Pokemon Scarlet Review: Next Gen Pokemon on a Current Gen System
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are fun games. It’s a step in the right direction, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Table of Contents
The newest entry in the mainline Pokémon franchise, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are Nintendo’s attempt at an open world game using the classic Pokémon formula. With three storylines and a new region to explore, Scarlet and Violet are ambitious in their execution.
Although the game does have a few bugs and glitches, and some areas feel unpolished, the game isn’t as bad as the internet claims. Personally, I didn’t experience that many problems while playing the game, but I’ll explain more later on in this review. Compared to Sword and Shield, Scarlet and Violet are definitely a step up, however, I enjoyed the open world style in Pokémon: Legends Arceus a lot more.
Pokemon Scarlet Bugs and Glitches
The first aspect I want to discuss will be the bugs and glitches that most players online seem to complain about. Now I won’t sugarcoat it; there are definitely some visual glitches involved. A few notable ones are the camera phasing into the ground during battles or Pokémon getting stuck in walls. Even though these glitches do happen, it doesn’t make the game unplayable. Now, does it make the game feel a bit unfinished, maybe, but these small touches shouldn’t be the end all for your decision on getting this game. When it comes to crashes, I’ve only experienced one during my whole playthrough of the game.
I currently have more than 60 hours locked in, just to give perspective on this issue. Speaking of those glitches and bugs, the game definitely feels a bit rushed. There are some areas where the textures don’t load in properly, or some of the Pokémon designs feel off. Personally, these small things didn’t bother me too much, but if a perfect and polished Pokémon game is what you’re looking for, then maybe this isn’t it.
Pokemon Scarlet Open World and Multiplayer
Here is where the bulk of the review will be. These new features are what sets Scarlet and Violet apart from previous generations. The biggest change is the open world. In this system, the plot of Pokémon is split into three paths: Victory Road, Starfall Street, and Path of Legends. Personally, I liked this new direction that Pokémon tried with its story.
As a quick aside, here’s a quick breakdown of the three paths:
Victory Road follows the typical journey found in all Pokémon games. This includes the Gym Challenges, the Elite Four, and the Champion. After defeating 8 gym leaders, the player challenges the Elite Four, and after defeating them, they will fight the Champion to become the next Champion.
Starfall Street follows the story of the “evil” team of the region. For the new region of Paldea, this will be Team Star, which is like the Team Galaxy from Sinnoh, or Team Plasma from Unova. The only difference in this game is that Team Star isn’t some evil or corrupt organization.
Finally, Path of Legends focuses on defeating special Pokémon called Titans. Beating each objective unlocks an ability for each game’s box legendary; Koraidon for Pokémon Scarlet and Miraidon for Pokémon Violet.
With the aside aside, there are a few aspects about the open world I’d like to discuss. First thing’s first, the game isn’t a true open world. When I first started the game, I assumed that the region would scale to your level. With this in mind, I thought each area of wild Pokémon and the objectives would get more difficult as the game progressed. But I was wrong. Even though the game feels open world, there is a path that the developers assumed the player would take. As I deviated from the intended path, my level scaling was off; either I would be very under leveled for a fight, or I was very over leveled for a fight.
Even with that, I still enjoyed the freedom I had to explore the region. I had fun catching Pokémon way stronger than what I would’ve been able to use. Similar to previous games, the number of gym badges you have, the higher the level the Pokémon can be that will still obey you. I had found a level 54 Dragonair near the beginning of the game, and although I wasn’t able to use it properly, I found it hilarious that I was able to catch it nonetheless.
This style of game does improve the Wild Area mechanic from Sword and Shield. In Scarlet and Violet, the developers got rid of all wild encounters. Now, the only Pokémon you find will be out and about just like the player. I love this separation, as it’s no longer an annoying process finding certain Pokémon. Either you see it, or you don’t.
Now, on the topic of the open world atmosphere, I have to say, I enjoyed Legends Arceus’ style more. Even if Legends Arceus was limited to open maps, each map felt unique and alive. Contrary to Scarlet and Violet, even with the world connected, it somehow felt lifeless and plain.
The benefit of having the game open world is that multiplayer actually works. Not only are battling and trading over Wi-Fi still possible, but Scarlet and Violet also added two new modes. The first are Tera Raids, which work in conjunction with the new power mechanic of the game. Similar to raids done in Sword and Shield, Scarlet and Violet raids are much more enjoyable, as I enjoyed the tera type mechanic over the dynamax mechanic.
Now, this isn’t without its flaws though. Depending on the attacks that occur, there are a few bugs here with damage calculations. For example, my Azumarill would attack, and it would one shot the Pokémon, but then it would heal some hp back. Annoying, but not unplayable. Either way, Tera Raids are surprisingly fun, offer interesting Pokémon to catch, and give nice rewards.
The other new multiplayer mechanic is the Union Circle. With this mode, you can join another trainer’s world. Once you join the other trainer, both of you are able to explore the world together in real time. This helps with trading and battling with friends. Even in another person’s world, you can still continue your own plot lines, so you can still progress the game. This feature allows cross-play between Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet, allowing you to play with others regardless of game version. Either way, I had a lot of fun exploring Paldea with friends and family.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Version Exclusives
As with any mainline Pokémon game, there are two versions of essentially the same game. The first big difference is the box legendary. In Pokémon Scarlet, the box legendary is Koraidon, a fighting and dragon type Pokémon, which specializes in physical attacks. In Pokémon Violet, the box legendary is Miraidon, an electric and dragon type Pokémon, which specializes in special attacks. The following list will have the other exclusives.
Should I Get Pokemon Scarlet
So, you’ve reached this point and now you’re wondering if you should get this game? In my opinion, I’d say it’s worth it. Scarlet and Violet are ambitious games that try something new. The plot lines, although the they start slow, do pick up at the end, and there are some great emotional beats. This game also features 400 Pokémon, which is way more than any other Pokémon game to date. Through the raid system, they also seem to be adding more Pokémon. This would be a collector’s dream.
Now, there are a few bugs and glitches here and there, which might impact the experience a bit, but I feel like you can look over them. As I said earlier, I only had one major crash throughout my whole experience, and any other visual glitch didn’t bug me all too much.
All in all, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are fun games. It’s a step in the right direction, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.