Play Your Heart Out: “Pokémon: Scarlet and Violet”
by: Julia Hills
The line of people waiting for “Pokémon: Scarlet and Violet” weaved its way through the GameStop, and looped back outside. At midnight on Nov. 18, the wait was finally over and millions of trainers all over the world were finally able to suit up, and catch’em all.
The game begins at home. Your character wakes up on their first day of school, and your principal comes to your house to personally deliver your starter. There are a few different starters to choose from. First, there is Sprigatito, a grass type cat. Additionally, there is Quaxly, a water type duck. Lastly, there is Fuecoco, a fire type crocodile. Once you choose your starter, the game begins, and your character is sent off to school where they will learn the art of catching and battling Pokémon. Right?
Not quite. Before the player’s character makes it to school, they will meet some of their classmates. These classmates serve as tutorials at the very start. You’re shown the basic mechanics of the game, battling, picking up items, catching Pokémon, and how to access the map and your phone/main menu.
Once these are complete, the non-player character (NPC) invites the player to investigate a strange sound that just happens to be the cover character of the game. In the first hour of gameplay, you have caught the legendary Pokémon Koraidon (in Scarlet) or Miraidon (in Violet). Now you’re off to school, and the game begins. Right?
Not quite, again. Upon making it to school, the player explores the campus and there is a cut scene signifying a time skip. It is now time for your final project of the year: to go out and explore! Your character is offered three challenges by classmates and a mysterious character who somehow has access to your phone number. If you choose to accept the challenges, you’re sent off and the game (finally) begins.
The story itself is quite simple. Players have the option to follow the three main challenge paths. The first is Victory Road, where the player can defeat all the gyms on their map. Then Path of Legends, where the player explores caves and landmarks to find mythical herbs. Finally Starfall Street, where the player takes on the evil Team Star. Players can take these on separately, or all at the same time.
Players can also take the time to try and complete the pokedex. The pokedex is your character’s log of all available pokemon. In Scarlet and Violet there are currently 400 pokemon to catch and evolve.
This simplicity is typical of most pokemon games. However, some key differences players may notice are in the quality of graphics, the writing of the NPCs, new abilities during battles and, most notably, the open world of the game. Players are able to explore every inch of the universe created for them.
Opening the world is a new aspect of the pokemon franchise. Most pokemon games have followed a linear design. You move forward, and you keep going forward. The first full world experience was in the last installment, “Pokemon Legends: Arceus.” Scarlet and Violet took the successes of that game and expanded on them creating a beautiful experience for players. Every nook and cranny of the map is explorable, making the possibilities endless, and catching new Pokémon a breeze.
Facebook streamer and Youtuber LambentPanda reviewed the game after they finished playing.
“Violet/Scarlet is a big improvement on the open world style that was introduced with Pokemon Arceus. The exploration and new co-op features really make the game stand out among an already fun and nostalgic series,” LambentPanda said.
However, not everyone had a good experience with the game. Upon release, players noticed a slew of issues ranging from minor lagging to major glitches. The camera angles during battles are unpredictable, and the frame rates will drop out of nowhere. Objects will clip, meaning an item/character/creature will disappear, or fall into the ground. While these may seem insignificant issues, all of these combined makes for an uncomfortable and frustrating experience.
Nintendo has commented, promising to fix the issues with the game with new updates. In a tweet, the company stated “We take the feedback from players seriously, and will continue to work on improvements to the games.”
In all though, despite all the technical issues, the game is a delightful inclusion in the Pokémon franchise. There are hundreds of adorable new Pokémon, and a massive map to explore. If Nintendo follows through and these upcoming updates fix the technical glitches, this game will make a wonderful Christmas present for yourself, or for your trainer friends.
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