Pokémon Scarlet and Violet (Review)

Howdy hidey ho! I can’t deny that I’m a bit newer to the series: I jumped in with Sword and Shield.  But after reviewing Legends Arceus, I’ve become apprehensive of the series knowing the financial data that backs the franchise.  And here we are, feeling all a bit too soon with another main entry.  Does Scarlet and Violet come in so quick after Arceus with something new?


GAMEPLAY

…online modes, and here’s where we run into yet another issue: absolutely garbage netcode.

Even if you’ve never played a Pokémon game, you likely know you catch completely and utterly innocent monsters simply living their lives and use them like tools of combat against… other utterly innocent monsters simply living their lives.  And in this core formula, this game takes a step back from Arceus: you can no longer freely capture in the wild.  Yup, you’re forced to fight them and take blows just hoping for a capture like the good ol’ days and not for the better.  But if capturing in the name of forced pet servitude wasn’t enough to tempt you, then there isn’t much else, here.  If it is, then you have to know your Pokémon types so that you can be super effective in combat.  And that’s that: Pokémon at its core.  Capture, groom, fight, and do it again (except this time you can Terastallize them to change their type).  And here’s the thing: it’s shockingly addictive.  The real lure of this cycle is understanding the vast amounts of monsters the game has at its disposal and having them in your stable for whatever the situation calls for (due to the massive meta layer).  This particularly applies when doing the online modes, and here’s where we run into yet another issue: absolutely garbage netcode.  There’s something terribly wrong with it to the point where I can’t even put my finger on it, but it’s bad.  TERA-bad… Har har.  Expect things to feel unresponsive, seem completely disjointed, and just stagnate while SOMETHING somewhere is deciding what’s supposed to happen.  And since this is the content you’ll turn to after completing the main campaign, this segues into the next section.


CONTENT

…they ensured there’s a solid endgame…

The campaign’s credits rolled for me a surprisingly healthy 30+ hours later.  I then spent some time afterwards and found there was plenty more to do, including a new round of gym trainer battles.  In fact, despite the game feeling completed and having seen the majority of Pokémon (and no, I have a life, I ain’t got no time for shiny hunting!), they ensured there’s a solid endgame for people who enjoy it.  Except, that’s generally the online multiplayer, and while the co-op ran relatively okay for me, I DID experience an eventual crash that cost my friend her shiny since she turns off auto-saving for *ahem* shiny farming.  But since we’re talking bugs, now…


PRESENTATION

…well, the game performs terribly.

I want to remind you all that I always turn all my consoles off, and never use rest/sleep modes. This is in response to people telling me the game is a “buggy mess”.  My report on bugs is mostly just visual ones that were minor, like how the camera clipped every time I used moves that required my Pokémon to “teleport” between positions (like Dig).  Instead, the REAL issue is, well, the game performs terribly.  When I say terribly, I mean TERA-bad.  The framerate constantly dips, constantly hitches and hiccups, and in any busy scene, the resolution drops so TERA-bly while the game is running about 15fps.  You might hope there’s a positive here, and there is: they definitely improved the animation of the main character, and the character textures and enclosed area textures are all very dramatic improvements over Arceus.  The open world itself, however, is just as bad: expect to find N64 textures without issue.  But of course, there’s always some underlying human drama to go along with being the best trainer like no one ever was.  And in this you’ll find characters completely a matter of opinion because there STILL isn’t any voice acting, not even for main cutscenes!  For the most part, though, Nemona is one of those unusually cute anime girls you give a free pass for being borderline a romance option for you.  But let me tell you something without spoiling it: the final stretch of the game actually had my attention.  Yea, it finally gets good in its closing act.


CONCLUSION

…another addictive Pokémon game still devoid of the love… it deserves…

This is rough.  It doesn’t really do anything new except Terastallizing, instead sticking to its more tired and classic formula.  And it’s like two steps forward, two steps back: they’ve removed the freeform capturing of Arceus and put in more online functions that operate on netcode that’s just… really bad.  There are the improved textures on characters and enclosed spaces, but absolutely abysmal and WORSE performance than Arceus while having a fully open world just as ugly (albeit a brighter color palette).  If there are positives without negatives, it’s the solid content offering and attention-grabbing final act.  Otherwise, it feels like just another addictive Pokémon game still devoid of the love (and voice acting!) it deserves on its way to sell millions anyway.

I give Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

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