Before Pokemon Scarlet and Violet were released there was a lot of backlash toward the game. Much of the skepticism and criticism came from early reviews of the game and leaked footage. Despite receiving heavy criticism, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet still managed to outsell God of War Ragnarok within its first week of release.
Despite the numerous bugs and odd glitches, many were curious about what the games had to offer. Additionally, said bugs made for more of a comedic experience rather than a frustrating one. So how do Pokemon Scarlet and Violet hold up to other entries in the Pokemon series? Well, let’s find out in our review!
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo and The Pokemon Company
Release Date: November 18th, 2022
Players: 1 to 4
Price: $59.99 USD
Unlike other Pokemon games, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have someone other than a professor grant you your starting Pokemon. Instead, the Head Director of UVA Academy brings the three starter Pokemon to your house and allows you to travel with them a bit before you have to make your decision.
Once the player chooses either Quaxley, Sprogatito, or Fuecoco (our starter), the game’s rival Nemona picks the Pokemon that is weak to our starter. Oddly, the game states that Nemona is already a Pokemon League Champion, but states that she wants to head out on a new adventure with different Pokemon.
After a quick battle, the trainer is able to set out to UVA Academy. On the way, they will come across the game’s cover pokemon either Miradion or Koraidon. At first, you are unable to do anything with either of these legendary pokemon but after arriving at the academy, the player is taught how to ride on it. Players are also taught how to terastallize Pokemon in battle. Rather than giving the player a single specific quest to follow, this installment lets the player find their own way.
Upon leaving the academy, the player can head either left or right out of the city. Both paths will lead trainers along similar paths with the pokemon’s levels on each side being mirrored. The game’s story gives players three different quests to complete rather than a singular objective.
Trainers can choose to focus on Victory Road (Gyms), Starfall Street (Team Star Base Raid), or Path of Legends (Fighting Titan Pokemon). The game’s final quest does require the player to complete all three quests in order to proceed with the final quest. The final quest takes players down to where Miradion and Koraidon are from, The Great Crater of Paldea.
Going into Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, we did not expect much from the newest generations’ story. The games trailers did not give much away about the game’s story and we had to just experience it. In a way, this made the overall story feel more satisfying. Whether you choose Victory Road, Starfall Street, or Path of Legends, there is a moving story to encounter.
Each Gym has its own unique theme with different gym tests to grant the player the ability to battle the gym leader. The player no longer has to go through a barrage of gym trainers to challenge the leader. Instead, these tests can have the player completing a maze, sledding down a hill, playing Simon Says, and even playing Hide and Seek.
The game does offer a few of the stereotypical gym gauntlets but it is rather rare. In fact, having to battle trainers in the game itself is rather rare. Outside of the main quests, trainers get to pick and choose what trainer battles they want to participate in.
Each Gym leader has their own unique feel and style. In the past, some gym leaders felt bland and in a way like filler characters. The Gym Leaders in Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet have personalities that are relatable but in a way larger than life.
With the Starfall Street quest line, the player is tasked with taking down the different Team Star Leaders. At first, players aren’t really told why they are doing it beyond that the group has gotten out of control.
As the story progresses, a much sadder story unravels that adult players can easily figure out what’s going on, but more innocent players won’t fully understand; well, that’s unless they have personally experienced a similar situation. Yes, the plot of the story is rather expected, but it does still make you sympathize with the team you have been tasked to disband.
Each Team Star Base raid follows a similar structure with a minor twist. At the front gate, the player will be introduced to a character with a special tie to each area’s boss. This character will often want to battle and by defeating them, they will offer a deeper backstory into each character’s history.
Once the gate’s guard is dispatched, the player can then raid the base. The second task is to defeat 30 Pokemon in each camp. Once that is accomplished the Team Star Leader will come out on a motorized Pokemon. After the leader is defeated, the player learns the tragic backstory of why the leader joined Team Star.
Path of Legends
When it comes to the Path of Legends Quest, this one can be the most rewarding and in a way heartbreaking. At first, when the player is given the quest, they are not informed why they are searching for these special herbs.
After completing the first one, the player is given almost an ominous tease as to why the herbs are being gathered. Upon completing the second quest, we learn that this quest is not for something cynical but rather, a trainer trying to heal his beloved Pokemon that other medicine and healthcare have failed.
By defeating the different titans, Arven is able to gather an herb to make different sandwiches. These sandwiches grant Miradion and Koraidon new abilities making travel a lot easier.
Beyond increasing travel capabilities, these interactions with the legendary Pokemon form a deeper bond with the mysterious beast. In a way, this quest reminds us of the love we can feel for our pets and the pain we experience when they are either hurt or sick.
All three quests can easily play on the player’s emotions. Whether it is the love of a pet, past trauma from their youth, or a desire to be the very best, all three of these quests are relatable and tell an impactful story. In a way, this is arguably one of the best Pokemon stories to date.
In order to save you time, we will be combining gameplay and graphics. If you have looked up Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, you have more than likely seen a variety of the game’s glitches. Most of these glitches can be comical and actually enhance the game’s experience but some can be outright frustrating.
The worst bugs are when the player falls through the map or gets stuck in a building or object. These can easily be remedied by fast traveling to a nearby Pokemon Center, but if those haven’t been discovered, it can lead to a lot of backtracking. Sometimes you can even see Pokemon stuck in objects.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet introduce the Tera System, a new power enhancement system; this system can be used in battles to change the pokemon’s type or enhance their move set. This new feature can only be used on one Pokemon in each battle and must be recharged at the Pokemon Center.
The Pokemon Centers are more open and are now combined with the Pokemon Mart. In a way this save’s space but also makes most of the cities in the game feel pointless. In fact, we spent the least amount of time in the cities and also skipped out on classes since they weren’t mandatory.
The game’s travel system can be rather frustrating at the beginning. They must complete the titan battles in order to improve their cycle friend in order to travel easier. The back jump bug does make it easier to get up places you should not be able to reach but only works on certain surfaces. This makes getting to different parts of the map rather tedious.
The open world can be rather breathtaking but the game’s biggest issue is the low framerate. Objects that aren’t in the main focus will be pixelated and move as if lagging. The game will also have issues with lighting often flickering between shadows and light.
For those who are visually impaired, this can be overstimulating. It is very easy to fall out of the map due to a loading issue. If the game were to receive an update fixing a lot of the graphical and framerate issues, it could be one of the best Pokemon games to date.
The gameplay is enhanced by the introduction of the picnic system, easily accessible storage, and items spawning throughout the map. If trainers want to participate in Tera raids but do not have online access, the game will provide the player with a raiding party. Trainers can also see Pokemon in the surrounding area while battling trainers or other Pokemon.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet in a way feel too easy. Trainers can send their Pokemon off to battle Pokemon in the surrounding area rather than having to go through the normal battle style; this makes power leveling rather easy but also makes it very easy to be overpowered making each area feel pathetic.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s soundtrack is arguably in the top five for Pokemon Games. Each biome has its own theme. Gym Leaders have their own themes. When a Gym Leader Tera evolves their Pokemon, it sets off a new theme that is fun and full of energy. In Area Zero, the music shifts to more of a Final Fantasy tone. The game could benefit from voice acting but the lack of doesn’t make it difficult to get through.
Like Pokemon Arceus, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s controls have a little bit too much going on. Most of the directional pad button menus could easily be placed in the start menu rather than having their own hotkey.
On numerous occasions, we found ourselves accidentally going to the wardrobe or to the camera menu when trying to run or change direction quickly. The Pokeball hotkey button is a great addition though.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet allow the player to adjust the text speed, pokemon management, move learning, nicknames, camera controls, autosave, cutscenes, music, vibrations, and even help function. If a player is unsure of what to do, they can easily visit the Pokemon Center or check their phone or map for guidance.
Before diving into Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, it was easy to suspect that the game would be a flop based on the reviews and videos released initially. What most gamers have to realize is that a lot of the early reviews focused on what was wrong, while barely touching on what the game does right.
Yes, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet do have a lot of graphical issues and that can be offputting to some; however, if you are a fan of any Bethesda game ever, a few bugs and glitches won’t scare you away.
This generation’s Pokemon games dive deeper into the psychology of being a trainer and building connections with your rivals, foes, and Pokemon. The game could use a scaled leveling system so that certain areas do not feel pathetic later in the game. The game offers a variety of Pokemon for the trainer to encounter and battle while getting to explore varying terrains and landscapes.
This game, like Pokemon Arceus, is arguably what many Pokemon fans have requested for years. If Nintendo can keep the positives while fixing the graphical issues, they could easily win Game of the Year in the near future. These two new games do a lot of things right with only a few issues to complain about in the long run. If you are a fan of the Pokemon franchise, we definitely recommend checking out Pokemon Violet and Scarlet.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet were reviewed on a Nintendo Switch using a code from Nintendo. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are now available on the Nintendo Switch.