Pokémon Scarlet & Violet was released a week ago. The region of Paldea offers a vast and diverse landscape that reflects on its incredible Pokedex. For the first time ever, trainers can complete three different storylines that can be completed together or separately. As a new student in the (in my case) Uva Academy, you are given the choice of three starters. These three starters, in my opinion, are some of the best-looking trios we’ve had in a while. The grass starter Pokémon is Sprigatito, a quadruped feline with an adorable dark green leaf mane and a big set of adorable eyes.

The fire starter, and the best looking of the three, in my opinion, is Fuecoco. This bipedal fire croc has a chunky red body with a white face. Fuecoco comes across as a goofy Pokémon that is obsessed with food. The suave-looking duck is Quaxly. Unlike the other two, the squeaky clean water starter is not a native of Paldea, and it’s believed to have traveled from a far-off land. 

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As the main character dives further into the legend of Paldea, we are introduced to new characters such as director Clavell, the battle-craze Nemona, and the rather awkward and extravagant Arven. The latter is a great cook, but not so much of a battler. You’ll be tasked with retrieving some herbs for Arven, only acquirable by defeating titan Pokémon located in the Paldea region. Nemona is your mentor/rival, battling you at any chance she gets. She is a highly skilled trainer that encourages the main character to get stronger as the storyline progresses.

Then there’s Clavell, a well-mannered older gentleman that is the director of the Uva Academy.

There are plenty of other characters to meet. Some of them with a very complex backstory, and some hide secrets only discoverable as the story progresses.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Performance

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet excels at replay value. I don’t think I’ve been this immersed in a Pokémon game since Black & White. Although I loved Sword & Shield and Legends Arceus, Scarlet & Violet has a wide variety of Pokémon available to capture and train. By the third gym, my Pokémon were 15 levels higher than what they needed to be. I had so much fun running around catching different Pokémon, battling trainers, and playing with friends that I got lost in the fun. However, if you’ve been playing the game this long then there is no way you haven’t noticed the game’s poor performance.

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The biggest flaw of the latest installment of the franchise is the much less desirable performance that the game provides. NPCs walk in the background like block characters, the game will occasionally crash, and the overall frame rate just absolutely tanks from time to time. Coming from Pokémon Legends: Arceus, I expect a similar performance but somehow, we got a game that performs much worse.

Considering that Nintendo charged full price for the game, and will most likely release a DLC with a price tag worth at least half of the original price, a stable performance, one that reflects the performance from other Switch games, was the least we expected. Nonetheless, if the frame rate drops and the occasional Minecraft-like movement from background NPCs do not bother you, then you are in for a fantastic adventure. 

ONE OF THE VERY BEST

Personally, the issues that come with the game do not ruin the fun for me. This new format of Pokémon games is something I’ve wanted for a very long time. As a gamer that grew up in the 90s, the occasional frame rate drop and poor performance is not something that ruins the overall playability of the game since (I can’t believe I’m about to say this) “back in my day” that was the typical experience with many games.

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If Nintendo can figure out how to sort the issues present in these installments in a timely manner, then Scarlet & Violet will go down as one of the greatest new generations in the history of the franchise. There are some big letdowns for me such as Dunsparce’s thoughtless evolution and lack of an ancient form (it is literally in its Pokédex description), Palafin’s rather bizarre form (we waited so long for a dolphin Pokémon…), and the still lackluster outfits we saw from previous gens being hardly improved.

In my opinion, Pokémon Violet (Scarlet) has earned an 8/10 with the potential of a 9/10 if the performance issues are sorted.

Pokémon Violet and Pokémon Scarlet are both available now exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.

What are your thoughts about Pokémon Violet & Pokémon Scarlet? Which starter did you choose? Are you a fan of the new picnic system? Let us know in the comment section. Don’t forget to follow all our social media pages, turn the notification bell on where applicable, and check back often. We’ve got plenty of exclusives still to come this year. Until next time!

*review based on my experience with the game’s performance

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