With Pokemon Legends: Arceus, Sport Freak dipped its toes into what an open world Pokemon sport could possibly be. Whereas Pokemon Legends: Arceus was not a totally open-world sport, it did characteristic wide-open zones for gamers to discover, laying the groundwork for what would observe with Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s large, open-world Paldea area. However the place Pokemon Legends: Arceus felt like a breath of recent air for the long-running franchise, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet characterize a large misstep.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet get rid of the established principal sequence Pokemon formulation of linear development in favor of embracing a very open world. Following some tutorial quests initially, gamers are let free within the Paldea area to pursue the three principal story quests. One quest is the standard Pokemon journey of defeating gymnasium leaders and difficult the Elite 4, one other is about taking up super-sized Titan Pokemon, and the third has gamers combating the antagonistic Group Star group.
Longtime Pokemon gamers will notice that these storylines are recycled from earlier video games within the sequence, although the distinction right here is that gamers can sort out them in any order they want. Whereas Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have an optimum route that may be adopted, gamers may technically combat the gymnasium leaders fully out of order or outright ignore the Group Star battle in the event that they so want. The shortage of stage scaling makes this implementation a bit clumsy, however the freedom remains to be appreciated.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s three quest strains could also be acquainted to Pokemon followers from a structural standpoint, however they’re positively extra partaking due to some heartfelt writing and likable characters. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s writing is not going to win awards any time quickly, however Sport Freak clearly made an effort to make the plot extra attention-grabbing than it has been in most Pokemon video games, so followers will possible recognize that as properly.
Sadly, as Pokemon Scarlet and Violet gamers discover the open world and full goals within the three quest strains, the sport’s greatest points will grow to be readily obvious. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet undergo from frequent efficiency points that drag down their body fee and trigger a wide range of graphical oddities. Our time with the video games solely noticed one game-breaking bug, with many of the glitches purely visible in nature, however the video games clearly undergo from a scarcity of polish.
The larger drawback is Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s lifeless open world. The Paldea area is basically an unlimited wasteland that gamers undergo merely to get to the following city to finish the following goal. There is not a lot in the way in which of aspect quests or attention-grabbing areas to discover. Sport Freak crammed the open world with constantly-spawning gadgets and Pokemon and referred to as it a day. It is a disgrace as a result of there’s a lot potential with an open-world Pokemon sport, and Pokemon Scarlet and Violet merely fall in need of realizing that potential.
Exploring the Paldea area in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet can grow to be annoying because of the efficiency issues, working into absurdly tiny Pokemon, and the way the terrain can generally be unwieldy. Early within the video games, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet gamers get their field artwork legendaries as their mounts. Defeating the Titan Pokemon grants entry to a particular merchandise that provides the mount legendary extra talents, in flip dashing up exploration and making it extra bearable, however that underscores the issues with the sport’s open world. In different open-world video games, exploring the open world is a part of the enjoyable, however in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, the open world is just an impediment to attending to the extra partaking content material.
Some hardcore Pokemon followers will be capable of look previous the lackluster open world and discover enjoyment in finishing their Pokedex, and there’s real enjoyable available there. It’s nonetheless extremely thrilling to find all the brand new Pokemon in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. As common, there are some terrible designs like Flamigo (it is actually a flamingo with one letter taken out of its title) and Gholdengo (anthropomorphic string cheese sporting a belt), however there are some nice new Pokemon designs right here, too. Some old-school Pokemon additionally get new evolutions in Scarlet and Violet, which is all the time enjoyable to see, like Primeape’s new Annihilape evolution and Girafarig’s Farigiraf.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have a mixture of unhealthy and good Pokemon designs, however there are some which are downright lazy. Wiglett and its advanced type Wugtrio are mainly re-skins of Diglett and Dugtrio. The identical goes for Toedscool and Toedscruel, who’re dead-ringers for Tentacool and Tentacruel. There are different examples, however for sure, there are lots of who’re prone to be let down each time they arrive throughout these unimaginative rehashes.
Battling in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is similar because it ever was, however with the brand new Terastallizing gimmick thrown into the combination. Terastallizing in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is the Technology 9 equal of Mega Evolutions and Gigantamaxing. It offers one Pokemon an enormous benefit in battle, although as a substitute of giving the Pokemon a brand new type or having them develop in dimension, Terastallizing considerably boosts the facility of a particular kind. For instance, a Hearth-type Pokemon’s assaults may get a significant buff after Terastallizing, however the gimmick has a extra attention-grabbing perform as properly.
Terastallizing permits Pokemon to quickly change their varieties. Whereas Pikachu is often an Electrical-type Pokemon, one could be caught that has the Flying Tera kind, which suggests it might probably quickly grow to be a Flying-type Pikachu. Kind-changing utilizing Terastallizing can throw an enormous curveball in a routine battle, and it actually provides an attention-grabbing wrinkle to the proceedings gameplay-wise.
That being stated, Terastallizing lacks the “wow” issue that Gigantamaxing and Mega Evolutions delivered to the desk. As an alternative of giving the Pokemon spectacular new kinds, Terastallizing coats them in a shiny armor and places an elaborate sculpture on their head. If swapping varieties additionally shook up the Pokemon’s look in a extra significant manner, Terastallizing would have been a bit extra attention-grabbing, however because it stands, it is a satisfactory gimmick that makes battles extra entertaining with out feeling fully essential to the proceedings.
One super new addition in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is the implementation of co-op. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet co-op enable 4 associates to discover the identical Pokemon world collectively. It is useful for accumulating version-exclusive Pokemon and competing in raids, however in any other case everybody’s development is unbiased of each other. There wanted to be extra co-op particular actions, however what’s right here remains to be an excessive amount of enjoyable with associates.
Enjoying with associates, developing with battle methods, and catching Pokemon are probably the most entertaining actions in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. Sadly, the tasteless open world and technical issues overwhelm what may have in any other case been one other distinctive principal sequence Pokemon sport expertise. The bones are right here to construct one thing particular, so hopefully future Pokemon video games do the idea of an open-world Pokemon sport justice.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are out now, solely for the Nintendo Swap. Sport Rant examined each variations of the sport for this assessment.