The Wild Area is one of the best ideas that Pokémon Sword and Shield introduced in the series, and it would work well as a permanent replacement for the old Safari Zone. While both are natural areas where the player can catch Pokémon, they diverge in two radically different directions. While the Wild Area is one of the better parts of Sword and shieldthe Safari Zone is outdated by comparison.
The Safari Zone was introduced in Pokémon Red and Blue as a special area of the map where the player can catch Pokémon without fighting it normally. While some Pokémon could be found elsewhere, there were a few rare Pokémon that could only be found in the Safari Zone. The Safari Zone would reappear in Hoenn and Sinnoh, as well as the Gen 4 remakes of Johto before being removed from the series. Brilliant diamond and shiny pearl‘s Great Marsh was the last version of the Safari Zone, and that was because it was a remake of Sinnoh.
The Safari Zone is long gone, but development in recent games has proven that the series can do just fine without it. The Wild Area is the best indication of this, as it can handle pretty much everything the Safari Zone did and more. Comparing the two makes it clear that the Wild Area is a big improvement, while also revealing the Safari Zone’s weaknesses.
The wild area of Pokémon is less restrictive than the Safari zone
Both the Wild Are and Safari Zone are their own areas of the world with their own unique mechanics that set them apart from the rest of the game. However, the execution of these mechanics varies wildly between the two. While the quirks of the Wild area add to its charm, the features of the Safari Zone make it more difficult to deal with.
with how pokemon dollars compared to real money, Safari Zone’s 500 Pokédollar entry doesn’t sound bad. However, this comes along with the fact that the Safari Zone has a strict limit on how long players can stay there. With the exception of the Johto Safari Zone, the player is immediately removed as soon as he takes 500 steps, regardless of how many Pokémon he has encountered or caught. This can make searching for the rare Pokémon that can only be found in the Safari Zone extremely difficult and expensive. Unlike, Sword and shield lets players stay in the Wild Area for as long as they want for free, so they can search for Pokémon at their leisure.
The wage demands and step limits made the Safari Zone more of an obstacle than an opportunity. Locking rare Pokémon behind such restrictions is frustrating for players, when normally the worst they have to deal with are low encounter rates, such as Dhelmise’s 1% encounter rate in Sword and shield. The Wild Area removed all those restrictions and was much better off doing so. Allowing players to catch Pokémon at their leisure makes the game much smoother.
The Safari Zone’s trapping mechanisms weren’t fun to use
The Safari Zone was not only in its own enclosed area, but also used its own set of Pokémon catching mechanisms instead of the usual battles. This was justified by the Safari Zone’s . used to be pokemon world equivalent of a nature reserve, so it makes sense that there would be no fighting. However, the catch mechanisms built in instead were not a satisfactory replacement.
When finding a Pokémon in the Safari Zone, the player is given three options. They can throw a Poké Ball in an attempt to catch the Pokémon, as you would expect, but the way Pokémon catching is done in the Safari Zone can make one feel that it’s better not to catch every Pokémon. They can also throw food, which will make the Pokémon less likely to run away at the cost of making them harder to catch the next turn, or throw mud or a rock for the opposite effect. Since there was always a chance that the Pokémon would run away anyway, there was no reason for the player not to throw a Safari Ball every turn. This made catching the rare Pokémon even more frustrating, as they had low catch rates that the player couldn’t improve through combat.
In comparison, the Wild Area just uses the same fighting and trapping mechanics as the rest of the game, and the end result is much better. It is basically a free space where the player can catch Pokémon to their heart’s content. On the other hand, the combination of limited time and a frustrating catch mechanic in the Safari Zone only proved that pokemon does not need the Safari Zone.
The Wild Area Has More To Do Than The Safari Zone
The mechanics of the Safari Zone have already been explained, and to be honest, that’s all there really is for the Safari Zone as a whole. It is a place where the player can catch Pokémon with different rules than the rest of the region. Unfortunately, the Safari Zone offers nothing else and that has a lot less impact than what the Wild Area had to offer.
In Sword and shield, the Wild Area offers the player many options in addition to catching Pokémon. They can collect berries from trees and use those berries to cook curries to heal their Pokémon. They can camp and play with their Pokémon to increase their friendship, making the Wild Area extra useful for Pokémon that evolve through friendship. The Wild Area is also home to the game’s way of collecting fossils, as well as one of the game’s daycare centers. The player can also collect Watts in the Wild Area and exchange them for items such as TRs, which can help Pokémon learn new moves.
The Wild Area also plays host to one of Sword and shield‘s best attractions, Dynamax Raids. These co-op battles not only offer more opportunities to catch powerful Pokémon, but they also reward players with items and Watts. With so much content in the Wild Area, the Safari Zone has almost nothing to offer in return. Obviously, the Safari Zone is not one of the classic mechanics that pokemon should bring back.
Into the wild area Sword and shield showed how outdated the design of the Safari Zone had become. With its clunky mechanics often leading to frustration, it’s not surprising that Safari Zones no longer appear after generation 4. While Pokémon Sword and Shield‘s Wild Area has the potential for a comeback, it’s best if the Safari Zone stays in the past.
Next: Pokémon: Why Pikachu Isn’t As Powerful In The Games As In The Anime