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The Indigo Disk DLC is some of the better post-game content in the franchise for a while. If the Teal Mask was a side story that you could check out at your leisure, then The Indigo Disk is the proper follow-up to the events of the mainline game. There are more battles, new mechanics, new character development, and a significant increase in the franchise’s lore. I had the pleasure of sampling some of the game a couple of weeks ago, but now that I’ve had the time to sit down and really chew on it, does the final part of this DLC pack improve the overall quality of the Pokémon Scarlet and Violet experience?

Well, it doesn’t improve the quality visually or performance! Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way: the game still runs relatively poorly, especially compared to Nintendo Switch games that have just come out in the past month. I have more or less given up on the fact that this game is going to get any significant updates or installments that will improve it from a performance or visual standpoint, but that doesn’t mean I still can’t be disappointed that this is how one of the most popular gaming franchises in the world was treated. The Teal Mask probably runs a bit worse, but there aren’t any significant improvements either. The frame rate still struggles to maintain thirty, the draw distance is terrible with instances of Pokémon just popping into the frame a split second before you run into them, collision detection is wonky, and textures can load in randomly during gameplay as well as during cutscenes. At least the music is still good, with remixes and energy-pumping tracks that help things feel intense.

Maybe this is standard since we’re dealing with a significantly larger area than The Teal Mask, but I don’t think that’s an excuse. The location of The Indigo Disk is at Blueberry Academy, a school in the middle of the ocean that exists on top of a Terarium. In its artificially created habitat, dozens of new Pokémon can be raised. This is how the developer brought the return of older Pokémon to the franchise, and much like The Teal Mask, I think GAME FREAK‘s selection was strong. Obviously, I can’t guarantee that your favorite Pokémon will return. Still, with every starter across every generation and some significant powerhouses like Metagross, returning casual and competitive fans will be happy. Plus, considering the noticeable overhaul to the game’s battle AI, you’ll want to experiment with Pokémon in this DLC.

One of the main gimmicks for Blueberry Academy is that almost every battle that takes place is a double battle. For those who don’t know, double battles are the standard for competitive Pokémon play. GAME FREAK seemed to go out of its way to ensure that many NPCs utilize competitive strategies. There isn’t anything game-breaking here; if you’re aware of specific patterns, you can work around them. But I can guarantee you won’t be able to brute force through everything unless you’ve put significant time into leveling up and strategizing. NPCs use items like berries and focus sashes to tank hits and set up strategies. A lot of Pokémon have access to their hidden abilities, which give them significant advantages under the right conditions, and there are a few teams that are brought up to revolve around a specific gimmick like weather conditions or the move trick room. I’ve already put over three hundred hours into this game and have trained competitive Pokémon teams, but the fact that some of the trainers could take out half of my Pokémon at times is a testament.

This increase in difficulty makes sense when you consider that The Indigo Disk cannot be accessed unless you’ve beaten the mainline game and The Teal Mask. This is post-game content in every sense of the word, and I’m looking forward to GAME FREAK expanding upon that difficulty curve in the future because, at the very least, it shows that they are paying attention to how fans interact with their games. However, the increased difficulty isn’t the only thing indicative of this being post-game content, as The Indigo Disk does follow up on story beats and ideas that have been laid before.

There are two parts to The Indigo Disk story. The first part deals with establishing yourself as a new student at Blueberry Academy and how your introduction ends up stirring up something in your rival, Kieran. Kieran’s arc started in The Teal Mask, and with a simple misunderstanding, it highlighted a lot of deep insecurities in him that pushed Kieran to get stronger. The Indigo Disk follows up on that character arc where Kieran goes so far into the opposite direction of proving himself that he ends up negatively affecting those around him. In some ways, you feel for the kid, and his penchant for overworking himself to get even a smidge better than he was before was relatable. But the fact that he starts taking out his frustrations on everybody else pushes the player and rival to intervene. It’s funny how much they make Kieran double down before he eventually learns his lesson, and in some ways, his arc can be seen as a bit melodramatic. But in this type of game, I think that insecure edginess is at least slightly warranted.

The second part of the story deals with the Terastal phenomenon. I won’t spoil too much, but seeing certain story beats come back from The Indigo Disk was fascinating. I thought the storytelling in The Teal Mask was OK, but The Indigo Disk does feature more narrative strength equivalent to what we saw in the main game with the right amount of foreshadowing in payoff towards the game’s worldbuilding. The Indigo Disk reminded me a bit of Pokémon X and Y with how much lore there was to Terastalization. It was satisfying how it ties everything together with just enough left open for potential future installments for fans to theorize.

You could probably complete The Indigo Disk’s story in about six hours if you blitz through everything, but it will take a bit longer with the abundance of side content. Blueberry Academy introduced Blueberry Buests or BBQs (hilarious guys) for you to complete around the Terarium to collect points that can be exchanged for items or for unlocking other challenges. The variety of challenges here is a massive step up from The Teal Mask, from freeform flying to even taking control of and roaming the land as a Pokémon! The ladder, in particular, feels like a prototype mode that GAME FREAK is testing for a potential future game. I hope that is the case because just running around and witnessing the different Pokémon animations is enough of a time-sink. Not all of the BBQ challenges are fun, unfortunately. Some are just mindless, while others are the realm of tedious, but the sheer variety they give you once you reach a certain point in the game is so large that you can honestly start racking up points passively just by doing other things without paying attention.

Overall, I think adding The Indigo Disk alone is worth the price of admission for both parts of the DLC package. It still doesn’t look great, which will always frustrate me, especially when I need to review these games critically. But the amount of content here is enough to satisfy most Pokémon fans. There’s a lot here for casual and competitive players to chew on, and seeing the end of Kieran’s story is fun, if a little drawn out. It’s hard to say what’s on the horizon for the Pokémon franchise as this generation comes to an end here. There will still be new Pokémon events, and the competitive scene will be fun to watch for the next couple of months, but as for what comes next, we will just have to wait and see.

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Pokémon Scarlet and Violet DLC: The Indigo Disk Game DLC Review – Game Review