Pokémon Crimson is finally doing what I’ve always wanted

Pokémon Crimson and Crimson in Hands on Preview.

On November 18, 2022 it’s that time again: Choose one of three new starters, put on your backpack and set off to collect eight Arena Badges, win the Pokémon League and become the very best. In contrast to the previous editions, however, Crimson and Crimson introduce a decisive change: this time we plunge into a completely open game world and have more freedom than ever before.

As part of a preview event, I was able to breathe in the fresh open world air of the Paldea region inspired by Spain and Portugal for an hour and a half, tried out a side mission and the new co-op mode, fought and of course caught a lot of Pokémon. But one after anonther.

Legendary as a multifunctional moped

Crimson Miraidon and Crimson Koraidon are used for locomotion through the game world.

On my preview foray I explore a small area full of lush green meadows in the east of the map. Luckily, I don’t just have to rely on my own two little trainer legs, I can also make myself comfortable on the back of my legendary Poké companion Koraidon. The powerful beast has motorcycle tires on its breastplate and thus serves as an efficient locomotion helper that can not only drive, but also jump, climb, swim and slide.

Koraidon, Miraidon and other edition differences

In the Pokémon Crimson Edition, Koraidon is available as a legendary movement Pokémon, while in Crimson you get Miraidon. Both differ only visually, but basically have the same abilities, i.e. they can run, climb, slide and swim.

In addition, you can expect other differences, including certain Pokémon that only appear in the respective edition. You can find all the edition differences between Crimson and Crimson in this GamePro article.

I call Koraidon (or Miraidon in purple) simply by pressing a button and then quickly ride through the world on his “saddle”. So I cover long distances at lightning speed, climb mountains and rock formations, cross rivers and lakes and glide through the air to overcome deep chasms.

All of this is controlled intuitively and simply. For example, if we approach a body of water, Koraidon automatically switches to swimming mode. If I just want to get from A to B quickly, one thing is a bit annoying: I can be attacked by wild Pokémon even when I’m sitting on my Legendary and in the worst case I’ll be stopped because a fight will start immediately every time (more on combat below). So I quickly got used to just hopping over wild Pokémon.

Here you can also watch our first impression of crimson and purple in video form:

Crimson & Crimson Delivers First True Open World For Pokemon – What Else Is New?

In the Open World sog

As already seen in Legends Arceus, wild Pokémon roam through world history and not only breathe life into Paldea, but also awaken a strong urge to explore. Well-known Pokémon such as Eevee and Sheinux roam the wide green fields, but also many new beasts from the ninth generation, such as the cute little pig Ferkuli. Enton hordes rest at lakes, Magikarp swim in the cool water, and, and, and. So many little monsters! I want to catch them all right away!

First impression – graphics and technology

Graphics and technology still leave a lot to be desired. While Pokémon and character models are all fantastically and lovingly designed, environments are shockingly lacking in detail. There are also muddy textures on floors and rock faces.

In addition, there were repeated frame rate drops and pop-ups during the game, for example NPCs in cities only loaded properly when I was five meters in front of them.

Important note at this point: I did not get a taste of the final version of the game, but an early development version. So there is hope that a lot will happen here before the release.

So Paldea manages to captivate me after just a few minutes and drive me from Pokémon to Pokémon. Gathering remains a key part of the Crimson/Crimson formula, and one of the things I enjoyed most during my preview session.

As in previous parts, this time we can take a Pokémon from our team for a walk.

Turn based combat as ever

So how exactly does gathering and fighting work? If, like me, you’ve played Legends: Arceus before, you don’t have to change your mind much at first. As usual, I use the shoulder buttons to first target a free-roaming Pokémon and then throw a Poké Ball at the creature to start a fight. By crouching first and sneaking up from behind, I can even catch certain monsters, like a slow-moving Enton, by surprise and get the first strike.

So far, so usual. But there is one small change: Unlike in Arceus, I can no longer catch pocket monsters directly from the game, but always start a fight with every Pokéball throw. So I can only grab the desired beast if I select the Pokéball (or Superball, etc.) in the battle menu. So in terms of catching, Crimson and Crimson goes back to the roots of the series.

The fights themselves follow the typical Poké pattern. Turn-based, four attacks to choose from, rock-paper-scissors principle. Long-established trainers feel right at home here and know what they have to do. By the way, as in Arceus, there is no longer a separate battle screen. The Poké Friction takes place in the exact spot where I attacked the specific Pokémon (or it attacked me). Practical, because annoying black fades, which only tear me out of the action unnecessarily, are avoided.

Co-op mode and raids

Crimson and Crimson also has a multiplayer component:

  • As in Sword and Shield, you can take part in raids with up to three other players via Switch Online: You fight particularly strong Pokémon that are divided into different tiers (one star, two stars, etc.). Unlike in Sword/Shield, the battles are no longer turn-based, but instead take place in real time. So you have to coordinate even more and cleverly use the new Terracrystallization ability to boost your Pokémon at the right time.
  • Four-player co-op: For the first time, you can also play co-op with up to three other trainers via Switch Online. Either you invite friends to your world or you join the respective host (world progress is saved on the host). You can then run through the open world together, catch Pokémon, fight and complete smaller mini-games.

Chaotic Team Star base and many unanswered questions

At the end of my try-out session, I did another side activity, which didn’t knock my socks off in terms of gameplay. Team Star is essentially our rival team that has set up camp throughout the game world. The task: Storm a base in the middle of a crevice and defeat 30 Fire-type Pokémon from Team Star and then defeat the respective leader in a final battle.

However, I do not defeat the 30 Pokémon in conventional turn-based battles. Instead, I send out up to two Pokémon from my team with the push of a button, which automatically attack the enemy beasts while I’m free to roam. Of course, this speeds up the fighting, but it also plays chaotically and monotonously.

You can see even more of the game in this latest trailer:

Pokémon Crimson & Crimson Trailer introduces the new Electric-type Pokémon Wampitz

Of course, an hour and a half of playing time is far from enough to properly assess the open world gameplay. During my playthrough session I was able to explore a small section in the eastern part of Paldea, so I’ve only seen a fraction of the huge map so far. Accordingly, many questions remain unanswered.

As usual, our main task in the final game will be to collect eight Gym Badges and then compete against the best of the best in the Pokémon League. But how does Paldea want to keep us busy beyond that? Which side quests are there besides the Team Star challenges and do they have more to offer in terms of content and gameplay? And even if you don’t, the core of the game is still collecting Pokémon, and thanks to Open World that could be even more fun in earlier parts.

Pokémon Crimson and Crimson will be released on November 18, 2022 for Nintendo Switch. We have summarized all known information about crimson and purple in the large GamePro overview for you.

What are your wishes for Pokémon Crimson and Crimson?

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