Pokémon Scarlet & Violet: Is It Worth the Purchase?

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet: Is It Worth the Purchase?

Angelina Testani, Staff Writer

Have you played Pokémon Scarlet or Violet? Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are the newest titles to be released worldwide and they have had mixed reviews. Released on November 18, 2022 for the Nintendo Switch, these games have faced critical complaints early on. If you have no experience with these games or Pokémon in general, you might be considering what fans must be unsatisfied with. While these games have their faults, they aren’t nearly as bad as some people like to argue. Pokémon Scarlet & Violet are decent titles that introduce some fresh ideas.

Firstly, the story and characters are top tier amongst others in the series. Fans have been complaining about storylines lately, especially when discussing Sword & Shield, but the plot and characters are praised for these games. The story takes place in the region of Paldea, where the player attends the Naranja Academy or the Uve Academy, depending on which version you own. The player embarks on the Treasure Hunt, where you can tackle the three story pathways in any order. The pathways are: Victory Road, which is the traditional quest of collecting the eight gym badges alongside your rival, Nemona, and becoming Champion; Path of Legends, in which your character teams up with an upperclassmen named Arven to collect Herba Mystica, which are guarded by large and strong Titan Pokémon; and lastly, Starfall Street, in which a mysterious figure named Cassiopeia has you raid the bases of Team Star to defeat each boss. Arven’s storyline is one of the best I’ve ever seen in a Pokémon game. In fact, he’s one of my favorite characters. He gives you the box legendary at the beginning of the game (Koraidon or Miraidon, depending on which version you own) since he despises it for keeping his parent away at work and neglecting him for years. He grew up alone and had to learn skills by himself. His mother/father is either Professor Sada or Professor Turo, depending on which version you have. Arven hasn’t seen Sada/Turo in years since she’s/he’s been at work in Area Zero, which is located in the Great Crater of Paldea in the center of the region. He actually ventured there alone to search for his mother/father, where his partner Pokémon, Mabosstiff, was injured by an unknown Pokémon. Determined to heal his dog, he collects the Herba Mystica with our help and Mabosstiff makes a full recovery. Later in the story after all three storylines are complete, we travel with him, Penny, and Nemona to Area Zero after Sada/Turo tells us to come. Upon arriving at the lab, it’s revealed that Sada/Turo has been dead for some time now, having been killed when trying to stop a fight between the two Koraidons/Miraidons that she/he successfully brought to the present via a time machine. The Sada/Turo that’s been contacting your character throughout the game was simply an A.I. version built by the original Sada/Turo before she/he passed away. This is especially difficult for Arven to learn, as he’s been evidently holding onto his resentment toward his parent throughout the entire game. His backstory and arc are very tragic and many fans sympathize with him. These characters and their storylines are very unique from other characters in previous titles.

Another positive aspect is the introduction of Terastalization. Terastalization is the new special gimmick for this generation. Ever since X & Y, Game Freak has introduced an exclusive new feature special to the corresponding generation; X & Y have Mega Evolutions, Sun & Moon have Z-Moves, Sword & Shield have Dynamax/Gigantamax, and now Scarlet & Violet have Terastalization. Terastalization can be used one time per battle and your Pokémon crystalize. It’s an interesting concept since the Pokémon’s typing can change. This can be used to one’s advantage, as seen in the gym battle with Iono. She uses electric types, which are only weak to ground types. Her ace/final team member is a Mismagius, which is a ghost type, but she terastalizes it and it becomes an electric type. Her Mismagius has the ability Levitate, which means it can’t be hit from ground type moves. What does this mean, then? No attack can be super effective against her Mismagius. It’s a clever tactic that I wasn’t expecting to see.

However, these games are not perfect. One flaw about them is the difficulty level. The battles are not very challenging. While it shouldn’t be extremely challenging, the more meaningful and memorable battles should be higher in difficulty since those trainers are meant to be tough. An example of this is the battle with Geeta. Geeta is the chairwoman of Paldea’s Pokémon League and is the person that players battle after the Elite Four. She holds the title “La Primera,” which means that she must be defeated in order to earn the Champion rank. Despite this, she is not challenging at all, which is ironic. What makes the irony worse is the fact that right before battling, she says this quote: “I am utterly incapable of holding back when it comes to Pokémon battles.” Are you sure about that, Geeta? Her team consists of these six Pokémon: Espathra, Gogoat, Avalugg, Veluza, Kingambit, and Glimmora. What’s wrong with her team? Well, some of her ‘mons are poor choices for a trainer that’s supposed to be difficult. It’s also important to note that the order in which she uses her Pokémon is flawed. Let me explain. Firstly, she can keep the Espathra, that one is fine. The real problems lie with Gogoat and Avalugg. Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Gogoat (It’s somewhere in my top 20 favorite Pokémon, to be honest), but it isn’t viable enough for a Top Champion. Avalugg is also an ice type with weak stats, so it’s easy to quickly sweep out of the way, since ice types are weak to types that are commonly present on teams. Veluza could be replaced with something better; its speed is oddly low, which is strange since it’s annoyingly fast when it chases players in the overworld. The biggest issue, though, concerns Kingambit and Glimmora. Kingambit is a strong choice to use, especially with its ability, Supreme Overload. Supreme Overload boosts Kingambit’s Attack and Special Attack stats for each of the defeated allies in the party. This means that if Geeta were to use it last, it’s Attack and Special Attack would increase a lot, since the other 5 members would be fainted. Instead, her ace is Glimmora, which she should absolutely use first instead of Espathra. Glimmora’s ability, Toxic Debris, scatters poison spikes at the opponent when it’s damaged by opposing physical moves. This is useful for the beginning of the battle since the opponent’s ‘mons would get poisoned when they are swapped into battle, which means that the Pokémon would lose HP on at the end of each turn. She would be harder to defeat if these changes were implemented.

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet are decent games that introduce many other new unique features to the fanbase. They aren’t as enjoyable as Pokémon: Legends Arceus, but they’re definitely still worth a playthrough. While they have their flaws, they are still worth the hype that they received.