I’ve recently finished playing through Pokemon Scarlet and Violet and as much as I loved the game’s final act “The Way Home” and how fun the games were, I find it difficult to pick the game back up after completing it since there’s no post game content like the Battle Frontier.
Sure, we got to play through what was essentially a tournament arc right after the final act, but it felt more like a fun little event rather than be considered as proper post game content.
It’s been a personal gripe that the post game content after Gen 5 with Black & White and Black 2 & White 2 had felt extremely underwhelming. Some would retort my argument by bringing up ORAS’s Delta episode, or Sun & Moon’s Ultra Beast questline as well as the aforementioned final act in SV. But what’s there after completing it?
To me, what makes for a fun post game content in Pokemon is replayability, something that I can get hooked with and easily dump in hundreds of hours into. Hence, that’s why I believe the Battle Frontier is the pinnalce of it.
Advanced Battle, Unbeatable
The first instant of the Battle Frontier was introduced back in Gen 3 with Pokemon Emerald. The player is teased about this as early as reaching Petalburg City after the catching tutorial with Wally. You’ll meet up with an NPC named Scott who talks about searching for talented trainers in the Hoenn region.
Scott becomes a recurring NPC throughout your journey, appearing ever so often after completing various objectives on your road of becoming champion. It is later revealed that Scott is actually the owner of the Battle Frontier.
For newer Pokemon fans, the Battle Frontier (specifically in Pokemon Emerald) is an area in which there are seven different battle facilities, each governed by a strong trainer with the title “Frontier Brain”. Defeating them will net you Symbols, each representing a singular trait: Knowledge, Guts, Tactics, Luck, Spirit, Brave and Ability. To put it in layman terms, they’re pretty much like gym leaders.
This is where the Battle Frontier shines, each of these facilities offer very unique gameplay twist to them. The added freshness to the repititive loop of Pokemon battles is what makes the Battle Frontier so enjoyable.
To list some of the more notable ones, you got the Battle Pike where the player has to go through seven rooms. But before entering these rooms the player has to choose between one of three rooms to enter and depending on your luck, various of events will trigger.
The events ranges from your usual Single/Double battles, to a rowdy Pokemon inflicting a random status to your Pokemon, or encountering a receptionist that will fully restore your Pokemon.
The Battle Pike makes it a roguelike game, where it all boils down to luck; which makes it fitting since Pike Queen Lucy gives you the Symbol of luck when defeating her. And while it came back in the form of the Battle Arcade, it’s not quite the same as entering the status inflicting room three times in a row.
Another interesting faciltiy that’s worth mentioning is the Battle Pyramid, helmed by Pyramid King Brandon. The Battle Pyramid features a 7 layer field where players need to advance from one level to the next by stepping on a blue tile.
But there’s a catch, each level is covered in darkness and the only way to light up the place is by defeating trainers. While in the pyramid, players aren’t allowed to bring in items. Instead, players can find various of items scattered across the facility and store them in a temporary bag which can only fit a limited amount of item slots. Which makes item and resource management essential in surviving the gauntlet.
And if that’s not difficult enough, Pyramid King Brandon’s team consists of all three Regis that are EV trained, and he leads with Regirock that has a Quick Claw equipped and knows the move Explosion. Talk about scummy.
Unlike the Battle Pike which relies on luck, the Battle Pyramid tests your decision making skills and endurance, which newer Pokemon games don’t quite have.
The Battle Frontier continued on with Gen 4 with Pokemon Platinum and HeartGold & SoulSilver, but only having 5 facilities instead of 7. As well as a slightly different naming convention for the trainers governing them. (I’ll still be referring them to Frontier Brains for convenience sake)
And that’s just two of the many Frontier Brains available in the game. In short, the Battle Frontier offers a handful of unique gameplay loop to keep players invested in without it getting too stale.
And these aren’t just minor tweaks, we’re talking about adding in brand new features like the casino-esque Battle Arcade in the Gen 4 games.
Players have to essentially play a game of roulette before the battle starts to dictate additional factors that may turn the tides like adding in weather effects or level changes.
Being post game, the Pokemon that the NPCs have are curated from the list of Mons from the National Dex. Which means they can have access to all Pokemon from the region, adding both variety and a spike in difficulty in team building.
Bring Back the Front Lines
And while Gen 4 saw the return of the Battle Frontier, it was also the last Gen to have it. Sure we have the post-game content in the form of the Battle Tower in the later installments, but it’s only a shell of its former self.
Many fans like myself have been patiently waiting for its return ever since GameFreak teased us about it in the Battle Resort in ORAS. And after 8 whole years, there’s no updates on that front.
Rants aside, I just really hope that the Battle Frontier will come back soon, especially if you factor in implementing the various gimmicks that the later Pokemon games have into the mix.
It’s been rumoured that Pokemon Violet and Scarlet will be having DLCs, much like Sword and Shield. So who knows, they might finally add in the Battle Frontier. (Coping)
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