Nintendo Nintendo Switch

Pokemon Scarlet Marks A New Era For Franchise


Pokemon Scarlet and Violet

Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: November 18, 2022
Available as: Digital and Physical

After many competitive years of Pokemon Sword and Shield, a MOBA spinoff in Unite, the Gen 4 remakes Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and Arceus, Generation 8 has finally come to a close. Generation 9 kicks off with Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, with months of promotional material to whet the appetite of even the most fickle fans. It comes as no surprise that even before release, there were talks of the game's performance as well as several glitches that may affect the overall gameplay.

It was getting out of hand even for general Pokemon discourse, the same discourse that decided Sword and Shield were "bad" because of a low-resolution render of a tree. I think those same people would lose their minds as there's an insane amount of pop-in in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. It's not enough to break immersion, but it's one of those things where you see a low-resolution model from a distance, then up close it shows its higher-resolution model. The issue here is that the shift from "low-res" to "high-res" doesn't automatically keep up with the game's action. It's not a deal breaker but it's something to take note of.


Players looking for that traditional Pokemon experience will either have to adapt or look elsewhere, as Scarlet and Violet not only reinvent the wheel, it changes the entire car by default. Savvy players who checked out Pokemon Legends Arceus would have deduced that many of its features would retain in the newer titles. I believe during my first impression I had mentioned that the game felt like a "proof of concept," keeping whatever sticks and leaving out the rest. Those who had skipped Arceus altogether, or worse, getting back into the series after a long hiatus will find that Scarlet and Violet are very different.

The "open world" mechanic of Arceus returns, allowing players to catch roaming Pokemon in the wild. As opposed to previous games, lurking in the tall grass does not randomly trigger a Pokemon battle, rather it's used to sneak and catch unsuspecting Pokemon by surprise. Unlike Arceus, which allowed you to catch Pokemon via aiming the Pokeball and locking on to a target, everything is automatic. You still have to engage in a battle to catch a 'mon, but you can throw it off balance if you engage without letting it detect you.


The Pokemon battles themselves are a mixed bag. Mechanically combat is still the same as it ever was almost 30 years ago, but it's handled in a similar way to Arceus. Battles are seamless, from the field to combat, with players being able to rotate the camera. Unfortunately, since the environment consists of many hills, you will battle Pokemon on an incline which leads to the camera clipping. A lot. Again, it's not a deal breaker or anything but for a AAA title, I am not sure if these things would exist a few games ago.

There is a viral video circulating everything wrong with the new battle system but this is also "your mileage may vary" territory as the poster claims this was on Handheld instead of Docked. I've been playing Pokemon Scarlet on a mix of both, via our work OLED Switch and my Switch Lite. I hardly notice any difference. Paledea is a vast open world that takes the Wild Area concept first introduced in Sword and Shield and expands upon it greatly. Our story begins with our protagonist getting ready to head to the region's academy, a first in the series as it takes place in a school setting. Before the player begins Pokemon Scarlet, they are asked to customize their appearance.


In the past, the most a player could do was change their hair and its color, skin color, and maybe the color of their eye contact. In this game, not only can you do the previous things, but you can also change your eye shape, eyebrows, mouth shape, and your entire facial appearance. The character models are the most beautiful and "realistic" they have ever been. No more super-deformed characters, but actual human-sized trainers. I won't go into too much of the story and its nuances as that will be saved for the inevitable review (I will explore every inch of this game I've waited years for a new Pokemon game).

I will say that it is unlike any other Pokemon game in the past. The changes to this generation are about as dynamic as the changes made in Sonic Frontiers, which is also ironically an open-world game. Both titles prove that when given a chance, even AAA developers can twist their creative minds to give fans something different, yet familiar. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet will have a lot to prove for it to be the main game of this generation and so far, aside from performance hiccups, it's doing a good job.


Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are now available on the Nintendo Switch.

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