The newest Pokémon games are live on the Nintendo online store and in major retailers everywhere as of November 18, 2022. This new game introduces the new generation 9 of Pokémon, which has an entirely new region to explore and over 100 new Pokémon. Without a doubt, this is the biggest release of the year for the Nintendo Switch and the Pokémon franchise, and it is shown through the record number of pre-purchases this game has received of any Pokémon game ever.
Before jumping into the gameplay and what there is to be excited about, it is only fair to warn you this game has not met some players’ lofty expectations. There are a couple of reoccurring performance issues with the game, like low frames per second (FPS) at some parts of the game as well as visual errors that allow players to see through the bottom of the map. These issues are especially prevalent on older Switch consoles; however, they are not game-breaking by any means.
Getting into gameplay now, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet take some of the best features of Pokémon Sword and Shield and Pokémon Legends Arceus as its own. The new region, the Paldea Region, is an open-world experience after completing the lengthy tutorial you must play through to begin your journey. There is no set path all players have to follow in order to complete the game unlike every other game from Gen 1 – 8. As a player, you are given objectives and shown on the map where to go to do them; from there, every player can decide when they want to do these things. For example, there are 8 gyms and an Elite 4 that players must beat to complete the game, but the order in which these gyms are done are completely up to the player.
Across the Paldea region, there is also a new foe, similar to the original Team Rocket, that players must play through to beat. They are Team Star and they are treated like another objective. Just like the gyms, how and when they are taken on is up to the player. A minor cavoite on this point thought is Team Star often blocks your way into certain gyms so you often must beat them to access a gym you would like to beat.
The final main objective in the Paldea region is the Titan Pokémon battles. These Pokémon come from the end game crater zone known as Area Zero. They are giant Pokémon that have been mutated to be stronger than their original forms. Taking down these Titan Pokémon around the map will upgrade the bike and help players get around the map faster.
Moving along to the actual new Pokémon, there are 392 Pokémon in the Paldea Pokédex and about 120 are completely new Pokémon. They are themed around modern food and technology. An example of this is Tatsugiri, the sushi Pokémon, and Cyclizard, the motorcycle Pokémon. On top of these new Pokémon, there are Paldean forms of old Pokémon, just like there were Galarian forms of old Pokémon in Sword/Shield. An example of these would be Wiglett, the water form of the Pokémon Diglett.
The last major talking point is Terastallization. This is a new but familiar mechanic to Mega Evolutions or Dynomaxed Pokémon in Gen 7 and 8. Players can effectively crystalize their Pokémon while battling the make the stronger for a short amount of time. These Terastallized Pokémon also appear in the wild and in the new raid dens . Since the whole map is open world and you can see all the Pokémon without having to encounter them in tall grass, it is easy to spot the Terastallized Pokémon because they have a large pillar for light coming out of them.
While there are some performance issues with Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, the gameplay is some of the best seen in any Pokémon game. For any Pokémon fans out there, this game is probably worth getting because there is a lot of content to explore!