Pokemon Violet Review: After 26 years of linear, straightforward RPGs, it still amazes me that Game Freak could look Pokémon gamers in the eye and say, “It’s great, go wherever you want.”
Prior to the release of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, I believed that this assertion would turn out to be a marketing ploy, a small joke, or something that we would all come to regret. However, that promise has been magnificently realized ever since I left the revered halls of Uva Academy, with open-world, open-ended gameplay serving as a guiding light for the future of this cherished franchise.
Scarlet and Violet’s brilliantly inventive design is drastically overshadowed by the many ways in which they feel profoundly incomplete, with issues ranging from an incomplete universe to significant and pervasive technical issues. But a finger on the cursed Mankey’s paw has curled anyway. Because of this, I want to praise how this generation has revived and reinvented the Pokémon universe, but I can’t do so without issuing a huge warning.
Due to Game Freak’s dedication to a truly open environment, playing Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is among the most enjoyable Pokémon experiences ever. You can run all the way to late-game regions full of strong trainers and Gym Leaders after the tutorial, catch high-level Pokémon, and make the adventure incredibly challenging and gratifying for yourself by doing so.
Paldea is mostly set out to be welcoming to those seeking a more gradual challenge, and it is even more so structured just perfect for getting pleasantly lost, retracing, and wandering off the usual path. So, if you’re afraid about unintentionally entering a too-difficult region, don’t be.
Pokemon Violet Review
Due to the lack of level scaling (in keeping with Pokémon history), if you explore Paldea at a steady but unguided pace, you will certainly come into enemies that are either particularly difficult or excessively easy at various points.
It can be fun to go off against a trainer who is only a few levels superior to you, especially if one of your team’s unexpected Pokémon comes up big and helps you win and rack up tons of EXP. Particularly against Crew Star, I experienced some anxious moments, such as when I was pushing down a more difficult road and their gigantic car Pokémon nearly wiped out my slightly underleveled team.
However, I didn’t find it boring, even when I momentarily ran roughshod over numerous places in a row because I had out-leveled them.
I was still enjoying exploring the lower-level areas and discovering monsters I hadn’t yet encountered, and those discoveries were satisfying even when the confrontations weren’t.
There were about 400 distinct Pokémon species available. The absurdity and creativity of many of the new Pokémon designs this generation, such as the seemingly edible Lechonk or the ridiculous Wiglett eel that isn’t truly a Diglett, make the process all the more enjoyable.
The behavior of the monsters is also much better; I used to like running into flocks of Starly, Magikarp flopping on the sand, Hoppip cautiously floating out of the rain, or herds of Deerling being guarded by a kingly Sawsbuck. It was incredibly simple to get lost and sidetracked in the vast “areas,” which served as Scarlet and Violet’s alternative routes because there were so many monsters to observe.
A legendary Pokémon that you acquire right away depends on whether you are playing as Scarlet or Violet and makes traversing the grassy plains and rocky deserts of Paldea easier. In any case, one of the three main stories grants this Pokémon extra movement choices as well as the ability to be used as a bicycle.
The swimming, climb, and dash enhancements are all useful for moving swiftly across wide Paldean stretches, although one of them adds a glide ability that pales in comparison to the one we acquired earlier this year in Legends: Arceus. Though it’s an improvement over nothing, I’m dismayed by how quickly you lose altitude when gliding, shattering my idea of leaping from the top of the tallest peak and flying over the entire landscape.
Paldea was eerily vacant while I was riding my bike across all of that space, especially as I got closer to the finish line. This is mostly due to Scarlet and Violet’s extensive Pokémon variety, a ton of hidden objects, and the overall layout and placement of uncommon Pokémon and secrets.
It is at least an improvement over Legends: Arceus in this aspect. However, the degree of detail is still lacking compared to comparable open-world Switch games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Xenoblade Chronicles 3. Additionally, there are no signs of the dungeons, puzzles, or other more confined difficulties that were commonplace in earlier Pokémon games.
Pokemon Violet Bugs
It’s a good thing I did because playing Scarlet and Violet online adds a whole other level of odd. If you checked IGN before the game’s release, you might have noticed my review in progress, in which I held off on a score partly because I hadn’t been able to experience the game’s online capabilities.
Along with all the aforementioned technical issues, I also encountered some completely new ones while online. For example, at one time, my friends’ bikes got invisible so they were floating in strange squats in the air, and at another, the bikes turned invisible so my friends were riding them.
After utilizing the camera app, I observed that everyone’s faces became permanently horrified or depressed in one of several emotes. Despite being miles away from the neighborhood I was in, one of my buddies kept popping up in the doorway of every place I entered in a strange YMCA posture.
— Rebekah Valentine (@duckvalentine) November 19, 2022
Multiple communication breakdowns made it necessary for us to break up and form new groups in order to continue playing, which takes time in and of itself. Oh, and my pal briefly transformed into a huge noodle guy in a very strange moment. Local co-op appears to have a few fewer strange errors than internet play, but overall it still performs appallingly (my partner kept strangely teleporting across the map on my screen without cause).
This is really unfortunate because the co-op system’s actual gameplay concepts, like those in the rest of Scarlet and Violet, are intriguing yet unpolished.
My buddies and I were able to accomplish practically everything you can do alone in Scarlet and Violet side-by-side, if not explicitly collaboratively, in between crippling bugs. While I hopped to the next town over to accomplish some endgame content they hadn’t yet unlocked, they were able to finish early game plot events that I had already finished.
I could go on picnics with them, make ridiculous sandwiches with them, watch them fight wild Pokémon, and snap pictures with them.
They can also fight trainer NPCs in the field, but this is a stranger scenario because you can’t actually see the Pokémon fighting; instead, the two character models just sort of stand there and glare at one another, while the battling player’s friends can run through the battlefield and make odd faces in the middle of the battle.
The majority of the building blocks of a great cooperative system are present; nevertheless, it feels as though wire and string are used to hold them together.
Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet feature new open-world gameplay that allows players to discover a completely new region and catch previously undiscovered Pokemon.
Numerous communities meld without bounds into the forest. The local Pokemon can be found anywhere, including the air, the oceans, the forests, and the streets.
With open-world gameplay that encourages players to roam wherever their sense of adventure leads them, you’ll be able to experience the genuine excitement of the Pokemon series—battling against wild Pokemon in order to catch them.
In this universe, brand-new Pokemon are common, and players get to pick their own new beginning Pokemon: would you go with Sprigatito, Fuecoco, or Quaxly?