Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are atypical entries in many ways. The execution of its story is perhaps the most profound change. Rather than a traditional path to the Elite Four and eventual fame as a regional Pokemon Champion, fighting a team with nefarious intentions along the way, it divides its campaign into three parts. People can journey to be a champion like Nemona in Victory Road! There is Team Star to deal with and dismantle in Starfall Street! Arven’s faithful Mabosstiff needs help as you chase down Titan Pokemon and Herba Mystica ingredients in Path of Legends! While distinct, they sort of intertwine for the sake of leveling up. Which means it is even more appropriate when the characters and stories come together and result in a satisfying twist in the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.
Editor’s Note: There will be spoilers for the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet ending, as well as for characters like Professor Sada, Professor Turo, Arven, and Penny.
Depending on which one of the stories you complete first in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, you might get an idea that something is coming with regards to the ending. Both Starfall Street and Victory Road wrap up in a tidy manner. However, we don’t really encounter the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Professors Sada or Turo outside of Path of Legends. Not to mention Path of Legends itself ends on a cliffhanger! After getting all the Herba Mysticas and beating Arven’s team, there’s still the matter of his professor parent asking them both to come to the Great Crater of Paldea. Something is up, and Arven flat out says they need someone with the intelligence and technical skill to deal with mechanical barriers and another with fighting prowess to help handle the exceptionally strong Pokemon there.
These tied up stories and character interactions end up being the first “satisfying” parts of the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet ending. Everyone’s here! We reunite and get to work together. From the introduction and Arven’s storyline, we already had hints that he and Nemona knew each other. With Penny, it’s a chance to make even more friends after dealing with the bullies in the past at the academy and ensuring Team Star, the group she helped form, didn’t go to far and find a new, more helpful purpose. It also means that, unlike other rivals in Pokemon games, we get another chance to have one more adventure together. This time, we all go along and see new interactions.
It ends up being exceptionally fulfilling once we’re actually inside the crater and unlocking the barriers to reach Professor Sada or Turo’s lab. In the main game, you can have other players you know join you as you explore the world and encounter Pokemon. Well, this happens with Arven, Nemona, and Penny during the duration of the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet ending. They walk alongside you in the field. They talk amongst themselves, allowing you to see how they relate to one another. If you enter certain fights, one of them will toss out one of their own Pokemon to assist you. There’s a sense of community.
However, that twist on gameplay isn’t the only welcome one. Throughout Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, there’s an air of mystery around each professor. You only encounter them via video calls. Their lab is abandoned and hasn’t been touched since Arven was last there. As you journey into the depths of the Great Crater of Paldea’s Area Zero, the checkpoint station messages and atmosphere becomes increasingly haunting. By the time you reach the last two, it’s clear that something is wrong with either Professor Sada or Turo, depending on the version you are playing. The reveal that the real professor is dead, you have been talking to an AI clone in a robot body all along, and the time machine they used is threatening the present, is a huge shock compared to past experiences with professors in the Pokemon world.
Especially given the thought that maybe this Pokemon Scarlet and Violet professor wasn’t entirely working with the world’s best intentions in mind. After all, Sada or Turo ended up making their mechanical clone into a failsafe to ensure the time machine would keep working. So even if the Paradox Pokemon from the past or future would prove a danger, the Paradise Protection Protocol is going to try and keep the professor’s dream alive. It’s only after you’ve sufficiently beaten it and the other Koraidon or Miraidon with the one you’ve traveled alongside the whole game that the clone is able to break free and travel into either the past or future with the machine to eliminate the threat. That it comes down to this major battle against someone you’d expect to be a trusted authority figure with the new Legendary you’ve spent hours exploring with is so rewarding.
The Pokemon Scarlet and Violet ending really makes it feel like you’ve accomplished something great not only for yourself, but Paldea in general. It’s as though everything you and your allies from Path of Legends, Starfall Street, and Victory Road storylines learned came together to make it possible for you to be heroes. Not to mention it all being and feeling so different from past Pokemon endings ensures it is a memorable moment. It’s a fulfilling effort that makes the dozens of hours invested feel worthwhile.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are available for the Nintendo Switch.