Arts & Entertainment

The good, the bad, and everything in between for ‘Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’

‘Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’ are finally out, but how does it hold up?

Game Freak have recently released their 8th installment of the mainline Pokémon games; titled “Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.” As the brand-new Pokémon game, there are new additions that make this different from its predecessors, with a vast open-world game design and new mechanics with entirely new Pokémon.

In this game, players start their adventure in the Paldea region, which is home to Pokémon that players know, and some they have yet to meet. Players start their journey by being introduced to Director Clavell, whose academy they will attend. Much like every other mainline Pokémon game, he shows the player the three starting Pokémon who will be your partner throughout your adventure. 

After players receive their first Pokémon, they can head to his academy with Nemona, the student council president. After being shown the ropes at the academy, the core of the game begins.

As a player, you are put into a project called the Treasure Hunt and here, you decide what you will do in the Paldea region. There are three main routes for you to take. You can fight for glory to obtain the champion trainer status, help dissipate a school gang that disrupts the livelihood of many people across Paldea or you can uncover the hidden truths of the region with your classmate, Arven. 

While being shown these three options to pick from in the game, the decision ultimately lies with the player. This is where the idea of an open-world game truly comes to fruition. This idea was experimented with by Game Freak in their last title, “Pokémon Legends: Arceus,” and people loved it. By having the freedom to explore and take more time with your adventure, this provides a different experience from the previous seven installments of Pokémon. 

In “Pokémon Scarlet and Violet,” there is a new gimmick called the Terastal phenomenon, where Pokémon can turn into a crystallized version of themselves. Adding a new gimmick to the battle system has been a trend done by Game Freak since their 6th installment of Pokémon.

Although, these crystallized Pokémon can actually have different types. Pikachu, an electric-type Pokémon, can Terastallize and become a flying-type. This changes the idea of battle altogether, as Pokémon who are weak to one type can suddenly change and nullify that weakness.

Though these new features sound great, it isn’t a new Pokémon game unless it has some faults. The main problem with Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is not the game itself, but rather how it performs on the Nintendo Switch. 

The Nintendo Switch isn’t a powerful game console like the PS5 or Xbox Series X, but that should not excuse the poor gaming experience in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. There is an abundance of graphical glitches, slow frame rates – including loading times, and bugged movements in the game to where players can fall straight through the map. 

At its current state, the game is playable but is definitely not enjoyable at times. The only way to fix these problems would be for Game Freak to work on better optimization to let the game run smoother on the current Nintendo Switch hardware, or Nintendo could release an upgraded version of the Nintendo Switch.

But Nintendo refuses to make upgrades to the current models of the Nintendo Switch, and Game Freak is not known for fixing many of the bugs in their games after release.

Although there are ways to fix the current problems of the “Pokémon Scarlet and Violet” game, Pokémon fans know that it won’t be that easy for us consumers. 

Overall, “Pokémon Scarlet and Violet” tackle the game series in a different way than previous installments, and it does so in a great fashion. The only thing that could turn consumers away is its poor performance on the Nintendo Switch, and that makes it hard to recommend the game in its current state.