Pokémon Scarlet and Violet reviewed by Rebekah Valentine on Nintendo Switch.
Discovering and catching charming monsters across an enormous open world with an actually good story is really fun. But it is completely impossible to play Scarlet and Violet and not notice at least some performance issues, and not just framerate problems: these games actively crash, disconnect, and break in highly distracting ways basically all of the time.
Foreign Scarlet and violet I thought game freaks Claim that we'd be able to go where you Want would end up being little more than A marketing gimmick but from the moment I left the hallowed Halls of UVA Academy That promise has been wonderfully Fulfilled with open world open-ended Gameplay serving as a shining New Direction for the future of this beloved Franchise And yet a finger on the monkey's paw has Curled along with it scarlet and Violet's wonderfully Innovative design Is dramatically undermined by the Numerous ways in which they feel deeply Unfinished with issues ranging from an Incomplete world to massive and Ubiquitous technical problems so even Though I want to celebrate the ways in Which this generation reinvents and Reinvigorates the world of Pokemon I Can't without putting a great big Warning label on it instructions The actual Act of playing Pokemon Scarlet and violet is some of the most Fun Pokemon has ever been from the Second you leave the school after the Tutorial you can run all the way to the Late game areas full of powerful Trainers and Gym Leaders catch High-level Pokemon and make the Adventure very difficult and rewarding For yourself accordingly I had multiple
Wonderfully tense moments against team Star especially like when their giant Car Pokemon nearly decimated by slightly Under-leveled team but the land of Paldia is arranged to be mostly friendly To those looking for a more gradual Challenge too and even more so is Designed just right for getting Pleasantly lost or wandering off the Beaten route But even when I briefly ran roughshod Over several areas in a row because I'd Out-leveled them I didn't find it Discouraging or dull with roughly 400 Different Pokemon species available I Was still enjoying poking around the Lower level areas and finding Monsters I Hadn't seen yet and those discoveries Were rewarding even when the battles Weren't Process made especially delightful by How silly and clever many of the new Pokemon designs are this generation and How improved the monster behavior is Oh That said paldia's world still felt a Touch empty without meaningful dungeons Puzzles or other self-contained Challenges like we see in other open World games That emptiness is even more pronounced When you look at the detail that is There towns are all unique colorful and Full of personality and there's clearly
Been a lot of thought put into modeling Them after diverse and specific Locations in and around real world Spain But for the most part that's where the Thoughtfulness ends most buildings are Facades you can't enter with no story or Gameplay purpose most stores are just Menus you open when you interact with The door and the biggest cities have the Same storefronts repeated over and over And that blankeness unfortunately Extends to many of the NPCs in their Dialogue too That said scarlet and Violet's three Main plots and their cast of characters Are some of the most interesting and Well-written Pokemons had in a while There's a lot of humor cleverness and Heart and it all culminates in a Bombastic ending that goes surprisingly Hard for a Pokemon game followed by a Decent amount of hearty endgame PVE Content all told it took me about 35 Hours to reach the credits and I've Played for an additional 20 since then Without having quite finished every side Quest or found every Secret Not every aspect is an improvement over Older games though while the initial Character customization gives you much More detailed facial design options than In the past there are still only four Skin tones and the clothing selection is Just sad you're stuck with four ugly
School uniforms to pick from and that's All you get forever Sure you can buy new accessories but When the main outfit you're going to Wear for the next 50 hours is Aggressively purple or orange those Little add-ons don't feel much like real Options On the bright side I do like what's been Done with the ability for Pokemon to Follow you out in the world this time You can send them out to automatically Battle wild Pokemon they encounter Earning you exp and items accordingly it It's clunky they don't run as fast as You and they don't always Target the Thing you're asking them to but it works Well enough and is a pleasant and fast Way to gather items used to craft TMS While the battle system remains largely Unchanged from past Pokemon games There's one major new addition to Rasterizing that temporarily gives one Pokemon in your party a super powered Monotype and a cool hat but what's most Interesting about it is that any Pokemon Can have any Terror typing making for Some really fun and unusual combinations The best and most interesting combos are Gained through Terror raid battles which Are scarlet and Violet's end game echo Of sword and Shield's already excellent Dynamax raids I'm extremely optimistic About their potential to keep the
Scarlet and violet community alive for The next year or more If the technical problems don't kill it First Talk about the dawn fan in the room here These These run like garbage the frame rate is An inconsistent mess lighting effects Toggle on and off seemingly at random Models pop in and out at Short distances Characters who aren't that far away walk Like a bad stop-motion animated cartoon Everything slows to a crawl when there's More than one environmental effect on Screen at a time and battles themselves Can take an agonizingly long time as new Pokemon are swapped in There are also tons of bizarre model Clipping issues and the camera sometimes Gets stuck at an odd angle and shows an Empty void on half the screen and that's On top of all these bizarre bugs most Are small funny or harmless issues but We also had not one but two of our guide Riders suffering hard crashes when they Walk near a ladder this is all bad Enough but it's all exacerbated by the Fact that scarlet and violet would be Far from pretty games even if they ran Well while the aesthetic and Architectural aspects of many of the Towns in paldia are interesting they're Compromised by incredibly low-res Textures long stretches of flat boring
Land and this weird vague shimmery Effect around most objects this is made Especially odd by the fact that some of The characters and most of the Pokemon Models do actually look very good Looking for weird contrasts at times When you go into online cooperative play There's an entirely new layer of Weirdness including invisible bikes Invisible people emotes getting stuck on Faces and uh whatever my friend is doing In the doorway here there were multiple Communication errors that forced us to Disband and reform the group just to Keep playing which is itself a Time-consuming process and then there's A the noodle Man incident All of this is a massive shame because Like the rest of scarlet and violet the Actual gameplay ideas in its Co-op System are promising if unrefined Between the bugs my friends and I were Able to do almost everything you can do Alone side by side if not explicitly Cooperatively story events wild Pokemon Battles and even giant absurd sandwich Making Trainer battles against NPCs were an Honor looking situation as you can see Here But the bones of an excellent Co-op System are mostly there they just feel Like they're held together with bits of String the aforementioned Terror raids
Are the best part of cooperative play by Far the four-person battles mostly ran Smoothly with my friends and provided a Fun treasure hunt of their own online Terror raids with strangers though That's a different story even with an Ethernet connection this was a painful Process with repeated communication Errors awkward and time-consuming Matchmaking and a hefty dose of lag Every match Yeah I've been tearing my hair out for weeks Over how conflicted I feel about Pokemon Scarlet and violet discovering and Catching all these Charming monsters Across an enormous open world with an Actually good story is really fun just Comes with far far too many asterisks I Truly believe that the Bold new ideas Here are fantastic it's unrefined but it Is completely impossible to play scarlet And violet and not notice at least some Performance issues and not just frame Rate problems these games actively crash Disconnect and break in highly Distracting ways basically all of the Time And the new online co-op makes all these Problems significantly worse as a Pokemon fan I desperately want better For this series but if you're devoted to These games as so many are know before You go in that the proper care we've all
Come to expect has not been shown here For more check out our in-depth Performance review that highlights Scarlet and Violet's problems and if you Do decide to dive in watch our list of 7 Things to do first and for everything Else stick with IGN