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Your biggest Pokémon Scarlet and Violet questions, answered

A FAQ for the latest installment of the Pokémon franchise

An eager Pokémon trainer cuddles their new Sprigatito Image: Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is the newest Pokémon title in the series, bringing trainers to the Paldea region, which is full of new Pokémon and familiar faces.

The game pulls a lot from Pokémon Legends: Arceus, like being able to see the Pokémon on the map and being able to teach your Pokémon moves from a menu, rather than a move tutor.

GameFreak also advertised that you could do content out of order, however you please, though it’s not quite as true as advertised. The game is gigantic and it can seem daunting, so we’ve compiled some of the early questions we had (and we saw that people online had) and answered them here.

How long is Pokémon Scarlet and Violet?

As of writing this, I have 27 hours in the game. I’ve beaten the entire main story through completely and I’ve seen the credits roll. I’ve also caught about 100 Pokémon, but I have not caught any post-game legendary Pokémon or rematched against any gym leaders. – Julia Lee

How long does the Nintendo Switch battery last when playing Pokémon Scarlet and Violet?

I was able to play for six to seven hours, on full brightness, on my OLED Nintendo Switch before I had to plug in the console. — Nicole Carpenter

Does Pokémon Scarlet and Violet have level scaling?

Nope. If you’re just running around wildly, you’ll encounter Pokémon both much higher and lower level than you.

Iono, the electric-type gym leader who streams online, raises her arms up with big floppy yellow sleeves Image: Game Freak/The Pokémon Company, Nintendo via Polygon

Do I really get to do anything I want in any order?

Kind of. You can do things in whatever order, but you will need to take on at least one Team Star base before you can explore the full map, as the northern part of the map is blocked off on both the east and west side of Paldea.

Some areas, like small islands and high cliffs, require you to find Herba Mystica by taking down Titan Pokémon before you can access them. Feeding your mount Herba Mystica will teach them new traversal abilities.

Should I do Victory Road, Starfall Street, or Path of Legends first?

The sad and boring answer here is that you should be doing all of them at once. If you only take on gyms or only fight Titan Pokémon, you’ll notice huge level jumps between battles. However, if you mix in the content together, you’ll see that they all flow together pretty seamlessly, level-wise.

What’s the recommended gym/Team Star/Titan Pokémon order?

You can mostly go out of order if you want to spice things up, but if we were to rank all of the challenges by level, it would go like this, from lowest to highest:

Can you see shiny Pokémon before you encounter them?

Yes, if a Pokémon is shiny, it’ll appear before you as shiny, so you don’t have to battle every Pokémon you see to check.

Does game time match up to real time?

No, but also yes. Raids and mass outbreaks change at midnight according to the time on your Nintendo Switch. (It did every night for us on the dot, at least.)

However, the weather and the day and night cycle in-game does not use your Nintendo Switch’s clock. It may be daytime in real life, but nighttime in the game. Weather will come and go randomly as well, rather than being locked to a full day, like how it worked in Sword and Shield.

Are TMs single-use in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet?

Yes, but you can make more TMs at Pokémon Centers by using materials that Pokémon drop after battling or catching them.

Should I be spending my regular money or my LP?

You can spend LP (League Points) on anything in lieu of money, but you need LP to make TMs. That being said, if you have all the TMs you want, spend your LP as you see fit. If you’re running low on money and you desperately need healing items or Poké Balls, you should also feel free to crack into LP funds.

What level should I be before I start the Elite Four?

You should be around level 60. You can probably beat it with level 55 Pokémon if you have good counters, but to be safe, we would recommend level 60 and higher.

Geeta, the Pokémon League Champion, stares you down on top of a building Image: Game Freak/The Pokémon Company, Nintendo via Polygon

Can you fight the Elite Four more than once?

The rumor you may have heard is true. You can’t fight the Elite Four more than once in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find tough battles for late-game EXP.

Once you’ve beaten the Elite Four and finished all the other questlines, you’ll be able to revisit each gym again to re-battle the trainers there. Their Pokémon will be at higher levels (around level 60 or a bit higher). Once you finish the circuit, you’ll get invited to participate in the Academy Ace Tournament discussed earlier in the game. That’ll pair you up with four different opponents — both students and teachers — from the academy in a tournament-style battle. It seems like these opponents may be different each time: On my first run through, I battled Arven, Mr. Jacq, Ms. Dendra, and Geeta. Each of them had teams in the level 60 to 70 range.

Once you’ve been through that, you can enter the tournament again from the academy desk. — NC

When can I get Paradox Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet?

You can catch Paradox Pokémon, bizarre new Pokémon from the past and future that are related to existing Pokémon, in The Great Crater after you complete all three routes: Victory Road, Starfall Street, and Path of Legends. Only a few will show up initially, but after the credits roll, the remainder of the Paradox Pokémon will show up in the crater.

Does Pokémon Scarlet and Violet have post-game content?

There are more legendary Pokémon to catch and gym leaders to rematch, but Pokémon Scarlet and Violet lack a “battle tower” type system. However, there’s a robust endgame. Once you’ve rematched each gym leader, the Academy Ace Tournament will kick off at the school, like mentioned above. These are four battles, likely randomized, putting players up to higher level battles with school students and faculty.

There’s also more to do elsewhere in the world, which entails exploring the map to seek out these four chained up shrines/gates around Paldea. Though we’ve located these shrines, we haven’t unlocked what’s inside — likely new Scarlet and Violet Pokémon. Part of that process is finding all these stakes around Paldea and activating them. (You may start finding these before you’ve “officially” reached post-game content, too.) After that, we’re not sure what happens, but will keep you updated as we progress further in the post-game.

Can I use Pokémon Home to transfer Pokémon to Scarlet and Violet?

As of writing this, no. Compatibility between the app and new games should come in spring 2023. Using Pokémon Home, you’ll be able to transfer specific Pokémon between the two games. In addition to the 400 Pokémon in the regional Paldea Pokédex, there are a few others you’ll be able to transfer, like Hisuian Zorua and Kleavor.

How do Pokémon Scarlet and Violet run on Nintendo Switch?

As of this writing, there are pretty significant performance problems with Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. A lot of the problems are visual, with objects clipping through the world, excessive character and Pokémon pop-in, and frame rate issues. Occasionally, we’ve experienced crashing at key moments, too. While the visual issues are annoying, they aren’t bad enough to hinder gameplay — except for the crashing — but whether or not you can play through the problems is something you’ll have to decide.

Overall, it’s pretty clear that the size and scope of the game was impacted by the aging hardware of the Nintendo Switch.

If you have more questions, feel free to leave them below, and we’ll answer to the best of our abilities.