Game

Hands-on: Pokémon Scarlet & Violet’s performance distracts from neat and flourishing new features


We were recently invited by The Pokémon Company and Nintendo to TPC’s UK headquarters in London to build Pokémon Scarlet & Violet a pinky on the right is passing. Its less than a month until launch – and we’ve been told that the build we’ve been playing isn’t the final release – so what do things look like as we rapidly approach the 11th hour?

First, for the bad news: in the build we played, the performance wasn’t very good. We were actually quite disappointed in how the game ran in dock mode and weren’t able to test its handheld capabilities. There are so many, we completely do like games, but we wanted to get right to this hotly queried topic.

The game seems to be running at around 720p whenever you’re in the underworld, with little or no anti-aliasing as far as we can tell, and the max frame rate of 30fps isn’t hit. consistent when moving around the world in a logical manner. Objects and characters are only a few meters away from the player running in the game, in busy situations, with further reductions in speed, a technique used by many games to prevent frame and performance drops. poor elsewhere, but in this case not enough to keep keyframe rates consistent.

You can remember recent trailer that shows a gym challenge, where the player has to hold Sunflora, with the Pokémon behaving very upset even right behind the player; this is indicative of a lot of the busier scenes we encounter. Worse yet, this was true for a Sunflora we encountered in a battle during the same challenge. Our Pokémon’s framerate was in line with the rest of the world, but Sunflora didn’t work at half the rate, maybe lower, and when we tried to switch our Pokémon to a Other Pokémon, it takes a suspiciously long time, as if the game had to free up some RAM to make space for the next Pokémon model. Hmm…

Textures in more open areas can also be very smudged. In the main city of Mesagoza (which is not open-world and requires its own loading screen), the walls, floors, and chairs are practically all blurred together into what we can only call sadly. a mess. The game doesn’t look good in crowded, open areas, and it still can’t maintain a good frame rate. Honestly, we were gutted with what we saw.

What unites this even further is that interiors – such as shops, gyms and the like – not only have much higher fidelity textures everywhere, but also seems to run at significantly larger resolutions with stable frame rates. We ran into mentor/rival character Nemona in a gym and her model is absolutely gorgeous, just like the player character. It feels like we’ve gotten a glimpse of what the developers are up to Wanted what the game looks like, but something – be it funding, an incentive, or funding to develop a new engine – is holding things back.

But performance aside, there’s still a lot to enjoy from what we’ve played. A variety of quality of life features have been introduced to streamline gameplay and make things happen just feel better. Trainer battles no longer use a ‘line of sight’ system, instead requiring you to interact with that trainer to bring their level 4 Hopip back to the Stone Age. Probably a small change, and even though the nostalgia bug in our brains is telling us that the older system is better because it can run on the Game Boy, we can’t deny that this is over. term for a short time. All styling is completely gender-neutral, so the haircut and shoes you imagine in Sword and Shield that arbitrarily belong to another body type are no longer out of your control. Good.

Captured Pokémon now have this cool animation when their Pokédex entry is completed: close their personalized information book and tuck it into the appropriate digital shelf. It just makes catching a Pokémon more of an event, you know? Pokémon that are nearby when you engage someone else stay where they are the whole time, just standing there. It’s a bit weird to see but mechanically means that accidentally entering a bunch of Pokémon can be disastrous if you’re not prepared, as you either have to take them down in quick succession or try your hardest to find them. way out. After all, Pokémon are (for the most part) beasts, you should feel at least a little scary.

We weren’t sure what to do when the new Tera Raids were introduced at first, assuming they were just Dynamax Raids with lots of grandma’s crystal swan souvenirs from Bourton-on-the-Water-vibe. Interestingly though the core concept is the same, the execution is much better. The real-time combat system keeps the tension high and prevents an indecisive opponent from bringing the rest of their team to tears. The atmosphere is also pretty awesome, as the crystallized Pokémon is reflected on all sides of the room like it’s trapped inside a giant animal. Fox’s Glacier Mint.

Multiplayer is also something we’re happy to try out. There’s no laundry list of activities available for you to join your friends aside from fighting and trading, but absolutely no restrictions on where you can go which means you’re free to join Jump into your adventure any time you see fit, and your friends can do the same at their own pace. It’s great to be able to chat with friends.

There’s a lot of passion that has been poured into the game, which makes it all the more frustrating when the performance is consistently lower. You can find little flourishes everywhere, such as viewers chanting as you control a Gym Leader down their last Pokémon, or your player character shielding themselves from the rain with their arms as you sprint through the landscape. Small details like these are what can take a game from ‘good’ to ‘excellent’, but we can’t get past how disappointingly poorly it performs and looks in so many environments. its… because it’s everywhere.

we really hopefully the final build of the game will remove many of the technical shortcomings we experienced, because the core concepts the game offers are quite interesting. However, this is so close to the release date, we don’t know if things will turn into ship shape in time. Stay tuned for our full review when it goes live – hopefully, we’ll have a reason to sing another tune.

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