Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will hit shelves and Switch eShop tomorrow. Chances are, you’re seeing some reviews pop up right now. While we’d love to be one of those reviews, we’re not ready to publish our final verdict for a number of reasons. First, online servers are not yet available, and with four-player co-op serving as a major addition to the series, we wanted to fully test the feature before rolling it out. his assessment. I also just wanted to have a little more time with the game before scoring it; I’ve finished most of the main story, but I haven’t explored the end and postgame content yet.
However, now that the review ban has expired, I can provide my full impressions before publishing my final review. I’m generally positive about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. These are good mainline Pokémon games that move the series forward in some pretty significant ways. The open world is fun to explore, and I appreciate being able to tackle things (in general) in any order I want. I have enjoyed my time in the Paldea region, greatly aided by the mobility of Koraidon and Miraidon. Each area has plenty of monsters to fight and capture, giving me plenty of reasons to follow the beaten path, and the new Pokédex design makes filling it up more satisfying than ever.
Unfortunately, the research aspect, introduced in Legend: Arceus earlier this year, has disappeared. Pokédex entries are now complete when a Pokémon is caught – no need to watch them perform certain moves or other requests. For some longtime fans and purists, that would be a good thing, but I think the convention from Legends: Arceus is a neat development.
World Pokémon battles are now optional. Yes, you can still fight other trainers at will, but encounters in open areas are started by the player and not any NPC you happen to come across . Of course, there are a number of reasons why you might still want to fight NPCs; In addition to experience and money, you can also talk to Pokémon League representatives at most Pokémon Centers to get rewards when you beat certain trainers in the vicinity.
Wild Pokémon battles are mostly optional as well, as random encounters in the tall grass are a thing of the past; now, you just see Pokémon grazing in the wild and you make the decision to engage them – unless of course you run into them by accident, which is easier due to technical problems ( will talk more about that later). If you want, you can simply send your partner Pokémon using the new Let’s Go mechanic to auto-fight. This is useful for defeating wild Pokémon in the way, knocking down Team Star bases, and gathering materials to craft TMs.
When you are in battle, you have the option of Terastallize. While the Pokémon all look silly in their Terrastallized form, this is probably my favorite fighting gimmick to date. Unlike X and Y’s Mega Evolutions, Sun and Moon’s Z-Moves, and Sword and Shield’s Dynamaxing, Terrastallization is not a “click-to-win” mechanic. While it has the potential to change the tide of battle thanks to its ability to change your Pokémon type and power up that set of moves, you need to be much more strategic with your timing and gimmick implementation. this fox. Terrastlization only works once between visits to the Pokémon Center, so if you blow it away before you really need it, you’re out of luck.
Gym battles introduce a new requirement before you can be the leader in the Gym Challenge. These require you to complete a small quest around town before you can gain the right to face the head of the gym. While some of these are fun, they often feel like extra padding with the sole purpose of giving us something to do other than spar with pre-battle trainers in the game. gyms (although some of them are only willing to fight a trainer’s glove).
The new Pokémon designs are largely powerful; some even made me gasp or laugh out loud. I can’t go into specifics, but one particular new design made me sit up and say, “No way!” The design of new creatures in recent generations has been very successful for me, but the new Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet are mostly cool. For those who want to see their favorites from previous generations pop up, Scarlet and Violet have done a good job of bringing both classic and poignant Pokémon that span multiple previous generations.
The quest structure is the most liberal we’ve seen in a mainline Pokémon game. Being able to tackle the three main quests in any order is refreshing, but there is a certain order in which Game Freak wants you to play. For example, if you ignore all Titan and Team Star bases to just focus on the gym, then you will be overloaded for some other quests. Likewise, if you don’t participate in gym battles and instead focus on other quests, you won’t be able to create Pokémon at the right level for those Titan encounters, and The base attacks reliably obey you. The game seems to work for you to some extent, but there have been a few times when I have come across a Gym Leader who is a higher level than me – thankfully, the description on the map usually gives you information. good news indicator time in your journey, it recommends you tackle that gym. I appreciate how all of these quest sequences fit together, but they’re also a bit limited in that way.
Unfortunately, this is probably the worst technical sound a mainstream Pokémon game has ever had. In Legends: Arceus, I criticized the pop-up textures and low resolutions, but Scarlet and Violet are even worse in that respect. Add in a constant FPS (especially when you’re in a large body of water filled with Pokémon) and characters that appear and disappear gradually as you run through the world, and this is clearly what Game Freak is all about. have not found. I hope they learn to make large, open spaces that run well on Switch before the next Pokémon game to use that convention.
Again, I’m generally positive about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, and I’m excited about the future of the franchise thanks to this game. The format still requires tweaking, however, and Game Freak has a long way to go to prove it can produce technically proficient open-world games on Switch. Despite its shortcomings, I had a good time playing through Pokémon Violet and I’m excited to continue my journey through the Paldea region. Look for my full review on GameInformer.com in the coming days!