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Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Is Missing One Of Legends Arceus’ Best Features

Despite its flaws, Pokemon: Legends Arceus was a step in the right direction for the series, and made Scarlet & Violet look all the more promising. My favourite part of Arceus was, luckily, its main draw: running around and catching Pokemon to my heart’s content. Catching them was simple and quick — all I had to do was throw a Poke Ball at them, and that was that. If it broke out, I just threw another.

It seemed like a natural improvement for the tried-and-true catching formula, so when I discovered Scarlet & and Violet relied only on the old method, engaging a Pokemon in a long and tedious battle before attempting to capture it, I was sorely disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, I know the mechanic is there to reinforce Arceus’ main story — the whole point is to catch multiple Pokemon of the same species to complete your Pokedex and enrich the region’s fledgling knowledge of pocket monsters — but that doesn’t mean Scarlet & Violet wouldn’t have benefited from it too. Going back to the old method after experiencing what could (or should) have been the future is excruciating, and feels like a big step backward.

It takes so long to catch a Pokemon this way. First, you have to engage it in a battle. You have to deal damage and watch the same tired battle animations play out, which takes even longer if these moves activate Abilities or influence stats. Then, you have to weaken it just the right amount.​​​​​​​ Finally, you can throw a ball. If it breaks free, well, you have to repeat the entire cycle​​​​​​​ again. Compare that to Arceus: throw the ball. Throw another ball if necessary. Done. No funny business.

It’s not even the time it takes that’s the only issue. With​​​​​​​ Pokemon roaming freely being all around the overworld, flying, swimming, what have you, it feels like you were meant to be able to throw Poke Balls outside of battle. Despite the game being bigger and the many delays caused by the pandemic, Scarlet & Violet hit its three-year cycle window perfectly, so the feature may have been cut.

During a Mass Outbreak of Noivern, I struggled to even engage the Pokemon (normally or with the Let’s Go feature) because they were flying too far out of reach. When a Shiny appeared, I had to get on a ledge from above using Miraidon and literally launch myself on top of the Pokemon to even encounter it. It all would’ve been so much easier if I could have just thrown Poke Balls.

Some of the mechanics are​​​​​​​ even left over from Arceus — you can crouch to sneak up on a Pokemon, but what’s the point when riding Miraidon or Koraidon is infinitely faster than any Pokemon can run, and you’ll need to engage them in a normal battle right away regardless? I’ve not used this ability even once, but in Arceus, I used it all the time.

I’ll probably still fill up my Pokedex to get my hands on the Shiny Charm, but every time a Pokemon breaks free, I’ll think back fondly on what we had with Legends: Arceus.

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