Pokemon Scarlet & Violet: How to do a 3D Pokemon Game Right

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Pokemon: Scarlet and Violet. Author’s Screenshot.

A Pokemon trainer taking a selfie next to their Torkoal, the coal Pokemon.

Alucard Hinchman, Writer

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet were released on Friday, November 18th. Over 10 million copies were sold within the first three days, and even more have been sold since. Warning, as minor spoilers will be contained in the article.

Immediately, one of the biggest changes the game makes is the change to being an open world game. An open world game is when the game can be completed in almost any order. Pokemon already experimented with being open world in Legends: Arceus, but this game gives players more freedom.

In Legends, players were restricted to traveling specific sections of the map without being able to directly cross between sections. Though in Scarlet and Violet, the entire world blends together. There are no borders, and you can travel anywhere in the Paldea region at any time.

Another difference from Legends is the way Pokemon riding works. In Legends, you had multiple ride pokemon that each served a specific travel purpose. In Scarlet and Violet, all means of travel come from a single pokemon. The Pokemon depends on the game, with Scarlet having Koraidon and Violet having Miraidon.

The game follows three central plots that can be completed in any order: Victory Road, Path of Legends, and Starfall Street. Victory road is the standard pokemon experience, involving the trainer going through different type-based gyms throughout the region. Before each battle, the player has to do a specific challenge or puzzle in order to be able to battle the gym leader. After taking a champion assessment, the player has to fight the Elite Four and the champion. Many people cite this story line as their favorite, with sophomore Patrick Ford stating, “My personal favorite storyline was the gym leaders, but they were pretty standard, I think I’m mostly just a sucker for a classic storyline.”

Path of Legends follows the story of Arven, who is determined to find all of the Herba Mystica across the region. Herba Mystica are herbs that are guarded by different titan Pokemon, which are larger and stronger versions of regular Pokemon. After finding and defeating the titan Pokemon, you can feed your ride Pokemon some Herba Mystica. Doing so allows the Pokemon to be able to travel in more efficient ways, such as flying, swimming, and climbing.

Finally, Starfall Street involves the trainer going to Team Star bases in the regions, and defeating the grunts inside. While this may sound similar to Victory Road, Starfall Street is definitely different. The first section features what is called “Star Barrages,” which is when a bunch of grunts throw multiple pokemon out at once, and you have to send out your pokemon to defeat them. After beating all of the pokemon necessary, you have to win a battle against the leader of the Team Star base.

 

Pokemon are very animated in the overworld, and it feels very real. They did a huge graphics overhaul that went beyond what Legends: Arceus did and made the textures even better. They added scales, fur, and redid the metallic textures on pokemon.”

— Patrick Ford

 

A lot of the new animations and textures give so much more life to the game than previous installments. Ford describes how these updates give the game so much more depth: “Pokemon are very animated in the overworld, and it feels very real. They did a huge graphics overhaul that went beyond what Legends: Arceus did and made the textures even better. They added scales, fur, and redid the metallic textures on pokemon.” Adding these details makes the game truly feel alive, and makes the game way more immersive.

Customization in the game has had a massive upgrade. While your character is required to wear their school uniform at all times, there are tons of different hair styles, hair colors, outfits, and even the eye shapes can be changed. This is a far step up from previous generations, where certain details about characters could not be changed at all.

Just because the game is good doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong with it. Scarlet and Violet suffers greatly from frame rate drops, camera clipping, lag, and lighting bugs which can break your immersion from the game and make it feel like it’s still in development. Pokemon can occasionally get stuck in objects and walls or even sink into the ground. The game crashed a few times, one of which cost about an hour of progress.

Some feel like Scarlet and Violet was a downgrade from Legends, with how the new mechanics and animations work. Jordan Fannon, a sophomore, describes why she feels the new games were a downgrade, “Legends: Arceus is a better game in every way. The Pokémon catching mechanics, the fighting animations, the visuals, etc. The one place where Scarlet and Violet improves is customization, and even then you can’t customize your uniform other than four basic options.”

Another recent problem appearing isn’t in the games themselves, it’s with the community. Before Scarlet and Violet were released to the public, leakers were taking screenshots from early versions of the game and spreading them online with little regard for those who want to remain unspoiled. Even if there weren’t screenshots for a while, months before the game released pokemon were being leaked. What Pokemon were reappearing in the games, all of the convergently evolved pokemon, the titan Pokemon, the regional evolutions, and even the gym leaders and Team Star leaders were leaked months before the game came out. Many of these images have been shared around, which can ruin the surprise for those who want to walk into the game mostly blind.

Hopefully, as more time passes, the games will get updates resolving most of the issues mentioned. Even with all of these problems, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are easily some of the best games in Pokemon to date. The sheer amount of possibility the game gives is breathtaking in a franchise that recently has felt somewhat dull and uninspired.