REVIEW: Pokemon Scarlet/Violet is a bug-ridden gem


DEEBS LYON, Contributor

Pokémon Violet/Scarlet

Released: Nov. 18, 2022

Developer: Game Freak

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Let me cut to the chase, this is the best Pokémon game you can play right now.

However, it has flaws. Some with gameplay, many more with performance. This game has great onboarding for new players, letting players attend classes that teach the systems in the game, and the rock, paper, scissors aspect makes it easy for anyone to pick up and play.

The story is decent but not memorable, the legendries treasure had me in tears, but the other arcs were not very original.

This is the first Pokémon game to open the world immediately for the player to traverse, letting them choose their adventure and pick the “treasure” they want.

First, you are told of three paths: collecting gym badges, collecting legendary treasure or fighting the game’s main antagonist, Team Star. However, you need to complete these tasks in a linear order.

You need gym badges to control higher level Pokémon and treasure to traverse different landscapes, while Team Star blocks your path. This can lead to confusion, as the game does not provide proper direction. It can be frustrating to figure out where to go next.

One of the best things about a Pokémon game is the tremendous number of pokemon you can catch and train. This game has 400 Pokémon in the local PokéDex and will have a national PokéDex added later.

Another update to the series is a school to attend classes about the game and its world. I thought I had little to learn, being a veteran of the series since it started in 1997, but I was astonished to learn lots of new things.

There are also social options that add more story and depth to the characters but don’t affect the game. This is disappointing as it seemed like a great way to add new features.

This game also has a solid multiplayer, allowing you to invite up to three people to your party to catch, battle and progress their stories. If they have the other version of the game, pokemon from both games will appear in the world.

One disappointment is that there is not a drop-in and drop-out aspect. Once you start a game, you cannot add any new members, requiring everyone to save the game, disband and then create a new group. While playing online with friends, I had several connection issues, but nothing bad enough to make me avoid the process.

Raids have also returned to the game. Raids are special Pokémon battles where four players or computer-controlled teammates battle a Pokémon simultaneously, and once beaten, the Pokémon can be captured. The raids are identified on the map, so they are easy to find. However, they seem a bit lackluster compared to the previous game.

After two weeks of playing, I’ve found that these battles are mostly failing, but this could be because the game is so new and not everyone has fully developed their team despite raids being the focus.

Unfortunately, the game also just doesn’t look very good. Many of the colors are bland and would benefit from a more vibrant choice.

The biggest issue though is technical. I cannot think of a game in the last two decades that has performed so poorly. The framerate drops drastically when there are more than a few things on screen.

You will frequently get pop-in, and this is made worse when you run into a pokemon that hasn’t populated the screen yet. Just standing in the later cities has characters passing you a single frame at a time.

Overall, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a game where you collect and battle. With over 100 hours of game time, I don’t feel like I have completed everything I want to accomplish.

Completing the collection of the Pokémon in a game has not been a goal of mine since the first release in 1997. I find a deep desire to complete this one.