Timothy “Timaugustin” Augustine
Image: The Pokemon Company
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet may be the franchise’s biggest games yet.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet launched last Friday, and it didn’t take long for players to realize that both games have issues that go beyond performance issues. Players are sharing the game’s many, many bugs and glitches with Cyberpunk 2077’s hilarious levels – from trainers suddenly turning into kaiju to character models clipping through each other.
For example, while walking in Palladia you may encounter dreams:
Couple that with the game’s already problematic performance, and we Pokemon fans everywhere will be hard-pressed to win this one. Games struggle to run at minimum 30fps, often dropping to 20fps and lower during gameplay and cinematics. Scarlet and Violet also have loading issues in Palladia’s world while players are standing in battle, apparently due to obvious texture pop-ins. Because the entire game slows down when it drops a frame, you also get cutscenes where the character models move like this:
Developer Gamefreak will not suffer financially from any of this bad press, of course. The company recently announced that both Scarlet and Violet have become the most pre-ordered games in the franchise’s history – and we can safely expect both titles to do well worldwide despite poor word of mouth. The sale will continue. Some players are reporting that other games are suffering from memory leaks, resulting in worse performance. This can be resolved by either resetting the game or hoping for a future update that fixes the leak, but the basic functionality you’re left with still isn’t great.
Right now, the general consensus is that Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are fun games to play as long as you can ignore all of those issues, but they still shouldn’t exist in games of this caliber. Pokemon is the most successful and instantly recognizable franchise in the world, and it’s a sad thing to see its main line games launch in this state. The Nintendo Switch is definitely showing its age, but we’ve played a number of Switch games that mechanically and visually blow Scarlet and Violet out of the water since the console’s release. It seems to be on Gamefreak.
It’s a shame, because Scarlett and Violet have some good ideas buried beneath all this shiny chaos. Introducing multiple story paths for players to follow allows more freedom of exploration, and the multiplayer is really fleshed out here compared to previous titles. Most of the new Gen-9 Pokemon games have wacky designs and punny names that we can’t help but love, and Paldea is a fun area to explore overall. Hopefully, Gamefreak takes the current online backlash as a sign of shaping up — but if we’re going by those pre-order numbers, they really don’t need to.