Scarlet and Violet: A Terrible Masterpiece


Jerry Velazquez, Staff Reporter

Holiday Season for 2022 is rapidly approaching and one of the hottest new video games that people will want their hands on will be Pokemon Scarlet and Violet for the Nintendo Switch. This title recently released on November 18th of this year and has been one of Nintendo’s best selling games. However this does not mean the game is amazing with no issues, in fact there are a lot of issues, more than there should be for a franchise as big as Pokemon. Lets dive deeper into this game to figure out if it is worth it and if you should purchase this.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet take you through the brand new Paldea region as you explore. Unlike every game in the past this is the first Pokemon game to have a true open world. In Pokemon Legends Arceus you would only be able to traverse through 5 large open areas, however it wasn’t true open world, and in every game before Legends Arceus you would follow the region in set routes taking everything on in the same order. However in this game it is true open world. Because of this game being true open world they removed all random encounters and made all the animations such as evolution and egg hatching in the overworld. Unfortunately they also decided with this massive update to remove most of the interiors for shops and other buildings. When you walk into a shop all it does is open up a menu like it would with a PokeMart. Pokemon Centers are also all over the region in random areas along paths and are no longer a building you can walk into but rather more like a gas station you walk up to and heal up your pokemon. This game also brought love to old pokemon that really needed it such as Dunsparce and Wooper by giving Dunsparce and evolution and Wooper its own regional form.

Pokemon has not been known for its story or storytelling, however this game is better than almost every Pokemon game released in the past decade in that regard. The story is split up into three different sections that you can do in any order and provide different rewards but in the end you end up with the same outcome. You simply beat the game in whatever order you want. Lets go deeper into each story.

Victory Road is the first story route shown to the player, this route offers the player the ability to fight all 8 gyms in the region and collect badges to become the champion of the region. The gym typings this time around are as follows

  • Bug
  • Grass
  • Electric
  • Water
  • Normal
  • Ghost
  • Psychic
  • Ice

What truly stands this games gyms out from every other entry in the series is the fact that you can challenge the gyms in whatever order you would like. This is an amazing feature because this makes the game feel like it has more personality since you can fight them in whatever order you please. The only issue with this is the fact that there is no level scaling, this means that you could have no badges and level 10 pokemon and decide to fight the psychic gym and get pummeled by level 45 Pokemon. Sure its more realistic but it also disincentivizes you from wanting to battle them in any order and instead fight them in the order from weakest to strongest because of level scaling. After beating all 8 gyms you are able to take on the Elite Four and then the Champion of the Paldea region. Once again this game follows the trend that every Pokemon game on the Nintendo Switch has followed which is having a relatively easy game with no difficult battles and holds you hand along the way, although it only holds your hand in the beginning.

Path of Legends takes you through the Paldea region to fight 5 different Titan Pokemon, arguably this is the least interesting out of the 3 storylines however the rewards you get for defeating the TItan Pokemon are very much worth it to make the game more enjoyable. The character who helps you in this route is Arven who wishes to find all 5 of the Herba Mystica, in order to find these you need to beat the Titan Pokemon who guard it. The boss pokemon themselves are strong pokemon that are larger and stronger than usual. This storyline is very short only requiring you to defeat the TItans. Defeating each TItan rewards you with a new power up for your ride Pokemon Koraidon in Scarlet or Miraidon in Violet. The power ups are as follows

  • Klawf – Koraidon/Miraidon Dash power
  • Bombirdier – Koraidon/Miraidon Swimming power
  • Orthoworm – Koraidon/Miradon Jump power
  • Great Tusk/Iron Treads – Koraidon/Miraidon Glide power
  • Tatsugiri/Dondozo – Koraidon/Miraidon Climbing power

These are all amazing rewards that allow the player to traverse the difficult terrain of the Paldea region easier and faster as the map is not necessarily that good for exploring on foot. The map is also very large so obtaining these will be very good for your journey. 

Starfall Street is the third story line the player can take on. This route has the player take down Team Star bases across the Paldea region. Team Star is the evil team of this region and has 5 bases across the entire region in which you must take down. These bases are as follows

  • Dark
  • Fire
  • Poison
  • Fairy
  • Fighting

The bases are significantly harder than the other options if you are not that much higher of a level than the base. This story line is probably the worst out of the 3 stories simply because some areas are locked until you beat a base and then the rewards for the bases are not that good. The ending to the story has several plot twists however none of them stand out at all. Its pretty easy to tell. The only rewards you really get from Starfall Street is League Points and recipes for more TM’s.

The Way Home is the fourth and final story line in Scarlet and Violet, it follows the group of main characters as they head into the Great Crater of Paldea. Closer to the end of this story line there is an incredible plot twist and you find out more about the paradox pokemon and your ride pokemon Miraidon or Koraidon. Paradox pokemon are new variants of pre existing pokemon. In Scarlet they are ancient forms and in Violet they are futuristic forms. Unfortunately they are not executed well as they are only available in the post game and don’t have any evolutions or pre evolutions. You can only find them in the stage they are in. It sucks because you cant have them in a playthrough team and they don’t have any evolutions, they’re just there.

Sword and Shield is often regarded as the worst post game of any Pokemon game ever. It simply is running around fighting a few dynamaxed pokemon and then catching the box art legendary. In Scarlet and Violet it is better however it still isn’t that great. After beating the game you are tasked with defeating all 8 of the gyms again and then you will be able to fight in the Academy Ace Tournament. After you beat that the games you have completed the story and can only partake in a few activities. You can catch your box art legendary in the Great Crater of Paldea and can fight off raids and train pokemon up.

Ever since Kalos every new region has had its own unique gimmick mechanic. Kalos it was Mega Evolution, Alola were Z-Moves, Galar was Dynamaxing and here in Paldea it is Terastallizing. The Terastal Phenomenon is unlike the other gimmicks. Early in the game you obtain a Tera Orb which allows you to be able to Terastallize your Pokemon once before you need to recharge it at the pokemon center. The basic run down of this mechanic is when you terastalize you replace both of your pokemons types with its Tera Type, this means Altaria a Dragon Flying pokemon can have a fire Tera Type. Once it terastalizes into its fire Tera Type its becomes a pure fire type having all the weakness’, resistances and strengths of a fire type while also making fire type moves stronger. Every pokemon has the ability to terastalize and can have any of the 18 types as its Tera Type. Wild Pokemon usually carry the Tera Type of one of its types however there are 3 ways to get pokemon of different Tera Types. You can find a wild sparkling pokemon, you can fight one in a raid den, and you can change a pokemon Tera Type using Tera Shards. Tera Shards are an item some tera pokemon can drop Tera Shards are incredibly rare to come by so getting 50 of them for a singular typing will take an incredibly long time. It makes changing your pokemons Tera Type very difficult, they definitely should make a change to this either requiring significantly less or being able to obtain them far more quickly. Personally changing the amount from 50 to 15 or 20 might make it better because it will still take time and dedication to change your Tera Type but rather it would be easier and not a massive pain.

Dynamax raids were a massive part of Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield. They were battles where you and 3 other players would fight against 1 dynamaxed pokemon. If you defeated it then you would receive the ability to catch that pokemon and receives loads of rewards. In Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet they brought back raids in the form of Tera Raids. They were the same as before except with the new Terastalizing mechanic. In This game they are significantly harder than in Sword and Shield. They still give mostly the same rewards those being XP Candies and treasure loot. However the difficulty was definitely toned up to the max. 1 star raids are the easiest and the ones you have access to at the beginning while laters into the game you unlock higher leveled raids. At the end of the game you unlock 6 star raids which are very difficult unless you go in with a strong well trained pokemon. There are also 7 star raid events which will include even tougher pokemon. People who have just beaten the game have trouble against 6 star raids so 7 star raids are even scarier. Raids are a fantastic feature that was in the previous games that make me happier that they are back.

From December 1st until December 4th there was an event for a 7 star Charizard that had a dragon Tera Type. It was level 100 and was very strong however the event Charizard had some issues. Normally higher star raid bosses have OHKO(one hit knock out) protection however this Charizard would heal when its not supposed to. Some people also had issues getting in and the fact that you had to connect to Nintendo Serversp inside the game to update your raids was also pretty dumb. One other issue was the fact that Charizard could not be traded or battled with since it was considered by the game an “illegal pokemon”. Since Pokemon Home does not support this title yet you cannot transport a Charizard into the game however any charmanders you bred in the game still could not be traded. For the most part this  pokemon was unusable in online trades and battles simply because the developers being Game Freak made several mistakes and had no oversights.

One thing Pokemon has been well known for is their soundtracks. Pokemon has always had amazing soundtracks and just overall very good audio especially for. Each region and has its own unique music for different events and areas of the game. Every region has iconic music that any fan can recognize however in this game there isn’t any themes or music that stand out. The overworld music along with Penny’s theme are the only memorable soundtracks and that is because Penny’s theme is genuinely good and the overworld music plays a lot. In a lot of the intense and suspenseful scenes in the game there is no music and instead is just complete silence which can work at times but when it happens far too much and doesn’t really contribute much it becomes annoying because it simply feels like they skipped through making much music.

As we all probably know characters in any story come a long way in shaping the story and giving it more depth and personality. Characters are absolutely integral, in fact past regions have always had very memorable characters with plenty of depth. Rivals, gym leaders, evil team bosses, and champions have always been very memorable. Take Red, Blue, Professor Oak and Giovanni in Kanto. Brandon, May, Archie, Maxie, Wallace and Steven in Hoenn. The fact that so many characters from previous games are incredibly memorable and loved by the community says a lot about the Pokemon franchise and how they wrote those characters however Scarlet and Violet are very 50/50 with their characters. Arven, Nemona, and Penny are 3 characters that follow your adventures. Arven at first seems like an annoying guy who simply wants to acquire his goal by forcing you to join however quickly after completing his story line you find out why hes working towards his goal and you really feel for him, at the end of the story he feels like an actual character with depth and overall becomes a likable character. Next is Nemona who is your rival in this game and the president of the student council. At the beginning she is quite likable and shows great interest in the player for the entirety of the story. However later as you progress you start to like her a little less because of her personality. Its not bad per say rather her obsession with battling and all her lines talking about battling anything in sight get very dull and annoying. Lastly is Penny who isn’t really dealt with well. She shows up at the end of each successful base you take down in Starfall Street and rewards you with some pokemon materials. She is not prevalent in the game at all until the end where she goes into the Great Crater of Paldea with you. She is not fleshed out well at all and is rather underwhelming. There are other important characters like Chairwoman Geeta or Director Clavell who are memorable however are also not fleshed out well. Geeta is the champion of the region but when you face her she is very weak, she also doesn’t play much of a role in the story at all. Clavell does play a part in one of the stories however he does not help the player at all and is just there. The gym leaders and Elite Four are definitely memorizable but they don’t contribute anything at all to the story. There are no other student who play a role in the story and the Team Star leaders are also not memorable at all. 

Sword and Shield also brought a lot of new items into the game series that area amazing for competitive. This game expanded on that. It really feels as though this game was made with competitive in mind. You have single use TM’s that can be crafted, flying taxis return, bottle caps for IV training has returned, and nature mints have also returned. All of these features made competitive pokemon and simply creating a well trained team easier than the older games. 

One huge issue i have with the game is the map on your phone. When you pull up the map it is just difficult. When you want to see the map in a larger scale while still being able to see smaller details like the taxis or raids it prompts you to the large map of the entire region. And you also cant quickly get to one part of the map without taking a bit to scroll. If there was another option for a slightly larger map. They also need to make it so you can instantly go from one side of the map by zooming in and out of the map.

Other than paradox forms of pre existing pokemon these games also have new regional forms and new pokemon based on pre existing pokemon. Tauros and Wooper have received new forms. Tauros has 3 brand new forms, each of them having a different typing. Wooper has a new form as well, he is a ground-poison type and evolves into a new pokemon named Clodsire instead of Quagsire.

For the most part the game has a solid pokedex, the new pokemon are very good and the new animations for obtaining a new pokemon are all very good. The animation however is a big standout as it makes the game feel more unique, in fact the animation makes you want to collect more pokemon just to experience the animation. Evolving pokemon is also motivated because you can really see how much you fill out the dex. One massive issue is evolving Finizen into Palafin as you need to be playing with another player via the new union circle to evolve this pokemon. This means if you have no friends or a second switch then you are out of luck unless you have the patience until a Palafin shows up in a raid which is completely luck based. Another pretty big deal is the continuation of the removal of the National Dex which means less pre existing pokemon are available in these games. Once again this games pokedex has 400 pokemon with 107 of them being new pokemon. This means only 293 pre existing pokemon out of the 905 beforehand are usable in this game, that is roughly around 1/3 of all pokemon that can be usable in this game. Recently Game Freak has started a bad trend of removing the national dex which means less returning pokemon and it leaves a lot of pokemon stored away in Pokemon Home unable to be brought into any games. 

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have a few things that are very controversial, for starters the poor frames. Often times this game will dip well below 20 frames per second, and the max you can expect is 30 frames per second. This is slightly due to the hardware of the switch being over 5 years old however optimization is still possible to make games look and run better. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Monster Hunter Rise run on the same exact hardware as Scarlet and Violet yet they run much better and also look incredibly better. The visuals are another gripe of a lot of players. Compared to past games the visuals are very dull and the world often at times doesn’t have much textures. There are also lots of bugs in the game, normally I am not one who experiences that many bugs when playing games however I have experienced way too many of them. I have seen characters stretch out on the ride pokemon, falling through the map, camera glitches and spazzing out, I have also experienced a few crashes. In the older games I have never once experienced a crash however in this game I already have experienced 2. Lots of players have come out complaining about these issues online and have berated the comment sections of the official Pokemon accounts about their issues with the game. What makes matters even worse is after the release of the games and all the complaints about the performance Game Freak said that they received no complaints and that they weren’t planning on releasing a patch fix for the issues. Pricing is also going to be as big of an issue as it was in Sword and Shield with each game costing $60 and combined being $120, there is also going to inevitably be DLC just like there was in Sword and Shield as well. That is $30 for DLC in one game so i combined total of $60 for both, that is the same price of a brand new triple-a title. If you want both version of the game and the DLC when they release in the future for both games it would cost you $180 pre tax. Lag is also a huge problem in this game as when you try to initiate a battle with a trainer or wild pokemon it takes a few seconds longer than it should take to finally start the battle. It makes battling pokemon for xp a pain in the ass and makes the leveling up so slow however there is still plenty of methods to go around this issue. Another massive issue that needs to be changed immediately is the RNG of online battles, unlike past games where the game had real RNG this game does not and it makes some accuracy dependant moves completely predictable as it uses the same sequence of events for every battle. It makes competitive worse as it isn’t true RNG but rather just can you remember if a move will hit or miss that round. Lastly another massive issue is that unlike in previous games like Lets Go Pikachu! And Eevee! and Legends Arceus shiny overworld pokemon do not sparkle, this makes running past a shiny super easy.

Scarlet and Violet are currently a buggy mess that feels absolutely unfinished. Hopefully Game Freak does something to help fix their game, at the core it is a very good game however it is currently plagued with so many issues that a lot of the time makes the game unplayable and unenjoyable. It is clear with all the items introduced in gen 8 and the Terastal Phenomenon that this game had a bigger focus on competitive. This game truly does feel like an amazing game when it works as intended but when you experience really bad lag or crashes it truly demotivates you from continuing. However for the most part I definitely do recommend this latest entry into the Pokemon franchise however you may need to persevere through the issues until fixes are released.