Yet another Pokémon game: ‘Scarlet and Violet’ review

(Photos: IGDB)
It is no surprise that the Pokémon franchise, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, is ever-flourishing, with hordes of die-hard fans around the world. However, with 35 Pokémon titles released over the last quarter of a century, one would expect to see a spectacular increase in visual appeal as well as overall mechanics. Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be the case — as the years go by, the games’ overall quality has been dropping.  اضافة اعلان

That is not to say that later releases are objectively bad, but simply rather lackluster on a number of levels. Earlier this year, Legends Arceus made a boom with the reinvention of the Pokémon dynamic, switching up the formula with an open-world experience emphasizing the lore of the Pokémon universe. To many fans across the globe, it was a welcome change to say the least, but there were definitely many aspects that did not quite hit the mark — take for example, the overall world design and the below-average visual complexity.

Then, just a couple weeks ago, Game Freak release another title in the franchise: Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. How does it measure up? Let us take a look.

A breath of fresh air, minus the visuals
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet may look like it was released 10 years ago in terms of visuals, and it does have its fair share of issues, but if you are a Pokémon fan, or just a general enjoyer of the franchise, then you are probably going to have a blast playing the game.

Let us start with the story, which is the one aspect that should feel familiar to anyone who has played a previous Pokémon release. You choose your character, then choose one of three starter Pokémon, and you have a brief tussle with a rival before you are sent off on a Pokémon adventure.

In a new spin, players choose one of three paths to follow in Scarlet and Violet: the Path of Legends, which tasks you with hunting down and capturing abnormally large Pokémon scattered around the world; Operation Starfall, which has you playing through the storyline of what is essentially this game’s “Team Rocket”; and the ever-so-familiar Victory Road, where you battle it out with the gym leaders and earn their badges.

The presence of these options provides a breath of fresh air, as the game allows players to explore the world in whatever way and order they choose.

Scarlet and Violet builds on the open-world experience featured in Legends Acreus, with a truly open world design this time around. This, unfortunately, is overshadowed by a sense of emptiness pervading this world, which has an extreme number of vacant spaces made even more noticeable by sub-par graphical fidelity.

This is not a reason to put you off from playing the game, but simply a caution of what to expect when you pick up your controller.

‘Let’s go’ exploring
Scarlet and Violet offers a plethora of mechanical choices. For starters, the farther you end up moving away from the main city, the stronger the Pokémon you encounter become. This in itself can shape how you choose to explore the world, as the more daring you are with your exploration, the more difficult the gameplay you encounter. The developers hit the nail on the head with this feature, since it adds a much-needed depth that previous Pokémon titles tend to lack.

In another interesting change, there is essentially no required order for approaching gyms, meaning that you can start at the hardest one if you choose to — this can provide a challenge for players who do not want to breeze through the game, making them have to plan out different tactics to potentially net a satisfying victory.

Just like Legends Acreus, Scarlet and Violet also has multitudes of Pokémon scattered wherever you look — this, paired with the fact that the Pokémon behave in a natural manner, adds a sense of realism to the overall experience. You will find Pokémon who only travel in packs, Pokémon relaxing near bodies of water, and so much more depending on the type of creatures you encounter across your journey.

Now, if you are worried you will encounter the typical “grindy” Pokémon experience, the “Let’s go” mechanic should set your mind at ease. With this new mechanic, you can essentially just have the first Pokémon in your team’s roster auto battle for you. This does net you less experience overall, but the amount of time you save should make up for all of that.

The most notable change in this new Pokémon release is the “terastal” feature. This, essentially, is an energy that emerges from beneath the surface of Paldea, the world of Scarlet and Violet, where every single Pokémon has a terastal form. This form gives Pokémon the opportunity to briefly add a second sub-type to their existing one, allowing for more counter-play and opportunities that previous games simply did not have.

The bottom line
Objectively, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is not a bad game — there is a clear effort to revitalize a formula that people have grown accustomed to over the past 25 years. With new mechanics, different means of gameplay, and a story that is genuinely catered to pleasing Pokémon fans everywhere, Scarlet and Violet is definitely a game that every Pokémon fan needs to be playing right now.

Unfortunately, even though this deliberate effort shines forth in some aspects of the game, there is a clear lack of it when it comes to how the world is built and the quality of graphics and textures — but this could not to stop dedicated fans from powering up their Nintendo Switches and having a blast.

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