Pokemon Scarlet & Violet is a magnificent display of fun open-world design that keeps you coming back for more. It’s the dream Pokemon game that everyone has always wanted, and yet it’s completely awful at the same time.
After the lukewarm response to the outdated 2021 remakes of Pokemon Shining Pearl and Brilliant Diamond, fans of the multi-billion dollar company were thrilled when Pokemon Legends Arceus came along and tore up the playbook.
Building on the open-world success of Pokemon Sword and Shield a few years earlier, Legends Arceus created giant environments filled with beloved Pokemon traits.
True, it was sometimes devoid of life and things to do, but the game was engaging and allowed fans to be the free Pokemon trainer they had always wanted to be.
Fast forward to November 18, 2022, and Pokemon Scarlet & Violet were released and represented the 9th mainline entry in the long-running series. With 400 Pokemon, Gyms, Titan Pokemon, new species, and a full, open-world map to explore – this finally seemed like the definitive Pokemon game.
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet is a double-edged sword
As a Trainer you could go where you want from the get-go with no restrictions, have picnics while a group of Hoppips float by carefree, and tackle the main quests in any order. Truly complete freedom, and no sign of a sleeping Snorlax blocking your path in sight.
It’s such a shame then that it manages to be the best Pokemon game in the series in terms of its gameplay, sound design, and overall enjoyability and longevity, but absolutely capitulates and falls flat on its face when it comes to visuals and performance.
Even though it feels like the case has been beaten to death at this point, it’s one month later and I still haven’t been able to comprehend just how ugly this game is and how inexcusably poorly it runs.
There’s a perpetual juxtaposition when it comes to experiencing Pokemon Scarlet & Violet as it gives you that flawless freedom of running around Paldea, seeing random Pokemon popping up, and battling and catching them.
But sadly it is just that, things just pop up out of thin air even when you’re right next to them. The second you move your character you’re subjected to a horrendous frame rate drop of anywhere between 10-30 FPS, no matter if the Switch is docked or not.
Head into one of the game’s many cities and you’ll watch in horror as NPCs move like they’ve been put through 0.25x speed on YouTube.
It’s quite apt that Scarlet & Violet have Mass Outbreaks, because that sums up the glitches in this game with both versions having more bugs than Viridian Forest.
Game Freak need to learn from their mistakes
This isn’t an indie-developed title on a small budget we’re talking about, this is Game Freak – a game developer established in 1989 and has historically overseen the development of nearly 40 unique titles of which over 20 of them are Pokemon games!
It’s also not like this is the company’s first foray into open-world games either as we’ve already deduced from their efforts with Sword and Shield and Legends Arceus.
The only reasonable explanation is that the company has possibly been forced into the dreaded crunch. Given that we’ve now had four new Pokemon games in just 20 months, going back to Pokemon Snap in April 2021.
Is it a classic case of a company being overworked and having to put out a product to meet a deadline? One thing’s for certain, the Nintendo Switch is in desperate need of an upgrade in the form of a Pro model, or the rumored Switch 2 console, to up the ante when it comes to graphics and polish.
As a result, Pokemon Scarlet & Violet is quite possibly the most conflicting Pokemon title ever. No matter how frustrated I get slogging my way through choppy frame rates and graphics that would make PS2 games blush, the well-put-together gameplay makes the hours drift away seamlessly.
We need to hope that Game Freak and The Pokemon Company have learned from this experience as another inch-perfect portrayal of Pokemon trapped in a miasma of performance pain may prove to be too much for many loyalists.
if you are also enjoying the incredible aspects of Pokemon Scarlet & Violet too, then we’ve got tons of guides to help you on your way:
How to get Gimmighoul Roaming Form in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet | Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Tera Raid Battles explained | How to catch Shiny Pokemon in Scarlet & Violet | How does EXP Share work in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet? | How to catch all Legendaries in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet | How to breed eggs in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet | Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Stake locations: All Shrines | Herba Mystica in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet | Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Mystery Gift codes | How to check IVs in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Image Credit: Game Freak
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