Pokemon Scarlet and Violet (Nintendo Switch) - Review

If you've been on the internet over the last month, you've probably seen the countless memes, glitches and bugs apparent in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, but let's forget that for a second and discuss how the games hold up on their own. In this informal review, we'll touch on things that was did and didn't like. Join us as we take a look into the games, and share our overall enjoyment!
NB: For this review we played Violet version

The overall story is somewhat new for a Pokemon game. The tried and true formula is nowhere near as apparent, and the player actually receives the box art legendary right from the get-go. From here, you'll attend the Uva Academy and learn whatever it is you need to learn (we just skipped this part by mashing A), then you'll finally be on your merry way.

The game gives you three options; you can follow the gyms and become a Champion, you can take down Team Star in Operation Starfall, or you can help Arven look for hidden treasure. The options might seem overwhelming at first with which path you want to take, but you can easily take all three paths at the same time, making pit stops as you please.

The main issue with this, is simply how the game advertises an open world and "free style" gameplay, letting you challenge them in any order. In reality, what the game is offering you is a
very limited choice of freedom. Unfortunately, the game doesn't have dynamic level scaling. Regardless of which gym or Titan you decide to challenge first, their level will always be the same. The game has a recommended set path, and sure, you can tweak a few of the boss battles here and there, but for the most apart, each gameplay will be very similar with the path you chose.

As for the difficulty, I found the levelling up to be too easy, simply because of the EXP all, and the newly added "Let's Go!" mechanic, allowing your Pokemon to run off and battle wild Pokemon, gaining EXP for your party. In saying that, I made sure not to overlevel my team where possible, an whilst the Titan's and Gym Leaders weren't too difficult, the Team Star bosses
really gave us a sting.

The climax of the story is okay. It's not amazing by any means (personal preference of course, we've seen others saying it made them cry), it just feels like they try to wrap everything up quickly and you have to follow dialogue whilst also exploring the final area in order to keep up with what's happening. The final boss battle also feels like it's rigged for you to win, which really cuts down on the stakes...  Though the climax isn't to my personal taste, as previously stated, we've seen others really enjoy it, and we do like seeing the main cast of characters have proper time to interact with one another.

Okay... let's talk about the graphics and get them out of the way. I've tweeted about this (briefly), and let me say... yeah, they're pretty bad. Framerate drops, clunky and buggy gameplay, it's not very good. Granted, if you're a young kid looking for a good time, this isn't going to bother you that much, but for the more adult crown, yeah, it's a huge issue. I've never been one to complain over framerate, or graphics. Honestly, half the time I can't even tell what's running at 30 FPS or 60 FPS, but in Scarlet and Violet, I can. The game makes little to no effort to hide it's horribly rendered graphics. You see a background character in the distance, you're going to notice them walking at 10 FPS. You're atop a high tower and looking off into the distance? The Paldea region looks like a blocky, monotone Minecraft world. I'm really hoping, that either with a patch, or a new Switch model, these issues can be fixed, because otherwise, the game is pretty good.

The TM and TR system has also seen a huge overhaul, which I guess comes down to personal preference if you like it or not. Starting with Gen V, TMs became unlimited use, and were no longer single use like in previous generations. This remained constant up until Gen 8, where they still kept the unlimited TM usage, but also added TRs, which were single use. Personally, I didn't mind this issue, as we still had a tonne of TMs to use at our unlimited disposal, and TRs weren't too hard to obtain...

Now with Scarlet and Violet, TRs and gone, and TMs are back to single use... TMs now have to be crafted using materials you get from defeating wild Pokemon. It really seems like they tried to carry over the crafting mechanic from Legends Arceus, but in doing so they removed an incredibly useful quality of life feature that's been in the series since Gen 5. If they kept TMs unlimited use, and then changed it so TRs were what you had to craft with Pokemon materials, that would've been fine, but going back to single use TMs, to be frank, sucks.

Outside of the graphical performance, this is where the game really suffers. Taking Legends Arceus, and even Sword and Shield into account, Scarlet and Violet seem like a passable blend of the two, but not an amazing blend... Think of it as them taking all the best things from those two games, putting them in a hat, and then drawing them out one by one, but each time they draw a good idea out, they tweak it just to make it that little bit worse.

The newest gimmick this time around is Terastrallizing*, which turns your Pokemon into whatever your Tera type is. If you're a dual type, you'll lose your secondary typing and just become the one type. Additionally, Pokemon can have a Tera type that's not natural to their native typing, which can form some really fund strategies. Pokemon also keep the properties of their regular type after they've Terastallized; for example, if your Pikachu Terastallizes into a Flying type, it will still receive STAB from it's Electric attacks). Tera Pokemon will appear in Raids (similar to D/G-max Pokemon in SwSh), but they are so much quicker than they were previously.
*This is a word I don't think I'll ever be able to spell properly, so apologies if it's spelled incorrectly moving forward

My main issue with this is just how confusing it can get, and likely
will get in competitive playing. Previous generations, you generally had an inkling on which Pokemon your opponent would Mega Evolve, use their Z-Crystal with, of D/G-Max. Here it just seems like a massive lucky dip. We also get Dynamaxing was a perfect blend between Mega Evolution and Z-Moves, which we really loved as it was available to all Pokemon, and whilst Terastrallizing is still available to all Pokemon, there's just something about it that we don't like, but can't quiet put our finger on.

So that's it. The games were enjoyable, despite their flaws. They're not unplayable by any means (or despite what others may say), but it can make the games less enjoyable during those slow moments. With this review, we really just wanted to shrew our overall thoughts on a few topics that were on our minds. Stay tuned, as we'll also be reviewing all newly introduced Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet, and then an additional post to review their Shiny versions!


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