Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is stuck in the past while talking about the future

In these games, nostalgia is your partner


Hugo Heim Romero, Staff Reporter

Pokémon is often talked about in the same vein as “The Legend of Zelda” and “Mario”. And although both those games have had a franchise-defining game in the past 5 years, Pokémon has yet to keep up.

The Pokémon franchise in recent memory has been known for creating games that are railroaded, uninteresting and so easy it’s boring. I mean seriously, although Pokémon has a blossoming and varied competitive scene, the games can boil down to understanding that fire burns grass and clicking the attack with the big number. 

The previous mainline Pokémon game, Pokémon Sword and Shield appeared to remedy the problems. Characters were now compelling, while previously Pokémon characters had the emotional depth of an above-ground swimming pool. It added one most interesting if not the best mechanics, that being Dynamaxing. Finally, the biggest change was the Wild Area. After years of not being able to see pokemon and random encounters plaguing your every move, you finally got to see roaming Pokémon!

All of these improvements, and yet the game was one of the worst in the series. The characters were now as deep as a kiddie pool! Dynamax, while an interesting mechanic, was never used interestingly. And worst of all, the wild area. An open-world area, what everyone had wanted all these years, and yet it was boring, ugly and it trivialized the rest of the game, leveling or getting high-level pokémon being relatively easy.

Why am I telling you this if I’m talking about its sequel? Because all of the problems are still here. The characters are still as shallow, the game is still as easy and the open-world is still as boring. It seems that for every step forward, Pokémon takes several steps backward. 

The openworldness of the Wild Area has now expanded throughout the whole game and Pokémon has introduced non-linearity in the freedom of choosing whatever storyline and whatever enemy whenever you want. And yet the enemies still have set levels, forcing you to fight them in order, or if you don’t, you stand to trivialize the sections of the game that you skipped. 

I have loved Pokémon all my life, and I won’t lie to you and say that I didn’t have fun with the game. What pains me is the potential Pokémon holds. Pokémon has everything going for it; money, adoration and an incredible concept, but fails to deliver every installment. 

All in all, 7/10, too much water.