Product Provided by Nintendo and reviewed by Daan and Konrad. How much can change in three years? In two words, a lot! When Sword and Shield were released in 2019, the games received mixed reception. At the beginning of 2022, we got Pokemon Legends: Arceus. However, Game Freak didn’t stop there and decided to push beyond with their next game: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. Brutally Honest, yet spoiler-free review of what was not shown in the trailers of Pokemon Scarlet & Violet. So be sure to leave a like, subscribe and press that notification bell as we’re going 2022 likes.
The winds of change begin with the story. You don’t start out exactly as a trainer in Paldea, this game’s equivalent to Iberia. Instead, the player is a student who is learning about the Pokemon experience. To learn about the world at large, you arrive at the academy and here, you are quickly introduced to Nemona. She is something as fresh as a rival with southern temperament throughout the journey. Something we have been missing for several generations! And with Quaxly, we traveled on the first, albeit somewhat linear, first route. As the game first truly opens up after you
arrive at the school, which we can all partake in as the open-world of Paldea opens up for us: Starfall Street, Path of Legends, and classic Victory Road. Without spoiling, there is a
voice acting, they hide a story underneath the surface that constantly redeems them. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet remains committed to completely avoid underwhelming the invested player. Just as advertised, Nemona is wonderfully optimistic every time she pops on screen. Arven, your guide during the Path of Legends, starts out annoying but that quickly swifts as soon as you get his real motivation. With that being said, we do think that some of the characters don’t get enough on-screen time. The gym leaders in particular really suffer from this. Outside of maybe one or two, who do receive the time they
deserve, but the rest basically come and go as the game pleases. Then again, that is a part of the price we have to pay for non-linearity but more on it in the gameplay section. Speaking of. The main star of the show, namely gameplay itself. Scarlet and Violet are open-world games and pretty much a similar open-air experience to the one found in Zelda: Breath of the Wild, at least in the later stages. Meaning you can explore in any given direction and go as you see fit from early on in the game. Throughout most of the game,
the player will travel on foot, but to fully explore, hop on Koraidon’s or Miraidon’s back to explore one seamless open area with different locales. Wild Pokemon will roam around and strike when you hit them or they hit you. With a more open approach, you can see which Pokemon you want to go for and how you want to go from point A to B. This is further encouraged by the fact that any of the main quest lines can be done in any particular order, given that you can reach the specific locations. With that being said, the
true struggle lies in deciding which game to buy, as the differences between Scarlet and Violet are significant. And the choice of which version to buy really depends on the legendary you prefer. Regular Pokemon present in the game without trading, which color of your academy and professor you prefer and what you rather go for, a deeply organic past or high-tech future. And there is a significant difference between the two which we will naturally not spoil. This open set-up of the game leads to you going off the beaten path, maybe more than you think you would initially.
Game Freak has clearly learned from the Zelda team as distractions are aplenty in this world with different objectives and creatures available for you to interact with. While you might want to continue the story, it is easy to progressively go deeper into a certain direction and grab all the Pokemon around instead. Unlike Zelda though, regardless of where you go and do, you will eventually find a brick wall that is currently impossible to overcome. For instance, during our attempted Breath of the Wild off the beaten path-like exploration of the map, we decided to sneak our way to
a specific gym. Half for curiosity, but also half to know if there’s a barrier that would block us in any way. It turns out that you can make your way to certain towns early, but the levels won’t scale to your level. There is seemingly still some sort of order in place. For the first half, we didn’t end up using the ”recommended destination” feature found at the Pokemon Center, which caused some interesting side effects. We skipped over the easiest option in each of the paths, and ultimately ended up doing all of those last. What we believe
happened is that the game looked at our Pokemon levels, and decided we should go to the ones that are in line with our abilities and skills. Koraidon and Miraidon, depending on the version you play, are basically big bike Pokemon that help you guide this world. Stellar companions albeit a little slow for much of the game. Why do we say that as you aren’t able to dash for a while. You see, the rideable Pokemon regain one power at a time, allowing it to eventually jump higher, glide or climb walls. Again, in an ideal world, like in
the case of Breath of the Wild, you would like to have all those powers within the opening hours. But given that these are earned through the Path of Legends… well, it will take a hot minute or precisely, many hours, before you have complete open-air rather than open-world freedom in the map. And in this regard, it is more comparable to the traversal Pokemon in Legends Arceus. That being said, the backstory on the new legendaries was far more interesting than we initially imagined. There are no more indoor Pokemon Centers. hey are all located outside as stations similar
to real life petrol / gas stations or in the case of Breath of the Wild, Zelda’s stables. Offering different services like healing or purchasing items. The Pokemon Centers also act as a point you can fly to, allowing you to travel across the entire map quicker. And you will need to use the Pokemon Centers in order to bring the heat to wild Pokemon, the various challenges and make progression that bit smooth. Victory Road is pretty straightforward and just like in past games. Players battle to collect 8 badges, challenge the Pokemon League and become the champion. In
the Path of Legends, you will team up with Arven to explore special Pokemon named Titans. The titan Pokemon are absolutely massive, and kind of tricky to take down fast. There are some fun lore moments to be had here and the more personal interactions throughout with Koraidon or Miraidion are extremely cute. Last but certainly not least, there is Starfall Street. You, together with some secret operatives, want to take down the bases of Team Star. This ruckus gang of students want to take matters into their own hands and have taken control of certain areas. Your mission, if
you choose to accept it, is to go to these areas and defeat the five crew bosses by challenging them to a Pokemon battle. And a long list of Pokemon in more or less Pikmin-esque affairs. The backstories of the Team Star members is legit interesting. One thing that plays a role throughout the game though is Terastallizing, the big new mechanic, or if some will call, gimmick. With this option, players can turn Pokemon into one singular type and reap all the benefits from it in the process. Certain moves will grow stronger, type advantages alter, and momentum shifts
almost immediately. The Terastal phenomenon can only be used sparingly. In fact, only one Pokemon per battle can use it. Even then, in the story mode, the usage of it needs to be recharged at a Pokemon Center. This is an all or nothing mechanic, which ultimately focuses more on the pure battling aspect of Pokemon. Which is positive. Less gimmicks, more skills. Speaking of Terastallizing, the Tera Raid Battles come with awesome music from Undertale’s Toby Fox which arrangement has not been left to the very end of the post-game this time. In fact, this entire soundtrack is a
true banger and doesn’t disappoint despite the transition to the open-world. And while traveling through Paldea, you can partake in numerous raid battles that offer up unique Tera types attached to Pokemon. And these are especially interactive when it comes to the online co-op gameplay. But there are also twists. Imagine a water type turning suddenly into a fighting type. Until you approach, you have no idea what you are getting, which is honestly exciting. For defeating and capturing these special Pokemon, you will get handsomely rewarded with experience and stat boosters, so there is no reason not to partake
in the festivities. Once again, they are far more engaging than the Dynamax raid battles, because the reward can be such a wonderful mix of insanity. Before we head into performance, we want to bring one thing that we didn’t touch on and for good reason: the towns. While there is some intrigue found in some of the places, the usage feels a bit more underplayed. As at the end of the day, the fun of Scarlet and Violet are the objectives and missions, and not so much where they take place. The shops offer a nice variety of options
and items, but frankly, there isn’t much to do outside of that. Your typical customizations and makeovers. There aren’t many NPC buildings you can enter, which leave a bit of an empty and shallow impression. Instead, the NPCs are now all on the street, which is something you like or you don’t. For our money, it is forgettable and not a major dealbreaker, but something we did miss a little. And no doubt, there is still a long way to go until we have as dynamic NPCs in Pokemon as we are used to in other open-world franchises. We absolutely
love to play this game together with our friends, as it truly adds to the community feeling of the experience. I would definitely argue that the online and online multiplayer is one of the best things added in the series. as you can play with your friends right next to you or far away. When it comes to the performance of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, we would say that it is sound enough. The environments are colorful and the world is quite vast in scale. That being said, textures are somewhat fuzzy from afar and there is a big difference
between the character models and the backgrounds surrounding them. Also, and the frame rate isn’t smooth 100% of the time. It is definitely not as detailed as Breath of the Wild’s Hyrule, but we already knew that since the reveal trailer. Overall, you can work through this and nothing here is actively awful or working against you. That being said, there are a few unfortunate clipping now and again, which we hope that Game Freak will fix in due course. Ultimately, you kind of have to look at what is here. In that sense, the developer can be commended on
what they have achieved, despite the for 2022 dated background visuals. What helps is that the characters and world are fun to explore. Bringing the South European Latin flavor and temperament in spades. With that in mind, we are glad to grant Pokemon Scarlet & Violet our brutally honest score of… The open-world has turned mainline new generation Pokemon into a far more seamless experience and though there is still a long way to go to the Kings of the open-world genre, this is a solid beginning. Generation 10, or if you prefer X, will definitely be interesting whenever it
comes. Until then, we will enjoy our years in Paldea with its Iberian flair which was the perfect fit for this giant leap for the franchise. If you enjoyed this review, then be sure to leave a like, subscribe and press that notification bell if you haven’t already. All to not miss our upcoming Scarlet and Violet videos! Last but not least, a big thanks to all of you watching until the end and to all our Patreon.com/commonrealm patrons and in particular, Royal Producer, Charles Szasz. You rock! And please enjoy one or both of these two awesome videos!