Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Review: A diamond with a couple flaws

Written by on 29th November 2022

Whether or not you play Pokemon, it is fair to say that it has stood the test of time. Since the release of Pokemon Red and Blue in 1996, the franchise has changed and developed to keep up with the tastes of gamers across the world. 

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have innovated again, taking lessons from wild zones in Pokemon Sword and Shield and the open world of Pokemon Legends: Arceus to deliver a true open world main game. 

The Paldea region has opened up the scope of adventure, offering players a break from linear game play to give them the power to choose their own path. 

This core tenet of choice allows you to focus on what you enjoy most making surprise Pokemon encounters and mandatory trainer battles a thing of the past. 

Speaking of battling, the new battle mechanic of terastallizing is similar to dynamaxing, yet offers a strategic element that allows you to boost your Pokemon’s power and change their type in the midst of battle. 

But what struck me was the scale of the game, with a region that is expansive with cities that tower over you immersing you in the world. 

One personal favourite aspect of the game is the soundtrack, with many songs that engross into the vibrant and bright world of this region. I am particularly fond of the gym leader’s final Pokemon track that feels like something out of a magic girl anime. 

These games have also introduced a true multiplayer mechanic, allowing you and friends to play together with ease. 

However, there is one major downside to the game: the graphics. It feels as if the hardware capabilities have not been fully utilised, often leading to glitches and lag that take you out of the immersive nature of the game. 

When you compare it to the likes of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the environment and textures seem lacking, making the overall art of the game feel a little rushed and aged. 

Often I could get past this as I found that the game ran smoother when playing on handheld mode rather than on the big screen.

But it is disappointing to see this when so many games on the switch like Mario Odyssey, Breath of the Wild and Dragon Quest XI have exemplified what can be achieved on the switch. 

Despite this, the storytelling takes a more intimate approach to its characters and their development throughout the game that has not been seen since Pokemon Black and White. Arven has been one of my favourite rivals, with a touching story that makes your heart melt. 

It also helps that he looks like a Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure character. 

With a vibrant cast, expansive world and intriguing story, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is a welcome step for this beloved franchise. 

But it also reveals a much deeper reflection about the gaming industry as a whole. Perhaps game developers should be given a little more time to make sure their games have that touch of detail that makes gaming effortless for players.

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