Review: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
A Glitchy, Buggy, Fun Time!
The Cozy Nerd | December 19, 2022 Video Games

It's been about a whole month (as of this review post) since Pokemon Scarlet & Violet has been released. I feel I have thoroughly gone through both games to the end-game content, and given not just Raids a good amount of time, but the breeding mechanic and online battles. The TLDR version: this is the most fluid and frustrating Pokemon game ever, but I just can't be too mad at the games.

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Glitches
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Glitches
Some of the bigger glitches in the game.

Ok, so for the in-depth look at the games. Technically speaking, these games are bad. Low / inconsistent frame-rates, assets popping in and out, and even at worse-cases, characters disappearing, and even stretching out to ridiculous proportions. I personally haven't encountered the worse-case stuff, but it appears many of those cases happen when doing the in-game multi-player, where you and your friends are all playing and exploring together in the same world. I really do feel that these games should have seen more polish to bring the performance up and bugs down.

Outside of the technical problems, the game is a lot of fun. The fully open-world is very nice, with the Pokemon populating the world in just a right amount that doesn't feel over-filled or too sparse. Traversing the world by air, land, and sea is fun. At the start of the game, you can only run around on the land, but as you progress through the game and get newer travel methods, you'll re-visit area's that you might not have been able to get to and find new items, TM's, and Pokemon. The story for these games is ok, and that is mostly due to the school theme. I'm not a huge fan of it, but the threads that happen through the school are good enough to me to go along with it. Speaking of story threads, you have 3: The first thread is the standard gym battles and becoming Champion, the second is finding out about Team Star and dealing with them, and the last is the Titan Pokemon. Ultimately, all 3 threads converge at the end of the game, where you help the Professor with their research in the Crater of Paldea.

They introduced a function called "Go", where you are able to send the lead Pokemon in your team out into the world to gather items, quickly battle Pokemon, and just walk around with you. I suggest taking advantage of this feature. It does help with earning EXP for your Pokemon (though, the amount you earn is considerably less than if you did a proper battle), and getting items as you explore. There is also the new Picnic feature, where you are able to setup a picnic table, let your Pokemon out, and make sandwiches that have beneficial effects, such as finding Pokemon Eggs faster, more of a certain type of Pokemon out in the wild, etc. The Picnic is also where you can help boost the friendship of your Pokemon by giving them a good bath.

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Shrine Locked
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Shrine
One of the Sealed Legendary Pokemon that
can be found.

Aside from these things, which are nice, what about the end game? What about the grind to get the "perfect Pokemon", and Raids? Well, to address the first thing, the quest for the "perfect Pokemon", the breeding mechanics are very nice and straight-forward. There is no day-care, but you are able to acquire Pokemon eggs when you use the Picnic feature. Then just run around to hatch the eggs (and yes, the Flame Armor ability does help with faster egg hatching) to hatch and there you go!

Raids are fun, yet frustrating. Where in Sword and Shield your Speed Stat really helped make sure that you were able to attack first, the speed stat isn't as much of a necessary, and when you attack, EVERYONE attacks, the turn system from Sword and Shield is gone. It really feels like a free-for-all to get your hits in. It's chaos and it can be fun, but also frustrating as if you and your team do massive damage, the Raid Pokemon will take multiple turns. Also, the tracking of HP is crazy, both for your Pokemon and the Raid Pokemon. One of the good changes to the Raids from Sword and Shield is that everyone can Terastalize, these games new mechanic, rather than only one of you, like in Sword and Shield only one of your could Gigantimax.

All in all, I've really enjoyed these games, and the new Pokemon that they introduced. Yes, it's buggy. Yes, it can be better. I sincerely hope that Nintendo and Game Freak takes the feedback and criticism given to them to heart, and really makes the next main games as clean and polished as possible.