Love It Or Hate It: Pokemon’s Newest Gen “Scarlet and Violet” Brings In Mixed Reviews

As the title implies, Pokemon’s latest generation Scarlet and Violet brought in mixed reviews regarding the newest addition to the franchise. If you’re like me and a 20+ years veteran, you have standards when it comes to a next gen console that’s supposed to run better graphics than its predecessors. But it’s hard to keep high expectations or even just expectations in general when the game runs like as–. Ahem. Runs terribly. So what are the pros? What are the cons? Let’s dive into what makes this hot mess of a game one of the worst in the franchise so far.

Pokemon. It’s hard to imagine that the game went from black and white pixels to the 3D open world that it is today. But like with many modern games, they don’t come without their issues and problems and some have their fair share of them more than others. With Scarlet and Violet, I don’t even know where to begin. I personally haven’t come across any game breaking glitches apart from the occasional lag but other players have shared a story or two about the things they’ve come across. One player experienced something straight out of The Exorcist, their arms and head spinning 360 degrees in a circle. Another reported that their riding Pokemon disappeared and they were floating on air. Things like this may be funny at first but eventually they do tend to get annoying. Majority of players are demanding an update that will fix the glitches occurring in their game. But the question is: will Nintendo listen? Game Freak may be the developers of the game but they work under Nintendo, which may explain why the game feels a little rushed. While Scarlet and Violet feels more complete than its previous generation, Sword and Shield, SW/SH had nowhere near the amount of issues that S/V seems to be having. So is the cause of this poor testing? Rushed release dates? It’s hard to say. A lot of gamers speculated that the developers haven’t had enough time to fully iron out the wrinkles before the set release date. Others say that the devs are overworked and have become complacent. Whatever the case, it’s clear that the game needs more work done to make it feel polished and run much smoother.

Because it is an open world, there are expectations to uphold especially for a game made in 2022. We got a first glimpse of the Pokemon open world concept back in SW/SH with its Wild Area. This area of the map was a vast open space filled with strong Pokemon. Players could rotate the camera 360° and get a full view of their surroundings. The concept was further expanded upon in Legends: Arceus. We got the full idea of what future games could look like if done properly. It was beautiful and got fans excited for the future….only to be let down by the quality in Scarlet/Violet. There’s no excuses for it; Breath of the Wild was released in 2017 as one of the Switch’s first games and it looked incredible. Granted it was a 5-6 year game in the making, but regardless of the time frame, by now we should expect even better graphics for our games right? In a lot of ways, Scarlet/Violet tried so hard to be the next Breath of the Wild but failed miserably. From glitchy graphics and frames dropping to the point where NPC’s were practically robots, it’s a shame to see a potentially beautiful open world Pokemon game get screwed over by faulty graphics. As to whether or not players will get an update that will fix this, it’s hard to say. Nintendo aren’t the type to correct their mistakes just because people told them to. It would take a lot of complaints and a miracle to make that happen.

While the glitches can be hilarious for some, they’re annoying for others [seen above: a player glitches out and becomes a Slenderman-like figure]

Another miss for the franchise is the inability to change out of school uniform outside of school grounds. When players (myself included) discovered that this was the case, it was a frustrating realization. With the game’s wide variety of choices for customization, you’d think we’d be able to change out of our school uniform when we weren’t in school. With items such as leggings, socks, gloves, backpacks, hats and glasses as a choice of stock in shops, it was disappointing to see there were no options for pants and shirts outside of the four school uniforms given to players initially. So trying to make the Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter school uniforms actually look good with what we can buy proves difficult in the sense that hardly anything looks good with the outfit. With the right mixing and matching, it is possible to make the atrocious school uniforms look good but it takes a while to find the right formula. The option for shirts and pants is there in shops but there’s nothing to be sold at the moment. Whether or not this will be in a future update or DLC, it’s highly doubtful but players are hoping it’ll be available. I for one won’t be paying whatever Nintendo’s price is for a feature that should’ve been available to begin with.

But it’s not all bad things to report. Yes the game does have hiccups but a feature that did have potential is the co-op option. Players can join a friend’s game and travel together while your storyline and progress remains uninterrupted. I recently tried this with a friend and I had a fun time with it. It was a bit glitchy; my friend would run past me at 2 FPS and my own framerate would slow down drastically but I still had a good time exploring with a friend. One of the features I enjoy the most is the ability to take selfies of pretty much anything. People, Pokemon, the background. You can even choose filters to accommodate your photos and do poses. It’s a fun little feature for those who like gaming with friends and are just looking to have a good time. Another plus side apart from the co-op is the storyline. It’s perhaps one of the strongest plots I’ve seen in the franchise so far with fantastic character development and a plot twist that wrenched my heart out and made my jaw drop.

A selfie taken in game by a friend of mine using the camera feature [left to right: Dakota (friend) and me]

So when discussing performance issues, this begs the question: why is Nintendo so against innovation and improving themselves? Any long time Nintendo fans are aware of how….strict the company is when it comes to literally anything involving their software and hardware (ex: the joycon drift. It was an issue on release of the Switch and it’s still an issue even in 2022. They just flat out refuse to fix their problems that they caused). Thankfully this isn’t Game Freak’s fault that the game runs like a snail at times. As I said before, it’s highly speculated that Nintendo pushed a deadline before they could finish fixing all the issues that are making people’s experiences with the game terrible. Naturally with a tight deadline, it makes it impossible to make sure that the game is ready for its release. No game on release is perfect but none should be as buggy as what S/V was. I remember there being a time when I was a kid that we would have to wait two years for a new generation to come out. Now it feels like there’s a new game every year. The head of Nintendo needs to be more open to criticism and really get with the times regarding the present and future of the company.

So is Scarlet/Violet worth your money? It all depends. If you don’t mind playing with lag and possible game breaking glitches then it’ll be worth your while. But if you’d rather wait for a possible patch for the game then it’s probably best to wait and see if it gets fixed (if it gets fixed at all). It’s not a perfect game by any means but it’s also not the greatest game either. An effort was certainly made but to fans it feels very lackluster and an insult to the beloved series.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are available now in the Nintendo e-shop and wherever games are sold.

Published by Kersten Noelle

Avid fan TV/movie watcher. Gamer. All opinions are my own. Writer for fandomlair.com

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