Pokémon Scarlet Review: It’s a flawed mess and still one of the best Pokémon games

SINCE the launch of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, fans have been talking about the game’s numerous technical glitches.

Pokemon spawn in walls, shinies are almost impossible to spot, it lags horribly, crashes, and has some fun visual bugs to boot.

Let's Go mode helps you level up faster.

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Let’s Go mode helps you level up faster.Credit: The Pokemon Company

There’s no denying that Game Freak’s most ambitious Pokémon game to date is riddled with technical bugs that could hamper fans’ enjoyment of the game.

Still, it’s still a step in the right direction in the series that has only served to disappoint fans since Generation 5.

Pokemon stuck in a cycle. The story was practically the same, tired, “stop the bad guys from taking over the world” storyline.

And whether they were called Totems or Gym Leaders, you always defeated eight of them and then ran the gauntlet of tough trainers.

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Whatever certain things were renamed, the formula was the same, and then came Pokémon Legends: Arceus, whose popularity made it clear that players wanted something new.

For the first time there is a true open world and you can choose the path you take.

You can take on Titan Pokémon like in Arceus, for HM-style movement options, use the new Let’s Go battles to defeat Team Star Bases, and of course you can take on the eight Gym Leaders and defeat the Elite Four.

The story is more character-driven than ever as you learn more about each of your partners and the struggles they’ve been through.

It’s surprisingly deep character writing for a team that often has motivations as deep as “I wish my daughter was prettier.”

All of the stories converge to a satisfying point where you enter a new area full of new, interesting, and high-level Pokemon.

In terms of combat, it still suffers from the same problem. It tries to make things challenging enough for those who know not to use Shadow Ball on an Alakazam, and easy enough for those who click everything, which is super effective.

That doesn’t really work here and stays firmly in the easy camp.

But with a slew of new items, abilities, and signature moves introduced, there have been new ways for hardcore fans to thrive.

When I looked at the new Pokémon roster, I was disappointed; Now that I’ve played with them there are a number of designs that I love.

Whether it’s Pokemon focused on signature moves like Hyperdrill, Rage Fist, or Gigaton Hammer, or new abilities like Supreme Overlord, Zero to Hero, or Good as Gold, there’s a lot here you’ll want to try .

This has made some of them ridiculously strong, but it will at least make for an interesting competitive scene that isn’t dominated by a single Pokemon like Last Generation and Zacian.

The convoluted methods of evolution seem to be here to stay, not offering all that much if the community cracks them collectively within hours of release, but do offer interesting puzzles for those who want to avoid all spoilers.

While I personally haven’t spent much time making sandwiches, these can also offer a boost to those fighting or those looking for the last Pokemon to complete the Dex.

The new generation is all about options. Ability Capsules, Caps, and Mints are all freely available, so you don’t have to strive for a competitive mon, but can build one instead.

All of this helps remove the tedious grind from the game as you search for the monster with the perfect mix of stats, skills, and nature.

Speaking of the perfect Pokemon, the new Terastilization gimmick offers more interesting options in battle.

Changing your Pokemon’s type isn’t always the best option, as it changes its weaknesses and resistances, and can also remove the same type’s attack bonus.

This means that unlike Mega Evolution or Gigantamax, there is a more complex strategy to use.

The new Tera Raid battles also allow players to get powerful and interesting Pokemon in a different way from the norm.

Paldea is huge, and while it’s not always the most visually interesting, the different environments offer different Pokémon to find and catch.

There are always more nooks and crannies to find and explore, encouraging you to play more and see every inch.

My main problem with the new game remains a technical one. Basic options that are usually present in mainline games are missing.

You cannot switch to set mode or turn off the battle animations. Combined with the lag, the time it takes to explain multi-hit moves and Pokémon abilities, the pace of battles can be exhausting.

Sometimes the animations to start a fight alone can take 30 seconds before you even choose the first move. That feels unforgivable in a game where you have to catch at least 400 beasts.

Changes still need to be made to adapt Pokémon to the modern era.

However, for the first time in four generations, Game Freak has proven it’s ready to deviate from its tried-and-true formula with promising results.

What we are left with is a game that has taken a number of important steps in the right direction, even if it hasn’t reached the ultimate goal yet.

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Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.

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