Pokémon Scarlet is a Brilliant Prototype For the Next Game

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet came out on November 18 on the switch, and I absolutely loved it. As soon as I saw the trailer I knew that this would be the experience from Pokémon that I had been previously yearning for. I’d been getting tired of the train pokémon, beat gym, train pokémon beat gym cycle ever since Ultra Sun and Ultra moon, although I still enjoyed all the games. 

Official cover art of Pokemon Scarlet
Official cover art of Pokemon Scarlet (Nintendo)

From the incredibly divisive version of exclusive pokémon in each of the games, the unique design of the new legendary pokémon, and just the general aesthetics of Scarlet and Violet, this was the first time I truly had to think about which game to get. I picked Pokémon Scarlet as soon as I saw the fire psychic type Armarouge though. 

One thing that I especially enjoyed about the game was the range of objectives. Now, there are three different paths to take in the game. Victory Road where you battle Gym leaders, an elite group of pokemon trainers, and become a champion (or not). Path of Legends where you battle titan pokemon (bigger and stronger versions of regular pokemon). And finally, Starfall Street, where you raid the bases of team star (the seeming antagonists of the game). The best way to play in my opinion though is to find a guide of the levels and do them in a mixed manor. 

Another aspect of the game I appreciate is also one of its biggest flaws, the attention to detail. For example, when riding your legendary pokemon (long story) the music in each area is louder and much more exciting than when you walk without it, where it turns more solemn and elegant. This is something that obviously took time and effort and is one of my favorite parts of the game. At the same time though, the graphics are incredibly lackluster. Mountains become transparent, rocks are smooth and rough in a not-so-flattering way, and the NPCs walk so slow that it hurts your eyes after a while. The game feels unfinished because of little details like that.

Despite the beauties of this game, even those I haven’t yet touched on, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are far from perfect. The games had varying graphic performance and glitches (such as emote usage cousin long-term character design flaws), an insane amount of dialogue (what’s new though), and a free world that’s way too free.

Twitch Streamer interacts with an NPC, and its body and eyes just disappear.
Twitch Streamer interacts with an NPC, and its body and eyes just disappear. ( “Did you see that?”: Twitch streamer comes across a disturbing visual bug during a battle in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet)

What I mean by too free is that going into the game as soon as you arrive at the beautiful schools called Naranja Academy or Uva Academy, in my case Naranja Academy, I trained my pokémon for a little while and headed towards the nearest objective. I was met with an embarrassingly quick defeat. Now, this very well could have been a skill issue! But it’s arguable that the range of levels is not intentional or at least unorganized. After some searching though, I was able to find a fan-made list of the skill level of each objective in the game. While I admire Game Freak’s attempt at giving players a sense of true free will in the game, maybe including the skill levels of each gym leader, titan, and base would be extremely helpful.

I could go on and on about the beauty of this incredibly imperfect yet awesome game for a while, but it all comes down to one thing. If Game Freak uses Pokémon Scarlet and Violet as the bones for the next Pokémon game, I have full faith that it can become something undeniably perfect. For now, I’m enjoying the bones of that future perfection while gallivanting through an autumn forest on my Koraidon in Pokémon Scarlet.