Thoughts on Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

WARNING: Spoilers for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are ahead. We don’t recommend reading this until you’ve beaten the game.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not reflect the views or positions of either Nintendo, The Pokémon Company, Game Freak, or any other entities.

Introduction

Three days ago, I finished Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. Regardless of which version I have, I always refer to it by its full name. When the game released over a week ago, I aimed to complete it as soon as possible before I could get back to livestreaming Super Mario Maker 2 courses as well as work on Touhou Kourinden. I finished it over a course of a week. Same thing happened with Pokémon Sword and Shield when that game came out three years ago.

The Glitch Gremlin Strikes Back

From its start, there were a number of problems that plagued this game. Some of the issues that I found include:

  • Character models are drastically different from previous generations, being changed beyond recognition. The characters look like they’re from Pokémon Go, leading to some speculating that Niantic may have developed this game, even though Game Freak was the sole developer behind Scarlet and Violet.
  • The game is full of weird glitches and bugs. The lead artist at Whitethorn Digital pointed out that some Pokémon even sink in through the floor. Character models and objects have reduced FPS when far away from them and only increase when you get closer to them. Because of these issues, it’s possible this game could’ve been rushed.
  • And like the previous generation, many great Pokémon are also missing.

I ended up having a unique Pokémon experience from previous generations as a result of the bugs and glitches. My game crashed twice during my playthrough and one instance resulted in me having to repeat an entire mission that was tough as heck.

I was hoping the game would run at a full 60FPS like all the other games and not 30FPS like in Generation IV (the remakes of Diamond and Pearl fixed that issue). Those glitches wouldn’t stop me from playing the game as Scarlet and Violet are still playable. Some would consider Scarlet and Violet a disaster thanks to these glitches, and three years before the same with Sword and Shield as a result of the reduced Pokédex that cut a lot of great Pokémon.

How did Game Freak screw up something so simple? I probably guessed why Sword and Shield reduced the Pokédex. Having to include 800+ Pokémon, as well as models, would be cumbersome and labor-intensive. That was especially true when I played Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee back when that came out in 2018, when I saw that Magnezone, a Pokémon that I used in Sun and Moon, its director’s cut version, and in Scarlet and Violet, wasn’t in the game. It would be possible to mod the games to include the missing Pokémon, but Nintendo would never allow that under their end-user license agreements.

Thanks to Scarlet and Violet‘s crappy performance, you can possibly pilot Koraidon or Miraidon, and ride it into space. Since Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, every Pokémon game after that has had a reduced Pokédex by having to cut some Pokémon. Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee only had the first 151 Pokémon, and Sword and Shield only included 400 selected Pokémon from all generations at that time, plus 200 more for a total of 600 if you count the Expansion Pass. Lastly, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl only included the first 493 Pokémon from the first four generations like the original. And now with Scarlet and Violet, they included the exact same number as Sword and Shield without DLC.

Nintendo’s made billions from the franchise ever since it started in 1996. They can’t understand why Scarlet and Violet is a glitchy mess. It looks like a game that wasn’t even finished. Hackers might as well enjoy Scarlet and Violet with mods. What has happened to Pokémon now? I’ve been playing these games since I was a kid. I liked the franchise, and I credit it for getting me into anime. I’m a huge fan of the games, but some players don’t like the modern entries on Nintendo Switch. The fate of Scarlet and Violet lies within the players.

The staff and employees at Game Freak who work on these games change over time. It was probably made by some programmers who worked there for only a few years and had no knowledge of how open-world games like Minecraft, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild worked. Scarlet and Violet essentially looks like Pokémon Go but with no augmented reality and throwing out its catching mechanic that would go on to be used in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee. I liked that system. I’m guessing Scarlet and Violet‘s open-world system may have contributed to the game’s poor performance and glitches.

This is the second disappointment in a row from the Pokémon franchise. First with the overworld character mistake in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and now the glitchfest in Scarlet and Violet. Some people, including me, even questioned if the new games are worth their money. I’m probably assuming what will come next will probably be an expansion pass for Scarlet and Violet, and a possible remake of Black and White. Let’s just hope that game doesn’t get made by the same studio that developed Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.

I miss the old Pokémon.

Afterthoughts

I enjoyed playing Sword and Shield when that game came out. I want to go back to the UK (Galar region) very badly! There were some things that I liked about Sword and Shield, despite its downsides. One good thing was your team was automatically healed in between fights during that game’s Elite Four (not technically as Galar didn’t have an Elite Four, but an equivalent). During Scarlet and Violet, the only autoheal you get is between the final Elite Four and Champion.

Before I took on the Elite Four, I created a level 70 superteam so that I could oust them all. It took a lot of grinding for EXP Candies from Tera Raid caverns, but it worked. Heck, I even defeated some gym leaders and Elite Fours’ toughest Pokémon in one hit! One thing that was really weird was during the final battle with your rival, you don’t get any EXP points every time you defeat one of their six Pokémon.

The franchise has reached the latter part of its third decade. Even though the Pokémon franchise’s primary target audience is kids, more and more adults are playing thanks to Pokémon Go, and its live-action feature film Pokémon Detective Pikachu. One day, we may see a game that may overhaul the basic combat system such as going to a roguelike or dungeon crawl like in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, or taking Final Fantasy‘s active time battle system and repurposing it for Legends: Arceus. That’s why I’m creating Touhou Kourinden. I’m basically writing a piece of my own custom Pokémon, though you aren’t capturing Pokémon.

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