield.
After having completed the main story of this first additional episode, we are ready to tell you our opinion on Game Freak’s new effort.
Towards distant lands
The story of The turquoise mask is set outside of the main plot of Scarlet and Violet, literally. Our protagonist will in fact be chosen for a trip out of town, with the aim of visit Nordiviaa small village characterized by the high mountains that tower above it.
Other students of the Academy will also be chosen together with us, but these are not characters who have already appeared in the main story; in fact, our traveling companions will remain nameless for the duration of the episode.
The true co-protagonists of this adventure are in fact the brothers Rubra and Ribenoriginally from Nordivia, who we will learn to know upon our arrival in their land.
Nordivia is preparing to celebrate one of its ritual celebrations, linked to cult of the so-called good friends, three Pokémon who would protect the city from an evil ogre in times long gone. Together with Rubra and Riben we will discover what is hidden behind this legend, and that things did not go exactly as the story told.
We don’t want to give you spoilers about the story of The turquoise mask, so we’ll stop here with the story. It is a Nice change of pace from the main game’s story. Here we have a more intimate narrative, a lot linked to the folklore of the city and the region. Having a more focused plot also allowed the developers to better focus on the development of the main characters, which is where Scarlet and Violet they also limped a bit due to the structure of the story.
We appreciated the unexpected freshness of this DLC.
The ending of the story seems to throw clues for what will be part 2 (you can already purchase it in the complete expansion pack on Amazon), and we are very curious to see how everything will end and possibly connect back to the main story. We also expect a more prominent role for Professor Rea, teacher of the Blueberry Institute, niece of the author of the Scarlet/Violet Book, who appears here only in the opening lines of the adventure.
Overall, it’s a pretty short experience, lasting about 2-3 hours (obviously we are only talking about completing the main missions), but we still appreciated theunexpected freshness of this DLC.
What makes us turn up our noses is that in a story so linked to the traditions of the city there are practically no buildings that can be visited. It was a problem that already affected the main games, and which in our opinion weighed much more than any bug; we hoped that the developers had at least partially remedied this shortcoming, also taking advantage of the smaller extension of the map, but this was not the case.
Speaking of graphic defects, inexplicably it seemed to us that The turquoise mask present even more problems than the original Paldea map; it seems like a contradiction, given that we are talking about a much, much smaller location in terms of extension, but we had the impression of noticing a greater number of slowdowns.
To be honest, we still wouldn’t have expected a big leap forward compared to the main games: we knew by now what we were going to encounter. At the same time, however, seeing the problems increase rather than decrease was further testimony to the difficult development of these games, and the difficult situation that Game Freak is facing.
We hope that the team will give themselves time to work carefully on the next episodes, revising the launch scheme of the series’ titles if necessary.
Another PokéDex to complete
Obviously, in addition to the main story this DLC also brings with it other new features: new costumesnew poses for selfies, new dishes but especially new Pokémon.
Obviously, the legends that you will meet in the story are the masters: Okidogi, Munkidori, Fezandipiti (the three good friends) and Ogerpon (the ogre) will all be captureable during this short adventure, going to increase the number of Pokémon introduced since generation nine.
Next to them there are the Pokémon that you can meet in Nordivia, to which a dedicated page is dedicated Separate PokéDex. It’s mostly about creatures from the second and third generationswhich includes many Pokémon that were absent from the basic versions of the game.
It is difficult to estimate how much time it will take you to complete this new PokéDex and to complete all the secondary objectives present in Nordivia, but it is clear that we are starting to talk about at least ten hours, in the narrowest of hypotheses.
In this regard, we open a parenthesis on access to Nordivia. Starting the DLC adventure is very simple: once you have purchased the content (remember to purchase the DLC for your game version!), you will receive a call from Professor Zim the next time you start your game, in which he will inform you that you have been chosen for this cultural exchange mission.
The expansion seems to want to raise the difficulty bar, but considering that many will tackle it after having fully explored the main game, it only succeeds to a small extent.
You will then be able to access the DLC at any timeprovided you have at least witnessed the opening ceremony of the treasure hunt, which takes place after about 2-3 hours of gameplay in the main story.
Of course, most of you will have already completed the main adventure at this point, and you’ll probably have at least one team of max-level Pokémon as well. The challenges you will encounter in Nordivia may be tough, but Pokémon are generally around levels 60-70. If you therefore want to face the expansion with a bit more challenge, we advise you to prepare a team at the same level, or at most level 80.
It’s a real shame that Game Freak hasn’t yet found a way to adapt the challenge to the player’s level, because the fights in Nordivia seem to want to raise the difficulty bar a little, but considering that many will play the expansion with Pokémon already at level 100, this effort risks being in vain.
Of course, there still remainsinexplicable absence of elaborate tactics on the part of human adversaries: Nobody uses tools, again, and at this point we are unlikely to see a change before the next games.
Summing up this first additional content for Pokémon Scarlet and Violetwe can tell ourselves overall satisfied. The story proved interesting, and its more intimate tone is a good way to separate itself from the main campaign.
Of course, the technical flaws remain, the lack of interiors to explore, the lack of strategy on the part of opposing coachesand all those defects that the DLC inevitably inherits from the main games.
We are therefore not faced with a sensational expansion that turns the tables on the table; rather, the developers focused on expanding the formula introduced in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet with a new story and a new piece of the world. Anyone who has appreciated the offer of the main games, despite their defects, will find here one more reason to enjoy Paldea and what it can offer, while those who were disappointed by Game Freak’s latest effort will have no reason to change their mind, with this DLC.