Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, the latest addition to the mainline Pokemon games, is all over the news these days due to their awful performance issues. But behind those performance issues and bugs is a game that every Pokemon fan has been desperately waiting for decades.
It’s no surprise that Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are next to unplayable due to low FPS, bad graphics, and all those bugs and glitches in the game. Both games are terribly optimized and desperately need a patch from GameFreak.
Performance and graphics haven’t been the forte of mainline Pokemon games in recent years. And now, it is at a point where the games are pretty unplayable because of it. However, it could also be because of the hardware limitations of the Nintendo Switch.
Despite all the performance and graphics issues, every fan dreams of seeing an open-world Pokemon game akin to Zelda: Breath of the Wild. We’ve come a step closer to that dream with Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.
Pokemon games haven’t seen much innovation and experiments in the past few years, except for minor tweaks. However, it appears that GameFreak was listening to what the fans wanted for all these years. It wasn’t able to deliver everything smoothly with terrible graphics and optimization. But apart from that, Scarlet and Violet are pretty great games.
These games expand upon the features introduced by Pokemon Legends: Arceus and offer easy open-world access. You can now traverse the terrain freely with the help of Koraidon and Miraidon.
In older games, the players had to look for HMs (Hidden Machines) to unlock new areas of the game. But, one downside to this was that you had to keep a Pokemon in your party to learn all these moves.
Additionally, these moves can’t be overwritten by traditional means. So, your Pokemon is stuck with the move for eternity, or until you encounter the famed “Move Deleter” in the older game. But, in recent games starting from Gen VII, we’ve put HMs behind us, and the days when you had to keep an HM slave in your party to learn all the moves like Cut and Surf are long gone.
Instead, your Koraidon or Miraidon will take on those roles depending on your game. And allow you to traverse the open world of Paldea more easily. However, you will still have to unlock these abilities through a more streamlined approach compared to older games by defeating Titans and gathering “Herba Mystica”.
The ability to have your Pokemon out of their comfortable abode in the poke balls around you is another much-awaited feature. You can now walk with your top Pokemon and have it auto-battle against wild ones to level it up much faster.
It saves you a lot of time as you don’t have to guide the battle every time while grinding for exp. And, if you want, you can take your entire party out of their poke balls for a picnic too.
Another quality-of-life feature that was desperately needed was not having to battle every trainer you encounter on your way. Before Scarlet and Violet, you had to battle every trainer if you stepped in their line of sight. However, in the Paldea region, you’ll have to talk to the trainers if you want to battle them.
While we’re discussing battles, let’s move on to the new mechanic, the Terastal phenomenon. Terastal phenomenon only works in the Paldea region. This new mechanic is fascinating, even if it isn’t as cool looking as mega-evolutions or Dynamax.
The ability allows your Pokemon to take on a gem-like appearance while also changing its type. This new type gained by using the Terastal phenomenon is called Tera-Type and is unique to each Pokemon. Terastal phenomenon isn’t as overpowered as mega-evolutions and doesn’t have a time limit, like Dynamax.
Terastalized Pokemon will remain so till the end of the battle or if they faint. This new mechanic adds a new flavor to Pokemon battles. Since now, you can completely turn around your Pokemon’s weakness depending on their Tera-Type.
Other than that, for the first time, we don’t have to follow a specific order to challenge the Gym Leaders in a Pokemon game. However, their Pokemon levels are constant and don’t scale with anything. So, it is easier if you follow an order to beat them, but nothing stops you from tackling an end-game gym early on.
The coop features are better than the franchise’s older games, and the open-world exploration is extremely fun. These features are some of the ones the fans have been waiting for for years.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet may not be the perfect games, but it shows that GameFreak is on the right track. Now, if only they fixed the games’ optimization.
To be honest, the game is very slow. Half the time, your Pokemon or the wild ones will fall off a cliff. Or jump into nothingness because of how unpolished this game is for an open-world setting.
Another issue with this game is the trainers and gym leaders with 1-3 Pokemon in their party. Of course, none of the newer games come closer in difficulty to facing Sinnoh’s Queen, Cynthia, in Platinum. But Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are painfully easy to a fault.
The Elite-4 and the champion are a different story. But even they are quite easy to defeat in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, even if your Pokemon are under-leveled. Pokemon games aren’t meant to be difficult. But they at least have to put up a challenge to make you feel like you’ve achieved something after beating them.
The cities in Scarlet and Violet are also forgettable and dull. In older games, the cities were unique, with tons of NPCs to talk to. Even Sword and Shield had impressive cities with a lot of interactions. But, the cities in Scarlet and Violet feel so empty. And serve next to no purpose other than Gym Battles and occasional shopping.
Despite the gameplay issues above, the main culprit is still the game’s performance. Poor performance is the primary reason people stop trying out the game. Additionally, bad graphics is the other obstacle stopping new players from trying the games out and getting into the Pokemon franchise.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are truly rough and unpolished. There are a few gameplay issues, but none of them are too overwhelming. The open-world setting of these games is the reason behind many of the issues with the games. However, the same open-world setting also makes these games more fun than their predecessors.
In short, from excellent OSTs to great new-gen Pokemon, Scarlet and Violet have all the ingredients to be the best core Pokemon game in the franchise. However, these ingredients are pretty useless when paired with poor performance, lag, bad graphics, and glitches that make the games a test of your patience.
While Pokemon fans might be used to poorly optimized games with mediocre graphics, GameFreak has pretty much crossed the line this time. If it weren’t for these performance issues holding Pokemon Scarlet and Violet back, they would easily be two of the best Pokemon games of all time.
Hopefully, GameFreak will learn from this and either improve Scarlet and Violet or fix these mistakes in the next generation of Pokemon.
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