Video Game Review: Two long-time Pokémon fans talk highs, lows of ‘Pokémon Scarlet,’ ‘Pokémon Violet’

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‘Pokémon Scarlet’ and ‘Pokémon Violet’ are the first open-world RPGs in the Pokémon series. (Photo courtesy of Nintendo)

Shirley Liu ’23: What were your expectations going into “Pokémon Scarlet and Violet?”

Jefrey Alexander ’23: See, it’s always on the floor. I’ve been very disappointed with the past couple of games.

SL: I think I have really low expectations for Pokémon games just because if it’s a fun game, I’m going to enjoy it. There was some controversy surrounding this game in terms of technological glitches; I really am willing to overlook the glitches. The game is just so free, and it’s very different from previous games in the sense that it’s open-world rather than having a very linear story. Can you speak on that how you feel about that?

JA: I really enjoy it. Within the first hour of playing, they were done holding your hand. They were like, “Figure it out, good luck.”

SL: I’ve finished the game and honestly, I really liked the story. The final battle is amazing. What did you think of the story from what you played of it so far?

JA: I only like one story so far. I’m almost done with all the [three] stories but I know there’s more afterward.

SL: I think one problem is that a lot of players are not going to get there because they’re going to be so turned off by the glitches or the fact that the pace of the beginning is really slow.

JA: The problem that I’m experiencing is that I’m at a point where it just feels too easy. I really wish that they would have adequately level-scaled. If you have an open world, you have to implement mechanics that allow it to be an open world. It feels lazy, and that’s something you can always say about Game Freak: it feels lazy.

SL: I totally agree. Obviously, the open-world structure of it is awesome, but one detriment to it is that you have the freedom to go literally anywhere you want, and so that level scaling just doesn’t really work.

JA: Legends: Arceus” was designed significantly better than “Scarlet and Violet.” I just don’t understand what happened there.

SL: You said lazy; I don’t think it was lazy. It feels like they half-finished a product and then decided to put out a half-finished product instead of fully fleshing it out. I mean, they released this game literally in the same year as “Arceus,” so there’s a sense of rushing it out. I think I would have rather waited than have a glitchy game.

JA: I love Pokémon. I like the direction they’re heading in, but as much as I am committed to them, I wish they would show that same commitment to us. But they don’t have to. They’re a multi-million, maybe billion, dollar company.

SL: Despite all these criticisms we’ve talked about, would you recommend this game to an experienced Pokémon player or to a new player?

JA: A new player? Not until they patch it. An experienced player? Not until they patch it. It’s not that I’m not recommending it because I’m like, “Bad game.” This was genuinely, probably the best Pokémon game I’ve ever played. But me being like, “Don’t get it,” is just me being like, “Don’t support this multi-billion company that is being very lazy. It’s like, you can hire people to test these games, fix these glitches. They could have done so much with it.