Pokémon Scarlet & Violet are a buggy blast

Fans of the “Pokémon” series had been eagerly awaiting the release of “Scarlet” and “Violet” since it was announced in February. After its Nov. 18 release, the newest installment of “Pokémon” has been met with mixed reviews.

While “Scarlet” and “Violet” saw record-high sales with over 10 million copies combined sold in the first three days of release, they have also been the most negatively received titles due to the number of bugs in the game. 

The newest generation of “Pokémon” games went in a new direction from previous titles, introducing some promising mechanics, such as a fully open world and being able to play with friends online. However, this came with a variety of glitches players have been uncovering since the release of the games.

Some players have  wondered if “Scarlet” and “Violet” were play-tested and have been frustrated with the number of glitches in the game. Many players had high expectations for the newest “Pokémon” titles and felt that the bugs were unacceptable coming from a AAA release.

Even though “Scarlet” and “Violet” are a fun new direction of storytelling for the series and show promise for the future, the number of bugs has stolen the spotlight for some players. There has been a plethora of memes and compilations put together of the glitches players have encountered. 

Nothing appears to be particularly game-breaking and many of the bugs are pretty funny, but it is still worth noting how unpolished “Scarlet” and “Violet” are. 

Unlike previous titles, “Scarlet” and “Violet” feature non-linear story progression to accompany the open world. Players can progress through the world however they wish and are free to explore everything. However, you may notice the Pokémon in an area start to become a higher level than the ones in your party.

For those a bit unsure where to go next or if you don’t want to over-level the Pokémon in your party, there are guides available online with suggested paths to take based on the levels of your team. 

As a student of either Naranja or Uva Academy – the schools for “Scarlet” and “Violet,” respectively – the games take place as you set out on a Treasure Hunt. In this annual tradition, students go out on a journey to put their skills to the test and learn out in the world of Paldea.

There are three main storylines for players to explore. First is the classic quest to become a Pokémon master and beat eight gyms. Second is Operation Starfall, where you must defeat the bosses of five different Team Star bases. The third is the most unique to the Generation IX titles – you must find five titan Pokémon and gather ‘herba mystica’ from them.

The herba mystica are powerful herbs that can heal Pokémon. After meeting Arven, the two of you seek to find all of the plants and see if they live up to the legends surrounding them.

“Scarlet” and “Violet” also feature more expansive character creators than previous “Pokémon” titles when it comes to hairstyles and facial features, but this comes at a cost. Sticking with the academic theming, your character is always in their school uniform.

This is a significant downgrade from previous “Pokémon” games. It’s always fun putting together the best outfits for your Pokémon trainer, but there are only four versions of the school uniform for you to choose from. 

Players can still customize their outfits with different accessories such as shoes, socks, hats, glasses, backpacks and gloves, but it would have been nice to have more creative freedom with the clothing options. 

It also would have been great to see some of the mechanics introduced in “Pokémon Legends: Arceus,” released earlier this year. “Arceus” took the franchise in a completely different direction, introducing new ways to catch Pokémon and Pokémon battles. The Guardians in “Arceus” had a different combat style, which would have worked amazingly for the Titan battles in “Scarlet” and “Violet,” but it didn’t return.

With all that being said, “Pokémon Scarlet and Violet” are still some of the most fun to come from the series, bugs and all. The open world, while mechanically flawed, shows a promising future for the franchise. 

Being able to explore everything freely and with friends is a massive step in the right direction for the series from a gameplay and storytelling point-of-view. They are innovative while still staying true to the classic “Pokémon” formula, but they could do with some more playtesting before release. 

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