Pokémon Scarlet and Violet aren’t as bad as people say


With the end of the 2022 year coming to a close, and the successful release of three mainline games already under their belt, the GameFreak company has released their final installment in the ever-popular Pokémon series for the year: Pokémon Scarlett and Violet.

Leading up to the initial release of the newest addition to the franchise, Pokémon fans, like myself, were skeptical of the game’s intentions and gameplay.

The announcement trailer released Feb. 27, 2022, by the GameStop channel, only allowed a quick glimpse into the virtual built world of Paldea, and as well as its primary starters are Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly. Later on, in August, Pokémon Presents released more information about the upcoming games revealing mechanics such as Terastallizing, open-world Pokémon, and the newly added multiplayer system.

While I can’t speak for the entire fandom, I wasn’t impressed with some of these latest gameplay features created by GameFreak (especially Terastalizing, the hats looked ridiculous, in my opinion), but I was excited to see what the brand-new game had to offer.

The beginning of Pokémon Scarlett and Violet can only be described in one word: cinematic. The game starts with the player inputting their names into the database and selecting their preferred default character. However, after that’s done, the player gets the chance to customize how their character looks right off the bat—something that’s never been done before in a Pokémon game. I thought that was a considerate and somewhat genius concept since that allows the player more creative freedom and bonding toward their in-game avatar. 

What follows is the in-game cutscene/introduction to the Uva Academy and its students, which, funny enough, plays similarly to what some compare as an advertisement. Regardless, the scene does a fairly good job of introducing us to the cast of characters we’ll meet in the first 20 minutes of the game, as well as the box legendary, Miraidon, or Koraidon, based on which version you buy.

Then, the game follows the typical Pokémon formula of meeting your rival and choosing between one of three starters as your partner. Quickly, I would like to give an honorable mention to the starter cutscene; I really enjoyed watching the trio goof off and burn stuff like a bunch of devil children given too much candy.

I would like to give an honorable mention to the starter cutscene; I really enjoyed watching the trio goof off and burn stuff like a bunch of devil children given too much candy.

The introduction of the box legendary at the beginning of the game was something that wasn’t really typical of the Pokémon franchise. Although I won’t give details on most of the stuff that happens in the game with the legendaries, I will say their almost-constant involvement in the story and gameplay was a pleasant experience to have.

The legendaries in Pokémon games are almost always reserved for the end or only brought up in small instances in the story; there has never really been a Pokémon game where the legendaries have a heavy presence or consistent impact on the overall story. It was an interesting approach that Pokémon took with the idea of integrating the legendary into the story, one which I feel gives the games an exclusive experience for returning players looking for something fresh and completely new to the Pokémon formula.

Likewise, the three rivals introduced at the beginning game also brought more innovation into the Pokémon recipe. The concept of being able to pick how the story progresses and choose which path you want to take opens a completely different door to the type of playstyle Pokémon can now interact with. 

While I think the design structure for gameplay failed to be properly implemented for these new games, the experience can certainly be useful for GameFreak in the future, as forthcoming games can be modeled on the failings of the previous to give whole new possibilities to fandom. 

Overall, I sadly wouldn’t recommend this game for new Pokémon players looking for a game to start on their gotta-catch-them-all experience; however, I would encourage older and more seasoned Pokémon players to give the recent games a chance.

The story of the Paldea region is ever-expanding and brings a lot of enjoyable elements to the table that senior members of the community might appreciate, as well as undergoing the exclusive ordeal of free-range adventures that can present themselves in later games.