In the most recent Pokemon Scarlet and Violet trailer, The Pokemon Company showcased new pocket monsters and features, and more details about the three storylines in the games emerged. As it stands, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet players will be able to choose what to do and when to do it in Paldea, with the three main paths one can take being the Gym Challenge, the search for the Herba Mystica, and confronting the villainous Team Star. While the Gym Challenge is the one path that players will be more familiar with, the remaining two also share core mechanics with past Pokemon games, such as battles against Alpha and Totem Pokemon for the Titan Pokemon, and the typical showdown against a team of grunts.
All mainline Pokemon games so far have always featured their own villains, and while some of them are still quite memorable due to their goals and the way the characters were portrayed, fans have been arguing that the most recent additions don’t follow this trend. The first villainous team to truly stand out negatively in the mainline series was Team Skull, but Pokemon Sword and Shield had it even worse with Team Yell, which wasn’t even evil, to begin with. Based on Gen 9’s fifth trailer, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s Team Star seems to continue this devolving tradition, possibly becoming yet another bland set of adversaries.
Why Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s Team Star Doesn’t Make a Good Impression
Team Skull was primarily made of oddballs, a group of trainers who failed the island challenge and resorted to becoming thugs with the sole goal of causing trouble for others by stealing from them, be it Pokemon, money, or valuable items. This was a striking difference from iconic villainous teams in the Pokemon games up until Gen 6, with great examples being Team Rocket across Gen 1 and 2, Team Aqua and Magma in Gen 3, Team Plasma in Gen 5, and finally Team Flare. These teams all had precise goals that could have dreadful consequences if they succeeded, which made the story more effective because they upped the stakes.
Pokemon Sword and Shield‘s Team Yell was simply made of misfits who were trying to support the one trainer in the Gym Challenge from their hometown, all while they blocked some routes so that other participants couldn’t get through. It seemed that Team Yell was thrown into the mix with the purpose of acting as comic relief more than an actual threat, and then it was used as a way to gatekeep players from progressing through areas of the games that were intended for a later moment. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s Team Star does seem like it’s continuing this downhill trend too, as the opposing trainers seem to mainly want to cause trouble to fellow students of the academy.
In fact, Team Star’s grunts are just teenagers or young adults that still wear the academy’s uniform, even though what characterizes them is a biker’s helmet with star-shaped goggles on it. In the new Pokemon Scarlet and Violet trailer, Team Star’s members are described as rebellious students, and they seem to have gained a foothold in the region thanks to five bases scattered across Paldea, but little is known about their goals. It’s possible that, much like Team Skull, they are students who failed their classes and now want the academy to pay.
This would make Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s storyline less compelling than in past games, and Team Star could become more of a nuisance than an actual threat, depending on its motives and objectives. And yet, the most successful and compelling villainous teams in the series were those with concrete plans to cause havoc, often even having world-changing events in mind, such as Team Flare’s intention of reducing the global population to make the planet go back to a pure state. Team Star may be onto something bigger than Team Skull and Team Yell, so it’s worth giving these opponents the benefit of the doubt, but so far the presentation doesn’t bode well for Gen 9’s main antagonists.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are set to release on November 18, exclusively for Nintendo Switch.
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