Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, the review

The most ambitious title in the most successful video game franchise ever

The time was now ripe for the Pokémon main series games to change shape for good. Not so much for an economic issue: the saga has always sold very well, and the latest Shield and Sword on Switch have not been outdone. It was more of a historical imperative: it was time for Game Freak to change a gameplay perfected over the decades but always similar to itself, and transform the game world hunting for monsters into an open world in which to roam freely deciding your own path independently. If Pokémon Legends Arceus had been the first experiment in this sense, here it is a completely classic Pokémon experience: there are starters, there are gyms, there are cities, and there are also many other things. Arceus was a title more focused on completing the Pokédex, while Scarlet and Violet are real coming-of-age epics in a new region.

Scarlet and Violet are set in the Paldea region, reminiscent of Spain. The two games differ in the cover legendary Pokémon, which we will meet and be able to ride from the beginning of the adventure, in a handful of exclusive Pokémon and in the name (and color) of the Academy that we will find ourselves attending as new students , after giving our avatar the features we prefer from a truly complete editor for the first time. From here, the game unfolds through three main missions: challenging the eight Gym Leaders to become champions, defeating all of Team Star’s settlements to overthrow them, and finally hunting down the Totem Pokémon, huge manifestations that threaten areas of Paldea. In addition to this, of course, you have to complete the Pokédex in regions teeming with monsters of all kinds, with increasingly complex evolutions and for the first time the possibility of using Teracrystallization, a phenomenon that gives Pokémon an additional power that can also differ from the principal.

On paper, everything works so well that we are faced with the most complex, largest and most to do Pokémon game ever. Game Freak has taken the right path from a gameplay point of view, even if as an open world the title lacks side missions. In practice, unfortunately, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is accompanied at the exit by a disastrous technical realization. As soon as you get out of narrow indoor areas, which is the main purpose of the game, you come across dramatic drops in fluidity, slowdowns, jerks, elements that load late, very low resolution textures. The game is generally affected by several bugs, although in our test we have never been faced with something that completely crashes the games. Pokémon RPGs have never been the technical top of their generation, just think that in 1998 the game was still in black and white: but in Scarlet and Violet the technical limits affect the general enjoyment and bring only one advantage, namely fast loading.

Game Freak isn’t a team capable of delivering a technically flawless open world in a relatively short amount of time, but the Switch is still home to the best open world game around, Zelda Breath of the Wild, and there’s no excuse for that. . Sure, within days of release, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are the fastest-selling games on any Nintendo console in history, so the question is fair: we can complain about the game’s poor technical execution all we want, but that’s what they want. gamers. A Pokémon RPG that finally breaks down the boundaries, which looks to the future by translating it into a more open and fun game, and which has the ability to glue adults and children to the screen despite the technicalities. Of course, it’s time for Nintendo to support Game Freak with teams up to par, otherwise this goose that lays golden eggs risks turning into an old-fashioned toy that will end up pleasing only nostalgics, beyond its play value.

Format: Switches publisher: The Pokemon Company, Nintendo Developer: Game Freaks Vote: 7/10