After Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, we cannot pardon Game Freak

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

After Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, we cannot pardon Game Freak: Even though two new mainline Pokémon games have been released today, the games’ expansive new open worlds haven’t generated much buzz among Pokémon fans. They aren’t talking about the lovable protagonists or the cute premade. Nobody appears to be mentioned that both “Scarlet” and “Violet” are, at their cores, entertaining games.

Fans and journalists are talking about how bad the games look and run, especially on earlier Nintendo Switches, and it’s easy to see why. See for yourself in the clip below how the game is played.

Even while “Scarlet” and “Violet” have a pleasant and engaging gameplay loop, my coworker Alyse Stanley and I pointed out in our review that the games’ numerous graphical and performance flaws constantly pulled us out of the experience. Even during the most basic animations, assets clip into each other, models appear and disappear at random, and there are significant frame rate difficulties.

Alyse complained that the game’s clunkiness was almost painful to deal with because the rest of the game was so enjoyable.

When asked about forgiving subpar visuals, one critic said, “How many times can you forgive it in a series before you have to stop giving the developer passes?” So, I chimed in.

In truth, this isn’t the first time Game Freak has struggled with the game’s performance or visual quality. Over the course of five generations of Pokémon games, Game Freak transitioned from a top-down 2D perspective to a more modern 3D look. There have been some growing pains associated with this change.

In their October 2013 release, “Pokémon X” and “Y” combined a top-down 2D perspective with a third-person view. After release, players complained about the game’s low resolution and rough textures, prompting the development of various fan mods that improved both. Game Freak upgraded the world’s color scheme and moved to full 3D for the following generation, Sun and Moon. Fans, however, complained about the jagged, muddy quality that persisted even after the Pokémon moves’ animations were simplified to an absurd degree. Once again, the games’ salvation came from fan-made tweaks and emulators.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

Then, the first Pokémon games for the Nintendo Switch, “Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield,” were released. For the first time in the series’ history, Game Freak admitted that technical constraints prevented the company from including all Pokémon in the games. Fans’ negative reaction to the Dexit dispute would have been mitigated if Game Freak had demonstrated how the change improved visuals and performance. Player complaints overdraw distance and pop-in from models, Pokémon, and interactable objects, as well as what they saw to be poor texturing, were voiced almost immediately.

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This year also saw the release of “Pokémon Legends: Arceus,” Game Freak’s first attempt at a real open world, albeit one on a smaller scale than that of “Scarlet” and “Violet.” Players once again complained about the game’s performance and visuals, with many calling out the game’s trees in particular for having particularly bad backdrop textures. The draw-distance bug, the pop-in bug, and the murky color bug all came back.

There has been a clear split in the Pokémon fandom since the 3D games were released. The argument that performance and visual quality are irrelevant is often heard. The most important thing is that people enjoy playing games. Others will say that Game Freak is hopelessly out of date. Having to leave the games due to technical difficulties is unacceptable.

For the most part, it’s understandable that the “performance doesn’t matter” faction of Pokéfans has given Game Freak a pass with each new Pokémon game since the series’ move to 3D. After a decade of stagnation, Game Freak was attempting to revitalize its series. It seemed reasonable to give them a bit of wiggle room. A real open-world experience, akin to a “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” trip, is something that many Pokémon fans have sought from the franchise from the beginning. Both Alyse and I feel ourselves to be members of this devoted audience.

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After “Scarlet” and “Violet,” though, the “performance doesn’t matter” argument will have a much harder time holding water.

The games’ notoriously poor visuals may have reached a new low with this spate of technical issues. It’s probably for the best that fans are losing patience with the developer. Aside from the games’ enjoyable nature, “Scarlet” and “Violet” are in an unacceptable state: they are hardly playable due to widespread graphical flaws.

Many inquire

Can we assume that Game Freak also developed Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet?

Both Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, created by Game Freak and published by Nintendo and The Pokémon Company for the Nintendo Switch in 2022, are role-playing video games (RPGs).

Can I play Pokemon Violet if I already have Pokemon Scarlet?

The two versions of Pokemon, Scarlet, and Violet, have their own unique features and variations, including new monsters, instructors, and clothing. A comparison of Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet is included in this version difference guide.

Do Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet feature a special ability?

Terastallizing is a new mechanic introduced in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. This lets Pokémon switch to their Tera type, which boosts their attacks until the end of the battle.

Can we expect huge evolution for Scarlet and Violet?

Many players are anticipating the release of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, but some are concerned that the games won’t feature Mega Evolutions. Unfortunately, it’s highly doubtful that they will show up in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.

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