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Scarlet & Violet First Impressions and General Reviews Thread

Even with the technical issues, this is probably the most fun I've had playing a Pokemon game since I got back into the franchise with White 11 years ago.

And for a lot of us, the postgame is not what makes or breaks our enjoyment.
It's not about 'post-game' (as in more quests, areas, whatnot), it's about things to do, post-plot. Repeatable content. Some of my most-played Pokémon-games are from the fourth generation for a reason; There was just a lot to do.

And a huge chunk of that has been cut away the past few generations. Even though the price of the game is the same.

I also enjoyed the main plot of the game, and have started breeding a bit, but that's all there's to do, really.
 
It's not about 'post-game' (as in more quests, areas, whatnot), it's about things to do, post-plot. Repeatable content. Some of my most-played Pokémon-games are from the fourth generation for a reason; There was just a lot to do.

And a huge chunk of that has been cut away the past few generations. Even though the price of the game is the same.

I also enjoyed the main plot of the game, and have started breeding a bit, but that's all there's to do, really.

I wouldn't say there's nothing to do in terms of repeatable content. Some of the sidequests that have nothing to do with the core catching, training, and battling (such as Contests and Secret Bases) have definitely gone away and I would like them back, but I wouldn't say these games have nothing to do after beating the game, the things to do just take a different form than they did in some of the older games. You can do Tera Raid battles to find Pokemon with different Tera types (and collect Tera Shards if you wish to change your Pokemon's types yourself), and you can hunt shinies, with Mass Outbreaks returning from LA to help you find them. You can do that as long as you want (I myself have done plenty of the former and I'm interested in the latter too when I have the time and energy, I've gotten a ton of shinies from Mass Outbreaks in LA, so I'd be happy to do it again here). If you're not interested in those things fine, I do think the side content in this game could use more variety, but to say there's none is inaccurate.
 
The good
+The world. It could have had more secrets or more noteworthy items but taking into account the relatively little experience Game Freak had with them. It's fun and relaxing to explore. Pokemon spawn just like in Legends Arceus, but feel more welcoming and it's fun to see them forming families and clans.
+The four storylines. The Victory Road one could have felt more epic but is serviceable, and the other ones have fun and enjoyable mechanics. The characters are amazing across all four. But the best part is that if you felt tired of one you can just go to another one! The freedom is really refreshing.
+The Pokedex and distribution. Each area has tons of Pokemon to find, which feels like a big departure from previous gens, catching Pokemon is as funny as always and the new species are among the easiest Pokemon to find, I think you can encounter all of them during a regular playthrough. Also, I really like that for returning mons they gave some priority to the ones that haven't been in a regional dex in a while, like Venonat or Deerling.
+Raids. I haven's tried too many of them but I like what I've seen so far with the quick pace and the rewards.
+The Let's go feature. It's a nice evolution of the walking Pokemon concept (which by the way it's also good and much more polished than in SWSH DLC), though I still wish the Pokemon was a little more active and that you could change between them as easily as you do in the Team Star raids.
+The Academy. I think school is shown too much in media so see it creep its way into a fantasy world like Pokemon's of all things sounded irritating, but the result is surprisingly fun. The system is solid, the music is catchy, the classes are quick and the teachers are diverse and likeable!

The meh
+/- The gyms. The trials are veeery simple, but fun, and I'll take them over non-repetible puzzles (but not over repetible puzzles) but it's weird how many lack trainers, and the gym leaders should appear more.
+/- The cities. I think the lack of interiors is due to world loading issues, so having only the mandatory ones available is understandable, and at least they aren't hidden under a thousand "loading" scenes like Galar or Kalos'. They do their job, but their biggest crime is the lack of subquests and stuff to do in them. The food gets irritating quickly, and all the important stores being located in Mezagoza ends up being more inconvenient than anything as you frequently enter the wrong one.
+/- Area Zero. Great music and great ambientation, but the Pokemon selection is very meh. How am I supposed to take it seriously as a dangerous place when there are Dugtrio and Dunsparce around? Maybe it's my fault for thinking it could be some kind of substitute for the Wild Area (which relates to my "Postgame content" point from below), but even then it could have been better.
+/- The Paradox Pokemon. The idea is amazing and gets your brain thinking about how they relate to their present selves but it feels a little too unpolished. Many designs are ugly or simple, and the lore about them is minimal.

The bad
-The performance. How could they ship a game with extremely noticeable frame drops, no patches in the first month, and expect people to not get angry about it? It really hurted my experience in the Poison and Fairy bases to the point I wanted to be done with them not too long after the challenge started. Fortunately I didn't have any big problems with the bugs.
-Terastalazing. It's not as bad as it's...boring. I get the appeal for the competitive with the Ghost Tyranitar, Water Lucario and all that, but for a casual playthrough it feels extremely situational (and this is coming from Dynamax, which you could only use like 15 times during the story!) and unpractical, it should really have had bigger and more attractive boosts than just "more STAB". If you want a playthrough team that takes full advantage of it you have to do like a hundred raids, either to get the shards or the Pokemon you want.
-The lack of level scalling. Remember how I praised the freedom? If it was such a big element of the game why didn't they go the extra mile and make challenges adjust to your level or at least more visual indicators of how you should move? I didn't had a problem and I did each challenge in order except for battling Iron Treads before Ortworm, but I know it has bugged some people and is something they have to work towards.
-The postgame content. Ouch, so many problems with this one, it needs an expansion (pun intended)
1. No Battle Tower
2. The League and Gym leader rematches are once-and-done for some reason.
3. Not only there's zero new locations, but the whole region has zero changes (okay, there's a couple, like that legendaries and Paradox are now available, but no level scalling of everything to level 60 like in the Wild Area or new facilities).
4. Swarms worked for PLA because of the objective of that game and its agile battle style, SV's version is inferior on so many levels, starting with the fact that the Pokemon are just in the regular level curve of the area and thus aren't that strong.
5. My main complaint is that there aren't many trainers to battle and grind. There's the school tournament, but that has league-level difficulty, and the Team Star bosses, but some of them are quite far from a flying point making the battle not worth it.

Overall a very great experience that blends PLA's upgrades to the main series and that I'd definitely recommend for fans who'd left the series, even if they clearly cut corners here and there.
 
Thoughts, I'll just make a quick list:
  • Story and characters are utterly fantastic, and I think they're the best of any Pokemon game. Arven and Penny's storylines just hit you right in the feels, and Nemona... is just kind of insane. I like the idea that Nemona and the E4 are just stalking you from gym to gym. It's so stupid, I love it. Alongside the 3 rivals, I think the E4 are some of the best characters of the game. Their banter at the League was fun.
  • There are a lot of little visual details everywhere that are just really cute or interesting. My favorite examples:
    • The food looks delicious.
    • The drawings in the art room at the academy are absolutely adorable. The stupid Ditto is my favorite.
    • Alfornada's battle arena having the GB Pokemon icons.
  • The towns feel lively. Each one has its own distinct aesthetic, and there are actual people and Pokemon everywhere just walking around or lazing about.
  • My only issue is that most of the town content is there just to look good and there isn't really much actual explorable content in any of them. Or, there isn't much to really interact with aside from the hundreds of identical restaurants. I think Artazon is probably the best town content-wise, since at least there's some neat art stuff to look at and a jungle gym, but it ain't much.
  • Some areas look a bit GameCubey because of the obvious repeating textures, especially those with a lot of rocky cliffs. It's a bit hard to take nice scenery pictures when there are conspicuous plaid mountains everywhere ypu look. Some areas look pretty good though, like Area Zero. This game is definitely one that looks a lot better when you are looking up close rather than far away.
  • I haven't had any real performance issues, except for when I was herding Sunflora and decided that keeping all of them with me before going up to the gym guide was a good idea. Maybe I was lucky, or maybe it was because I has no SD card inserted (since apparently that can contribute to the wonky performance?).
  • Why no scaling? This certainly wouldn't be hard to implement. What's the point of open world if the actual content is set up to be tackled in a linear fashion anyway?
  • Gyms + E4 are alright, difficulty-wise. Iono was the only one who I felt used Terastallizing in the best way, and she was by far the hardest fight for me. Gym tests are hit-or-miss, with some being a bit more interesting than others. The Medalli and Montenevra trials were neat since they managed to have actual fights while still reflecting the personality of their respective gym leaders. But to whoever designed the ESP trial at the Alfornada gym; I hope your socks get wet the next time you take a walk outside in the rain, because that one was by far the worst one.
  • Terastallizing is okay. It's definitely the most versatile of all the gimmicks we've seen so far, not being restricted to just a few select mons like Megas or Dynamax. It doesn't come off as painfully cheesy as Z-moves did either. I wouldn't mind if the gimmick came back, but with a few changes. Changing Tera types really needs to become less grindy, because being stuck with a grass-type grass cat for most of the game is super lame.
  • Items are everywhere. I have literally never stopped at a Pokemart for anything in this game. It's really annoying if you're the type like me who has to search every single nook and cranny for hidden items, because it just. doesn't. stop. This also means I have way more money than I will ever need.
  • The plentiful nature of most items luckily applies to TMs too, which I think is enough to counteract the fact that they are single use again. Some of the crafting materials are so hilariously gross, like how in the world are we getting all this sweat from Makuhitas?
  • where postgame???? I admit I don't do the battle tower or breed for peak IVs, but there really isn't much to do aside from filling out the Pokedex or finally getting the time to change the Tera type of my pet cat.
tl:dr I'm not mad I paid 90 bucks for this game. It was fun.
 
Love these games.

There's so much content, so much to do, so much to explore. Getting rock climb is a must to get anywhere, still lots of areas I've not explored.
The story was really good, lots of emotional points, and even unexpected twists, usually pokemon twists are very predictable.

Only downside I'd say are some of the performance issues, bugs etc. Reading the pre release stuff I thought it'd be similar maybe to Gen 1, where you can break the game quite easily if you intend to, but if you played normally you'd never notice. That's not the case unfortunately, I've ended up in the wrong place, got stuck, things have disappeared etc, all without trying. Actually came in handy in Area 0 however, kept jumping off the side, game would close and reload me closer to where I wanted to go.
 
Beginning with Sun and Moon, GF has been coming up with unique variations of the standard format to create somewhat different experiences and a school student sent out on a journey of self-discovery who finds themselves dragged into other people's struggles, real life struggles with NO antagonist isn't just unique but has real film level depth and engaging character and plot development.

Then there is this fascinating past vs future sort of theme between the two versions with a special new class of Pokemon, Paradox Pokemon right? Admittedly, I still haven't done the post-game and have only read the books in Violet but I have noticed these differences with the Titan Donphan and from watching Youtubers. I am looking forward to finding out more about this concept.

It almost feels as though GF is starting to take inspiration from fangames.

Much the same can be said of the new open world concept continued from Legends Arceus.
Fewer obstacles limiting the map access to plot progression almost in essence offers the option of a new challenge and paring that with the freedom to follow multiple plots in different orders provides an engaging experience with a new sense of unpredictability but it's a double-edged sword. Levels don't scale and the map can be confusing and obnoxious to navigate without all the ride functions meaning there is an established order that is more or less encouraged and challenging oneself to the higher leveled areas earlier will mean being absurdly over-leveled for the lower leveled areas.

Team Star's introduction was underwhelming. We intervened with them the first time because we had encountered them bothering someone but a new student being imposed into bringing a war to the front doors of a group of people we had never heard of before that day with no substantial explanation and by a recruiter we never officially meet didn't sit right with me.
To be honest, I was prepared to write them off as another Team Yell, a bland insubstantial group of average nesciences until it became apparent that the ignorance was being developed as a plot point that built Team Star up as a misunderstood group of victims of bullying who had lost themselves to injustice, among the most relatable group of characters Pokemon has created to date.
This, however, just made our assault feel even more wrong despite the positive outcome. We were more or less another bully condemning them for failure to conform and trying to ruin their support system and that "Clive" was able to gain their cooperation just by asking for their perspective made it feel all the more unnecessary.
The mystery of Cassiopia, the hidden recruiter becomes predictable as the plot unfolds but still manages to be thought-provoking for a while and the double misdirection with Clavell was phenomenal up until the point where he more or less gives Penny away with the phrase "that poor child". It still more than made up for the fact that a choice pop-up spoiled that he was Clive. Perhaps I was having a dense moment but despite vague suspicions he had me until that pop-up appeared.

The Titan Pokemon battles were not the most interesting concept alone but getting to know the jerk who resented being introduced as the professor's son and finding out that he's just a lonely neglected child who was desperate to save the life of his only companion made it an engaging and touching pretense for obtaining the essential ride functions. Arven joins Hop and Team Star's rise to the next level as Pokemon progresses from generic rivals to relatable and sympatric characters and might achieve a milestone of his own as the most emotional character to date.
Arven's plot also gives us the unique angle of a professor who is more of a background character instead of the guide and mentor to the protagonist and isn't the role model the professor character in general has been up until this point because this professor is an absentee parent who we witness first hand regarding their own child as just another person on their agenda. The version variation of the professor is another nice touch.

Much the same as Team Star, at first glance Terastallization wasn't impressive as it comes off as just a fancy blingy appearance and a massive STAB boost but figuring out that its capable of changing a Pokemon's natural typing and as such their strenghs, weaknesses and even immunities opens up a lot of new strategies making it more substantial than dynamaxing and even Z-moves. There were a few battles where an opponent's terastallization threw me a bit so I appreciate it.

The food power-ups are a clever concept but the picnic and sandwich crafting mechanic is a lazy and cheap imitation of SWSH's camping and curry with less creativity and range. There is a smaller selection of ingredients and available recipe so it's mostly blind and I have had to learn to stick to simple combinations due to the rapid scroll glitch and because the sandwich easily falls apart with too many ingredients. The latter is of little to no consequence but it's still kind of annoying.

Needless to point out that these are the buggiest installments in the entire series since the original generation. I have experienced the following:
  • Automatic rapid scrolling in the TM crafter, the Sandwich ingredient placing menu and the boxes.
  • The Pause screen freezing so I can't scroll through the options and/or select an action.
  • A request to connect to the internet popping up while on the pause screen and looping when I select 'no'.
  • The curser jumping to the front and bouncing back to the front when I attempt to scroll forward again during nicknaming.
  • The games have crashed at least thrice, the last of which occurred while the Switch was in another room charging so I wasn't even playing.
  • I caught a Pincurchin in a Tera Raid and after closing out of the prize screen the raid wouldn't end. I got stuck in the den with no Tera Mon.
    Most of the above have been and then re-entering the game but it's still a bit obnoxious and really sloppy for this age. This isn't gen one anymore, should they know how to sort this stuff out by now?

I'm disappointed that character customization is so limited especially in Scarlet where the uniforms are uggo in my opinion and I would have liked a more gen variety in the Pokedex but overall, I think these games are fantastic. I am really enjoying them.
 
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I haven’t finished the main stories yet (up to Arven/Clavell/E4) but I have generally enjoyed it. Compared to previous games there’s much more to explore in the overworld and valuble rewards for doing so. I like how they segmented it into 3 stories, giving you the freedom to approach them (although there is a recommended order). The soundtrack is great as always. The stories are alright so far, tbh I’m not awfully invested in them. Each story can feel repetitive at times (like go to x area and battle x pokemon/trainer). The characters don’t really stick out to me, most of them felt like one offs and I would’ve liked to spend more time exploring them. They’re not bad but just there imo. I like Arven, Larry, Ortega, Eri so far but there’s no one standout like in past games for me. Also I gotta admit, not a fan of most paldean mons so far but there’s a number I haven’t seen yet

Gameplay is pretty solid. They’re genuinely challenging, although I did place some restrictions on myself. I don’t have any major complaints, but just many little things. Like forced exp share, no set battle style, no level scaling, follow mons not keeping up with you (at least my Pawmo couldn’t), some clunky performance, lack of voice acting (another thing that hurts the characters), can’t enter houses anymore and subpar graphics. Most of this is nothing new for the franchise, but I can’t help but feel frustrated seeing small issues repeat after so long. It’s like they remove the wrong features sometimes, like why remove set battle style? It’s a small thing that I don’t see any benefit to, given how you could easily change it. Stuff like this doesn’t shatter my immersion but they do pile up to make this game feel unpolished to me. Because the game looks rushed, just like SS/PLA imo. It’s a shame bc gamefreak has some great ideas, but the 3 year release cycles hurt the overall quality

I’m just getting tired of the whole 2 steps forward, one step back thing. Especially when compared to other games which are on the market rn
 
Now that I have completed the story, and we can talk about the games more freely since it is past January 1st (granted it's the 8th at this point), I will give my thoughts.

I found myself not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. It was still fun. I think out of all the storylines (Starfall Street, Victory Road, Path of Legends), I enjoyed Arven's the most. The other two stories were just meh to me. The open world aspect I think got my attention more than anything and even then, I didn't really run around nearly as much as when I played Breath of the Wild.

Victory Road: I have done it so many times over the years that it's just not exciting anymore. Sure, I was happy to get each badge and become champion, but I was not really hyped and excited after becoming champion.

Starfall Street: I myself was never bullied, so I could not sympathize with Team Star. Sure, I was annoyed at those two grunts for trying to force Penny into joining when she didn't want to join (also did it not occur to them that by doing that, they were essentially bulling her, something that they themselves have experience and thus should not do?).

Path of Legends: I enjoyed helping Arven save his Mabosstiff. At first, I did not really like him since he seemed rude (I mean, he forces us to take the Legendary's Poke Ball for one). Also, losing one's beloved pet is something I experienced since I had a cat since I was 8 or 9, and we had to put her down since she was getting old.

The Way Home: This was cool because the crater was quite creepy, and the music certainly did not help. Like, it just seemed like somewhere that a group of kids should not be due to all the Paradox Pokémon. The final battle was hard (I lost the first time, though I attribute it to not being high enough in level and not knowing the types of the Pokémon).

Additionally, While I became attached to my final team, I didn't really catch any Pokémon at all. I guess I had the mindset of "since HM Moves are not a thing anymore, I don't need to catch more than six Pokémon".
I only caught 8:
The Starter (Fuecoco)
Flamigo
Smoliv
Ralts
Chewtle
Paldean Wooper
Hoppip
Wigglet

Wigglet I used until I realized that my team had a resistance to every type other than the Flying Type, which Chewtle (once it evolves) would provide. I used Hoppip until I got Smoliv. After that, I did not obtain any Pokémon until after I cleared "The Way Home". The thing about this team is that aside from Smoliv, which I got in South Province (Area 2), all my Pokémon were obtained in South Province (Area 1). I suppose I am just not one of those people who catch every Pokémon they see.
 
I haven’t finished the main stories yet (up to Arven/Clavell/E4) but I have generally enjoyed it. Compared to previous games there’s much more to explore in the overworld and valuble rewards for doing so. I like how they segmented it into 3 stories, giving you the freedom to approach them (although there is a recommended order). The soundtrack is great as always. The stories are alright so far, tbh I’m not awfully invested in them. Each story can feel repetitive at times (like go to x area and battle x pokemon/trainer). The characters don’t really stick out to me, most of them felt like one offs and I would’ve liked to spend more time exploring them. They’re not bad but just there imo. I like Arven, Larry, Ortega, Eri so far but there’s no one standout like in past games for me. Also I gotta admit, not a fan of most paldean mons so far but there’s a number I haven’t seen yet

Gameplay is pretty solid. They’re genuinely challenging, although I did place some restrictions on myself. I don’t have any major complaints, but just many little things. Like forced exp share, no set battle style, no level scaling, follow mons not keeping up with you (at least my Pawmo couldn’t), some clunky performance, lack of voice acting (another thing that hurts the characters), can’t enter houses anymore and subpar graphics. Most of this is nothing new for the franchise, but I can’t help but feel frustrated seeing small issues repeat after so long. It’s like they remove the wrong features sometimes, like why remove set battle style? It’s a small thing that I don’t see any benefit to, given how you could easily change it. Stuff like this doesn’t shatter my immersion but they do pile up to make this game feel unpolished to me. Because the game looks rushed, just like SS/PLA imo. It’s a shame bc gamefreak has some great ideas, but the 3 year release cycles hurt the overall quality

I’m just getting tired of the whole 2 steps forward, one step back thing. Especially when compared to other games which are on the market rn

Updating this

Stayed up late af to finish it. Wow. That was actually pretty good. Poor Arven. He’s the best character in this for sure. Also taking back my Pawmot slander, that thing’s great. Baxcalaiber is badass and Skeledirge is awesome, clutched so much. This game might also have my favourite set of boss battles. Some games have individually better ones, but across the board there’s so many great ones for me (see below)
Most team star bosses, Nemona, E4, Arven, Clavell, Penny, Turo and some gym leaders (particularly Iono, Larry and Grusha for me). Geeta was pretty underwhelming and I legit beat her with 3 mons but Nemona felt like the true champion battle anyway.

Overall undecided on final ranking but feeling better about them rn
 
The graphical bugs can be bit irksome. But other than that, the games look fun. They got a pretty exploratory vibe to them, and the distinction of the three story-lines in the open-world setting is pretty well done.
 
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