You'll love it if:
- You are a long-time fan of Pokémon adventures
- You enjoy open-world games
- You like mini-challenges throughout your game
Not for you if:
- You got tired of frequent Pokémon releases
- You are not a fan of open-world games
- You prefer a more structured type of experience
If you are a long-time Pokémon fan, you are probably looking forward to the latest game. With two new game releases this year, following Pokemon Legends: Arceus, fans worldwide were both excited for a new adventure, but also weary of the prospect of glitches and a semi-finished product. The truth is, that while the issues with Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are plentiful, the overall story, style, and freedom it offers you make up for the quick production.
Despite some issues present in the game, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet offer a fun and original Pokémon experience, perfect for those who love exploring. The map is full of challenges and new things to do, so every minute spent in the game will be enjoyable. It is fun, it touches on some important issues for the younger generations and it will be the perfect addition to your Pokémon collection this holiday season!
All the images in this article are captured in-game from the Nintendo Switch and individually picked to provide a more fulfilling experience for the reader.
A Look into Character Creation
When it comes to putting your character together, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet offer new players a few options to choose from. In short, you can choose between four skin tones, different eye, and hair colors as well as a plethora of hairstyles.
While previous games allowed for full outfit customization, you now only have four select outfit options to choose from. This is rather restrictive, especially since you won’t be able to change your character out of your school uniform.
Furthermore, finding and buying accessories along your journey in Paldea can be a little tricky. When you visit a new town in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, you will have to go through most of the shops to locate those that sell accessories. They can also be pretty pricey when you first get started with the game.
Story – Exploring the New Map
Welcome to your new home! You have just moved to the region of Paldea with your mom and you are about to join the famous Naranja Academy – the perfect place for student Pokémon trainers! Pokémon Scarlet and Violet offer an open-world game experience, where you can choose the order of your challenges and the places you visit. There are truly no limitations as to where you can go next.
The region of Paldea is full of rivers, canyons, big mountains, beautiful nature, and even snow! There are so many different places to explore in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, and as your Pokémon grow, moving from one place to the next becomes easier and easier. Paldea is also one of the biggest regions ever created for the franchise.
By far the easiest way to travel in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is by the Flying Taxi Service offered in the game. This works on areas you have visited before, and rids you of the need to use moves such as Fly, or have to travel by foot (or your huge Legendary Pokémon) to get from one area to the next.
Director Clavell – The First Professor Without a Tree Name
Director Clavell is the head of Naranja Academy in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. He is the one who will give you your very first starter Pokémon in the game and help you get situated in the Academy.
Clavell has been trying hard to rid the Academy of the issues caused by Team Star. To better understand the issues plaguing his school, he dresses up as a student called Clive and joins in operation Starfall.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet take a stand on the effects of bullying on young students. The reason why Team Star was created was to bring together students who were being bullied so they could stand up to their bullies. This is a current issue that affects students from many countries around the world and can have a positive effect on younger students playing the game.
Picking your Very Own Starter Pokémon
Just like in every other Pokémon game, you get to choose between three new starters in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. These three are:
- Sprigatito – A grass type Pokémon
- Fuecoco – A fire type Pokémon
- Quaxly – A water type Pokémon
All of them have two evolutions and are in general cute and creative starter Pokémon (even though Sprigatito is clearly the cutest, despite most people usually choosing the fire-type starters).
Something noteworthy for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is that choosing any starter won’t influence your progression in the game negatively. There are areas where each starter Pokémon will benefit your party and will help you achieve victory easily. This means that you can’t really go wrong in choosing which your starter will be.
Meet your Main Rival, Nemona
Every Pokémon game pairs you up with a rival and for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, this rival is Nemona. Nemona is the energetic and friendly president of the Student Council of Naranja Academy in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. She loves to battle and will somehow always find a way to be present at your biggest adventures.
When it comes down to it, she is not too challenging of a rival and she will also not pick a Pokémon with a type opposite to yours, thus eliminating the starter type advantage present in previous games. Therefore, you will be able to beat her in battle a lot more easily and she will motivate you to keep going until you also become a Champion.
Visiting Naranja Academy
After picking your starter Pokémon and battling Nemona for the first time, she will take you to see your very own dorm room in Naranja Academy. There, you can rest your Pokémon, visit your teachers around the campus and even participate in classes.
The classes range from Pokémon biology to tech and can teach you some fun facts about your little companions and the game. You can always go back to the Academy during your travels, and take as many classes as you wish, even though it’s not mandatory.
The Legendary Pokémon
Unlike other Pokémon games, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet allow you to have your Legendary Pokémon from the beginning of the game. The two Legendary Pokémon are called Koraidon and Miraidon, and both appear on the box art of each version of the game.
When you first meet Koraidon in Pokémon Scarlet, he is in a Low-Power mode where he is very weak. As you go through the game, he can gain new abilities and help you travel through the map with ease. Moreover, it is important to note that you won’t be able to use either of these Legendary Pokémon in battle until the final chapter of the game.
Adventures in Paldea
With such a large map in your hands, you can only imagine how many challenges await you! The game truly allows you to explore new places, collect Poké Balls and berries from every area of the map and have fun and challenging battles.
The Path of Legends
One of the first challenges you will be tasked with is taking on the Path of Legends. This is given to you by Arven, the child of a famous professor, who loves to cook. He lets you know about a special herb called Herba Mystica, which grows in large caves around Paldea.
These caves are usually occupied by humongous Titan Pokémon, which you have to fight to get your hands on the Herba Mystica. After beating each one, Arven will make you a special sandwich, which will help Koraidon gain new power-ups. Soon enough, he will be able to swim, sprint, glide, and climb, getting you wherever you need to go on the map.
Pokémon Gyms and the Pokémon League
Pokémon Gyms in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are so much fun, especially because of the Gym Tests you have to pass before competing with the actual Leaders. You will play hide and seek, find a secret recipe and hold an online stream with a famous Leader.
One of the great things about facing the Gym battles in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is that there is no order in which you have to tackle them. You can go to whichever one you wish from the beginning, but the game does not scale in level. Therefore, you will come across areas and gyms which will be tougher than others.
That being said, grinding for experience is a lot easier in this game, so taking up the challenge of a new area and a new Gym might just be the thrill you needed! This is the only way in which the game guides you through the levels, even though you don’t necessarily have to take this into account if you focus on leveling up your Pokémon from early on in the game.
All these and many more will make every Gym Test fun and special, and make you look forward to the next one! As you progress from Gym to Gym, you’ll eventually come in contact with the Elite Four from the Pokémon League as well as the Champion, Geeta. This is the final step in your game, which will help you unlock the title of Champion, as well as some other final perks.
After beating the game, returning Pokémon fans always expect some final quests to take place and give a fun ending to their Pokémon experience. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet do not disappoint in this either, as they allow you to go back to Paldea and:
- Challenge all previous Gym Leaders again
- Participate in the Academy Ace Tournament
- Find and Catch all the Treasures of Ruin Quarter
- Hunt for Shiny Pokemon
- Find and Collect all the Gimmighoul Coins
- Complete the Pokédex
- Find the Black Crystal Terra Raids
Team Star Bases
Another great challenge in the game is defeating all the Team Star Bases, which are found in different areas of the map. Team Star, as mentioned previously, is a group of bullied Academy students who just wanted to fit in. In a misunderstanding, they ended up being considered the bad guys and have now turned away from the Academy, as they never felt understood.
A secret agent called Cassiopeia will guide you through every base challenge, where you will have to fight some of their Pokémon to get to the leader. There, you will have to fight their Pokémon and then their Revavroom truck, which will have different stats depending on the Base.
Terrastalized Pokémon Battles
Another fun thing about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is Terrastalized Pokémon and Terra Raid Battles. A Terrastalized Pokémon is changed into its Terra Type for the remainder of the Pokémon battle and this increases the damage they do by using moves of this type. This is essentially an upgrade of the Mega Evolutions, which are not returning in this newest Pokémon release.
Terra Raid Battles can be spotted on the map very easily, and they give you some great rewards upon completion. You can also catch any Pokémon you encounter in a Terra Raid without fail. This can be a great way to expand your Pokédex and catch some Pokémon that are difficult to catch otherwise.
When it comes to your own Pokémon, Nemona gives you the ability to Terrastalize them pretty early into the game. This can be a great advantage in some difficult battles and can help you out of tricky situations.
Auto Battles – Grinding for EXP Made Easy
Lastly, something worth mentioning which will save you a lot of time and effort is the Auto-Battle option in the game. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet make grinding for experience so much simpler, as all you have to do is click the R button and bring your Pokémon out of its Poké Ball. In an area with a lot of wild Pokémon, this will enable them to go around and fight, and gain experience for your entire party.
Not triggering an actual fighting scene means that you can go through a bigger number of fights in a shorter amount of time and still gain a lot of experience. Your Pokémon will also collect any items found around it while it’s out of its poke ball.
Best of all, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet include 107 brand new Pokémon of Generation 9 to catch and use in battle. This is your chance to come in and meet them all!
Glitches and Bugs
It is undeniable that the game has some issues, even a few weeks after its initial release. Many fans were prepared for the fact that by releasing two huge games in one year, Game Freak would have a hard time keeping Pokémon Scarlet and Violet glitch and bug–free, and they were right. The game has issues that will hopefully be patched up in the future.
From disappearing scenery as you explore to NPCs walking around your character with super low FPS, Poké Balls throwing themselves at Pokémon, and many other issues, many might deem the game unplayable.
The truth is that, while plenty, these issues didn’t affect the gaming experience as much. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are well structured in regards to the story, offer a huge map to explore, and a truly refreshing gaming experience, as you always have something to do in the game.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: Some Final Thoughts
All in all, this game will offer you a fun and challenging Pokémon experience. It will take you around seventy hours to reach the full ending of the game, so be prepared to play for quite some time before you’re out of things to do. The fact that the Paldea map is so large will keep you occupied at every stage of the game and you will never get bored challenging a new Boss or finding your way around a rocky area.
If you are a little worried about the issues mentioned previously about the game, just remember; Glitches and bugs can always be fixed, but a good storyline can’t, and this is where this game will win you over!
Special thanks to CD Media for providing us with a copy of the game to review!