A fully open world and the chance to ride Pokémon are among the changes introduced by the Game Freak with Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, the last two titles in the series of Pokémon games. Did the developers manage to breathe new life into the old franchise with all the changes?
The Falda District welcomes you
Taking players to the Paleda Region is the purpose of Pokémon Violet and Scarlet for the Nintendo Switch. A completely new district, this time a completely open world with towns that are clearly influenced by Barcelona and Madrid. In the new district, players will find familiar Pokemon, existing species with special forms, and even brand new ones – making the total amount of Pokemon in the game 1,008. They connect wild areas with vast fields or deserts.
Students at either Ava or Naranja Academy (depending on if you’re playing the Violet or Scarlet version) can experience a lot of fun activities in the new world. They can participate in classes for unique rewards, assist other students with missions such as discovering the goals of Team Star or gather legendary herbs. Both tasks provide variety to the series and bring exciting moments that Pokemon gamers are used to – catching all the pokemon in the area.
In this game, there’s the opportunity to become the district champion by participating in Pokemon battles at various institutes. As a slight refresh, you’ll need to complete quests or missions if you want to challenge the leader. Although it’s a nice extra to add more interest, unfortunately, the battles themselves seem a bit lackluster in comparison with Pokemon Sword and Shield, where they were much more dramatic due to being hosted in crowded stadiums with shouts and applause from spectators.
Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet allow you to accomplish your missions in any order. This creates a much more diverse gaming environment than the earlier titles in the series, as it allows for an open-world exploration of wild Pokémon located in grass, caves, and other secret locations. With each discovery made by players themselves adding to the sense of adventure throughout their play-through, this represents an incredibly welcome change.
You can explore the world by riding a legendary Pokemon that gets new abilities as you progress through the game, allowing you to reach previously inaccessible areas.
The difference is in the terra crystals
With the turn-based battle system that the series is known for, Pokémon Scarlet & Violet delivers solid gameplay. In a rock-paper-scissors game spring, the player can produce six Pokémon with which he can battle other players, each of which has an advantage and a disadvantage.
The game mixes up the familiar formula a bit with the ‘Terra Crystals’ that can give a Pokemon of certain type advantages over another type. With an electric terra crystal, for example, you can catch a water Pokemon, and as a result, it is no longer sensitive to electric attacks. Terra crystals have a temporary effect on the battle for 3 turns so as not to upset the balance of the game. Terra Crystals cannot be selected as a type.
During raid battles scattered throughout the game world, you will have to face strengthened Pokemon if you want to catch Pokemon with a different crystal. The level of difficulty changes depending on the ranking of the Pokemon when you have to team up with three other trainers locally – whose place is taken by the computer – or online with other players via the network. Sadly, the game-sharing system is cumbersome.
It’s impossible to talk about Pokémon Violet and Scarlet without mentioning the technical issues I experienced. While these never completely hamstrung my progress, things like dropping out of the game world or performance issues that caused stuttering did raise some eyebrows. After all, the game isn’t particularly graphically impressive – the visuals are nice enough with open-world environments and pleasant Pokemon and human models, but games like The Witcher 3 or Skyrim show off what the Nintendo Switch is capable of in terms of graphics and performance.
Despite this, I found this game to be one of my favorite Pokemon games, and it made me keep walking around with the Switch and taking it out to check out what new Pokemon are in the area, complete one more mission, and progress through the world’s annual plots of the game.
In addition, the soundtrack of Pokémon Violet and Scarlet complements what is happening on screen and is fun because one of the songs was even signed by Toby Fox, who created Undertale.
Here’s the bottom line
In summary, I would describe Pokémon Violet and Scarlet as the most player-friendly titles – not only did Game Freak finally provide a truly open world Pokémon game, but it also allowed several players to play together.
Combined with the largest amount of Pokemon ever, this is a very long game because it has an open world and you can go back and explore every corner of the map. Terra Crystal’s mechanics manage to add a lot of interest as it adds another layer of strategy to the familiar mechanics that will challenge both new and experienced players.