Pokemon Scarlet and Violet offers the first fully open world in the mainline Pokemon series, but that’s not the only new feature. While Pokemon Sword and Shield had areas where players could run around together, the entire region of Paldea can be explored in up to four-player co-op. Though you have the option to play with your friends throughout the entire game, not everything works fully in co-op. Here’s everything you need to know about co-op in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.
How to get into a co-op session
The ability to get into a co-op session, referred to in-game as a Union Circle, is unlocked very early in the game, as soon as you reach the first Pokemon Center. While it unlocks this early, there are limitations on what you can do at this point in the game, so it’s best to get through the early hours of the game and get set loose into the world first. To set up a Union Circle, head to a Pokemon Center and interact with the yellow kiosk or open the menu and head to the Poke Portal. From here, you choose Union Circle and can either set up a lobby or join one. Access to the lobby will be restricted by a four digit code. Make sure you are playing in online mode before trying to set up a Union Circle.
Activities designed for co-op
The primary appeal of playing co-op is playing the Tera Raids together. These raids can be found across Paldea, offering up Pokemon with unique Tera Types. These raids have to be done with four players–although the game will fill your lobby with bots if necessary–so having your friends with you can speed up the process of finding a full lobby. These raids also offer extra rewards, like EXP items and valuable items that can be sold.
In addition to the Tera Raids, you can also trade and battle with your friends. Beyond that, you can explore the open world with your friends, searching for new Pokemon to catch and battle, although you cannot battle or catch wild Pokemon together, just near each other.
Things that can be done in co-op sessions
While the focus of co-op is the Tera Raids, you can do pretty much any other activity in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet while in co-op, although it doesn’t add much to the experience. Players can complete gyms and other battles for badges to earn story progression, but the other members of the co-op session can’t see these battles or participate in any way. The progress carries over so it isn’t a waste to do those things in co-op, but playing together does impact performance, so you would be enjoying a worse experience.
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