Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are games that, while following the series formula, can feel different, and as you go through the motions of beating the Elite Four in the Victory Road path, that really stands out. The structure of these final fights and how the game leads up to it makes it feel like more of a test than in past games. You’re constantly being exposed to these people and, once you reach the point at which you can fight them, that last challenge feels like a more formal and professional endeavor than before.
Editor’s Note: There will be spoilers for the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Elite Four below.
Like I mentioned, the fact that we do keep seeing every Elite Four member as we begin beating the Pokemon League gyms during the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Victory Road storyline makes it seem like there is more professional oversight in Paldea. Rika, Poppy, Hassel, and Geeta keep making themselves known. They’ll pop up when you’re at gyms, introducing themselves and watching your progress. Geeta especially is very involved, practically lurking about as you progress through the system.
Larry especially ends up being quite a surprise. After all, we see him both as the Medali normal-type gym leader and as an Elite Four member. Which is interesting, as it hints at the structure of the Pokemon League and as his stature within the system. While he comes across as overworked, it also shows how much of a “job” being a member of this system can be. It again suggests more structure and professionalism to it all.
The dismissal of the actual Victory Road in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is another choice I appreciate. This can be a heavy game. By the time someone reaches the Elite Four, they might have moonlighted a bit, taking on other quests along the way. There could have been a sense of fatigue at an additional gauntlet, especially since that sort of dungeon format isn’t present in any other area of the game. So getting to get the go-ahead and head to the headquarters again lends a sense of formality. You proved you deserve to reach the Elite Four by beating all of the gyms that came before it.
Rika conducting an interview before facing the Elite Four in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is another moment that again shows that this challenge is serious business in Paldea. Especially since the interview is a test of its own. It isn’t too difficult, granted. As long as you keep track of what you said and remember your time spent with the game and stick with your decisions, passing is simple. Noting what you intend to do if and when you become champion, which gym you found most difficult, the name of that challenging gym’s leader, and its Pokemon type, is all you really need to do, as those questions involve follow ups during Rika’s interview. But even so, the fact that you do need to put some thought in and pay attention shows the gravity of the situation in a good way.
Finally, when facing both the Elite Four and Geeta herself, the ambiance surrounding the matches are important. After each fight, the previous member stays and watches the next. After taking down Rika and the ground-type team, Poppy comes out with the steel Pokemon. Rika watches the fight. When Poppy is beaten, she joins Rika and both watch the player defeat Larry and his flying-type team. Larry, in turn, joins the other two when Hassel comes out with the dragons. After beating all four Elite Four members in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, you get to hear all of their commentary before moving onto the match against Geeta and her Espathra, Avalugg, Kingambit, Veluza, Gogoat, and Glimmora. Then, when you fight Geeta, it is at the very top, in a very official capacity.
The only part of it all that isn’t a professional encounter is the last match against Nemona that caps it all off. When you face her after Geeta, it’s in Mesagoza in the city center. But then, that’s more of an appropriate bookend to your initial encounters and experiences with her. Especially since you’re going from fights against her when she’d only use, say, a Paldean starter, Pawmi, and Rockruff to now sending out a Lycanroc, Orthworm, Goodra, Pawmot, Dudunsparce, and fully evolved starter. You already did “prove” yourself before that last meeting with Nemona. So the formalities are done. This is more like a last match between two friends who are on the same skill level.
It all comes across as thought you applied to be acknowledged by the Pokemon League in Paldea. You proved yourself fit to be a champion through your actions. So once you start approaching the Elite Four in earnest in the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Victory Road path, it respects your endeavors and treats the whole affair in a formal, respectful way.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are available for the Nintendo Switch.