Pokémon Scarlet and Violet for the Nintendo Switch have revitalized the pocket monsters of our childhood with the release of the highly anticipated ninth-generation games in November of last year. Keeping a promise made to fans about the future of the multi-billion dollar franchise, production company GameFreak ensured that Scarlet/Violet would be the first entirely open-world edition of Pokémon. This allows players to traverse the map in any order, direction, and dimension they so choose. While the previous Pokémon games felt somewhat limited by their basic travel mechanics, the implementation of popular video game elements such as mount riding facilitates quicker, multi-terrain transportation. Additionally, overworld integration of battling and catching massively streamlines the gameplay by minimizing the notoriously frequent menu shifting.
The game is also notable for its refreshing narrative, complete with memorable characters and high-stakes storylines that previous generations have seriously lacked. The design received collective praise from critics, with particular attention towards the creative concepts for the new Pokémon as well as the details in the physical geography and architecture of the region. This aesthetic beauty was not without consequence, though, as the game was subsequently met with numerous complaints at rollout of visual and mechanical glitches—many of which have yet to be entirely resolved.
Despite this, Scarlet and Violet joins together old fans of the classic fantasy franchise with new gamers who are familiar with the novel, large-scale RPGs supported by modern gaming systems. They can be a fun and easy way to get into the wonderfully extensive world of Pokémon as well as a cathartic reminder of progress in game development for longtime enthusiasts.
Everett Bonner is a senior in the SFS studying International Politics with minors in International Development and Japanese. He is an Executive Editor of The INDY.