Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet: The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero – An Exciting Trip Abroad

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Thomas Richards
| February 21, 2024
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DLC expansions are commonplace in the gaming world today. Most games will have some form of DLC, such as cosmetic items, boosters, or even a new character. Some games even get story DLC packs that build on the plot foundation established in the main game. Pokémon used to be one of the series that didn’t have any DLC (not counting releasing two versions of the game), but that changed with Sword and Shield with the Sword and Shield expansions pass. After their first foray into DLC, fans wondered what future Pokémon game DLC might look like. Well, we have that very answer in The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero. This DLC expansion for Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet had two drops with The Teal Mask and The Indigo Disk. They’ve added new areas, characters, and a brand new chapter in the story of Scarlet and Violet. But is this expansion worth the money? Let’s find out.

A Trip to Kitakami

I’m sure this story has a happy ending. (The Pokémon Company)

The first half of The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero was The Teal Mask, and it was a fun way to get this DLC train rolling. The new area to explore is called Kitakami, which has mystery and excitement. This new area feels very different from the base game region of Paldea, with the rock pillars in the water, the apple orchard, the mountain with a face on it, and even a crystal lake. I had a blast running through this new area and encountering some familiar Pokémon I hadn’t seen in a while. Speaking of Pokémon, The Teal Mask brought back a host of old Pokémon, including my favourite little bug, Grubbin (side note: you don’t need to buy the DLC to get the returning Pokémon in your game. You can transfer them through Pokémon HOME). They also added eight new creatures, with my favourite from the bunch being Ogerpon (the cover legendary).

Aside from the Pokémon, the new gameplay additions introduced in this DLC were fun. I lost a fair bit of time trying to get a high score in Ogre-Ousting (a game where you have to collect berries by popping balloons), and the camera mini-game with Perrin was a nice change of pace. A handful of new characters were also introduced, and they were all great to interact with. I already mentioned Perrin, who is a photographer with writer’s block, and her questline is all about helping her get her mojo back. Then we have the stars of this story, Kieran and Carmine. These siblings are at the story’s centre in both DLCs, but we first meet them here. Their sibling dynamic is enjoyable (and relatable if you have siblings), and I enjoyed their interactions. Their character arcs and story also take a turn that I was not expecting, but I really enjoyed. Overall, it is an enjoyable DLC and intro to this new story.

No 1 Exchange Student

Someone has been listening to My Chemical Romance. (The Pokémon Company)

The Indigo Disk is the second part of the DLC, and I’d say it’s probably the best DLC Pokémon has done. Not only do we get the continuation of the story from The Teal Mask, but the new Terrarium area is something I didn’t know I needed in my life. This giant dome is filled with Pokémon just roaming around, and you’re free to wander around each of the four biomes and explore to your heart’s content. This new area not only has Pokémon such as Blitzle returning for the first time since Gen 5, but it’s also possible to catch every single starter Pokémon in the wild! Sure, you gotta do a bunch of side-missions to unlock them, but you can catch as many Mudkip as you want now! This DLC also introduces the new legendary Pokémon Terapagos, and this little turtle has already shot up my list of favourite Pokémon. There’s even a new feature that allows you to control one of your Pokémon and run around as them, which not only allows for faster grinding but is also a neat thing to do.

The story is also one of Pokémon’s best plots in a while. It picks up after The Teal Mask and after Kieran has a mental breakdown after not being able to defeat you. He and his sister attend Blueberry Academy in the Unova region, where you go as an exchange student. It didn’t take long to be thrown into the thick of it, with Kieran revealed to be going through his edgy phase and has become champion of the school’s Pokémon League (called the BB league). The story then leads to defeating the BB Elite Four (which are all surprisingly tough battles, even with an over-levelled team) and challenging Kieran once again to end his edgy phase. There’s some more stuff about the lore of the Paldea region, which is interesting, but I won’t spoil it here. What I will spoil is that every single battle in the Terrarium is a double battle, which was a nice change of pace and ramped the difficulty up a few notches.

All Good Things Come to an End

Yep, sure is a red pillow. (The Pokémon Company)

An epilogue was made available for download a few months after the Indigo Disk was released. It’s nothing too crazy, but it does round out the story of both the DLC and the main game in a satisfying way. It also lets you catch a new mythical Pokémon, which I’ll never complain about. Overall, The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero and its epilogue are leagues better than the Sword and Shield Expansion pass. The added content easily added at least 20 hours to my overall playtime, and I enjoyed every second. The new areas are a joy to explore, and the new characters are engaging and have story arcs that have satisfying conclusions. It was nice to see some of my old favourite Pokémon return, and the new additions to this ever-growing roster are great. You also unlock the ability to fly around on Koraidon or Miraidon after finishing The Indigo Disk, which is just plain fun.

Ahh, memories. (The Pokémon Company)

Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet: The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero is an excellent expansion. I loved every second of my time in Kitakami and at Blueberry Academy. If Game Freak can continue this steady improvement rate, I think we’ll get something special real soon. Be sure to check out our other articles on The Teal Mask and The Indigo Disk, and keep it locked to Couch Soup for more Pokémon content to feed your hungry nerd soul.

Did you play The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero? What did you think? Which new Pokémon was your favourite? Let us know in the comments where we can theorise what is next for Pokémon.

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