Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Review

Published: November 25, 2022 11:00 AM /

Reviewed By:

The Pokemon Violet Protagonist throwing a Pokeball during a Tera Raid

Pokemon continues to tiptoe into the world of modern gaming. With Pokemon Legends: Arceus, new quality-of-life mechanics were introduced and we got a slightly open world. Now Pokemon Scarlet and Violet set players loose in a completely open world. How well do Pokemon Scarlet and Violet adapt to this new format, and what pitfalls has it found along the way?

The story of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet revolves around three adventures. For returning fans the road to becoming the 'very best' is filled with the gym challenges as well as the gauntlet that is the Elite 4 and final fight against the Pokemon Champion. A fresh spin on these challenges is that each gym challenge isn't proceeded by a few trainer battles, but instead by random challenges that might include hide and seek with Sunflora, or a game of Where's Wally with the Academy Director. It's a good it of familiarity for those who have grown up on Pokemon, while also doubling down into where Gym challenges have been shown to be more than just battling in other Pokemon media.

The map will gym leaders filled in

Other portions of the story are broken up into investigating the presence of the Titan Pokemon and the Herba Mystic that helps them grow and the Team Star bases that have players quelling the antagonistic force of the game by defeating waves of Pokemon by Auto Battling. The new Auto Battle lets you skip the battle scene entirely, letting you point at a Pokemon you want yours to take on and it will go and do that. The Auto Battle system is neat to use while wandering as a way to clear some of the extra Pokemon off your screen, but the exp gained from them is heavily reduced making the time tradeoff negligible. Each storyline helps to teach the player more about the world, the history of Area Zero, and some of the history of the Academy.

The story of Scarlet and Violet in its entirety is a well-composed story that introduces each of the three deuteragonists; Nemona, Arven, and Penny. These characters not only get a full arc, but the end game combines the arcs together to form a fantastic conclusion. The story of Scarlet and Violet manages the most climactic conclusion that a Pokemon game has had since the snow-top battle with Red in Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal. While the story nails the landing, it's in the journey that it can feel disjointed. With no clear way to anticipate where and when the Player Character will arrive at any point the game is unable to deliver slow and gradual progression through encounters with NPCs. Instead, you'll get delivered large chunks of story at each of the marked locations on your map which can leave everything in between story lite.

With the open-world approach to Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, the traditional formula has been totally flipped on its head. In the past players made their way through linear routes with little to no reason to stray from the intended path, and while those aspects of the games have been slowly expanding over time it's with Scarlet and Violet that the floodgates are open to exploring to your heart's content. Unlike previous titles, where overzealous handholding got in the way of exploration and adventure, you do get a few "here's how you do x and y" moments but within two hours you've got your ride Pokemon, all points of interest are on your map, and you're ready to set out on your own adventure.

The Pokemon Violet protagonist with Miraidon, the box legendary Pokemon

While interacting with people might not be the most satisfying, interactability with Pokemon is incredible in Scarlet and Violet. The variety and density of Pokemon appearing truly make the world feel inhabited by Pokemon. At any time you might turn around and find 5-6 different species of Pokemon all enjoying the world around them. Grafaiai might be hopping along the ground with a group of friends, while Pineco are swinging from the branches, and Psyduck and Marill are sunbathing next to an open body of water.

For an open world, the cardinal sin is always a massive world that's empty, but with generous spawning and unique environments, the world always has something going on for you to stop and look at. Route 1's are normally cursed to have a bug, a bird, and maybe some other land mammal pokemon as catching options, in Scarlet and Violet before entering the massive Mesagoza city you have a chance to catch 30+ Pokemon.

Catching Pokemon and battling trainers is an extremely satisfying aspect of Scarlet and Violet. Just as the exploration and story has been enhanced by the open world so have battles and catching new Pokemon. While each battle will entertain fans with the battles that they're used to it's given an extra flair by taking place in the overworld. While you're overpowering your opponents with a type advantage or with sheer level advantage by taking place in the overworld you're able to see not just the world around you but Pokemon too. This adds a level of realism as other wild pokemon or trainers will watch as you catch new pokemon to your heart's content.

The Pokemon Violet Protagonist being followed by a group of Sunflora

For how grand the world looks, and densely packed it is it would be amiss to not mention the 5 fps Donphan in the room. As with the previous 3D Pokemon titles, this one also experiences pretty consistent frame rate issues. Running across the world or engaging in a Pokemon battle, it's hard to not notice that there are times when the frames will dip. While it's not common to have it completely drop to 10 fps the feeling of 26-28 fps more regularly does make the game feel sluggish.

Things look worst during cutscenes or when you're staring into the distance where you'll see humans and Pokemon moving with a reduced frame walk cycle or even jerkily moving in a classroom setting where the issue isn't distance, they're just not important enough to be allowed to move fluidly. While it's understandable that this might be a trick being employed to save other aspects of the game it isn't a good trick when it's so frequently in the player's face.

Pokemon Violet watching a Pokemon Scarlet character fighting a Pokemon

Multiplayer is probably where Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have taken the largest stride going forward. Players finally have a way to connect with one to three of their friends and just set out across the Pokemon world together. The simple act of being able to see another player fulfills a lifelong Pokemon dream that my inner 10-year-old would be so excited to see. What's more impressive is the lack of limitations on this game mode. Players can explore the world together, or head to opposite ends of Paldea and still be going about their own adventure encountering all manner of Pokemon, sharing victories, and can run across each other randomly in the world.

Another added benefit of the Pokemon multiplayer is that players are also able to continue their own storyline without impacting each other. If you're playing near a friend, but not adventuring together there's no reason to not want to group up. An added benefit of playing multiplayer with players who own the opposite version is that you'll also be able to more easily catch version exclusives reducing the difficulty in catching them all.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Review | Final Thoughts

Once again Gamefreak has created an incredible Pokemon game with a wide variety of new and expanded features. They've pushed themselves further than before by creating an open world for players to explore at their leisure and set up a non-linear set of goals for players to investigate and complete. An open world, excellent pokemon density, and true multiplayer are things that fans have been yearning for and have finally received. This is a dream Pokemon game for those who have been fans of the franchise, but unfortunately, Gamefreak has also continued their worrisome pattern of lack of polish. With embarrassing animation drops for characters further than 10 ft away, an inability to lock at 30fps making me feel like I'm playing a PAL edition of the game, and random stutters it shows that Gamefreak needs to be taking more time in these creations, or that it's time for Nintendo to look to move on from the Switch.

TechRaptor reviewed Pokemon Violet on Nintendo Switch using a copy purchased by the reviewer.

Review Summary

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are an ambitious take and while the open world and density of the Pokemon world are nailed the story feels like a background element and performance issues are constant (Review Policy)


  • Dense open world
  • Story ends well
  • Multiplayer goodness


  • Performance issues


Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? e-mail us at [email protected] or join us on Discord!


More Info About This Game
Learn more about Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
Game Freak
Nintendo Switch
Release Date
November 18, 2022 (Calendar)