The first minutes with Pokémon Violet they were a blast from the past. We found ourselves defining our character’s gender, choosing his name, exploring our bedroom and meeting the Principal of our new school, the Grape Academy At the end of all this, we have chosen our starter, that is the pokèmon with which to start our adventure.
So far Pokémon Violet seems very canonical. But only up to here.
Overcome the initial stages of the game everything changes, with the new open world of The Pokémon Company that opens up in front of you and gives you the opportunity to move freely, without following a predefined path. It seems – we realize it – the premise for the best Pokémon video game ever, yet there are some flaws that prevent it from earning this prestigious title. We tell you everything in this one Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet review.
The Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet review: why are they two?
If you are a fan of the saga, you already know that each generation of Pokémon has two versions.
If, on the other hand, you have not yet approached the universe of Japanese little monsters, know that it is normal to be faced with this choice. In fact, the developers have always offered two slightly different games, each of which boasts exclusive pokèmon, i.e. available only by purchasing that specific version.
A bad thing, you might think. It’s actually not like that. This peculiar decision serves to encourage the exchange of pokèmon: Pokémon Violet owners can therefore go to those who have chosen Pokémon Scarlet and make the necessary exchanges to complete the Pokédex. Consider it a sort of incentive to socialize.
This year, however, the differences between the two games are not limited to the exclusives. What else changes?
- the school: the Grape Academy is exclusive to Violet while Pokémon Scarlet players will frequent the Orange Academy;
- the principal: in Scarlet you will have the former professor while in Violet the Professor Turum;
- the aesthetics: the two schools have different colors and logos, with orange that characterizes the Accademia Arancia and purple that instead identifies the Accademia Uva;
- the means of transport: we will have two different pokèmon that will act as a means of transport, ie Miraidon for Violet and Koraidon for Scarlet.
Basically the story will be identical but with different nuances that are linked precisely to the differences just highlighted.
Which one to choose? Well, that’s up to you. There is no one version that is better than the other, there are only your tastes. For example, we chose Violet because violet is the color of techgameworld.com.
The Pokémon Violet review
Now that you’re aware of the differences, it’s time to dive into the Pokémon Violet review.
As anticipated, we are facing the first true open world dedicated to little Japanese monsters. A vast world to be explored, made up of large grassy areas, deserts, beaches, caves and cities, where of course you will meet the traditional gym leaders.
Scattered around the area, you will also find the essentials Pokemon Centers. No more closed buildings however, this time they are open to the sky and also positioned outside the urban centers, so as to ensure you a safe haven even when you are out and about running around Paldea.
To accompany you on the journey you will have a Pokémon: Miraidon. But be careful: he is not your starter and he is not even a pokèmon that you can deploy in battle. Miraidon is your means of transportation and, over time, it will be able to do everything: jump, surf, glide, climb and behave like a kind of bicycle. All this will allow you gradually to access areas that at first will seem unreachable, thus forcing you to retrace your steps to recover pokémon and tools abandoned along the way.
This allows us to introduce another key aspect of the game: il level design. In fact, over the years we have witnessed a real evolution of Pokémon titles, with Game Freak finally starting to take full advantage of three-dimensionalityintroducing verticality and proposing slightly more complex areas. There is still ample room for improvement, but the path taken is certainly the right one.
Pokémon Violet also has its side a unique world. No loading from one area to another, no waiting, no dead time. The only area that needs loading is mesapoli, the main city where the Grape Academy is located; a choice that all in all we understand considering the size of the city. Here, where Game Freak seems to have really indulged in the creation of this urban mega-center, however, we encounter one of the most obvious limitations of the game: shops and houses cannot be visited. Or rather, the places you can physically enter are very few. Both here and in other cities. The developers have preferred to make the houses inaccessible and transform the shops into a mere graphic element: you approach and open a menu from which to buy the necessary, whether they are tools, food, clothes, accessories.
The same modality has been chosen for the activities that you can carry out inside the schoolwith a text screen that will replace complex animations and moves.
The feeling therefore is that there was not enough time for a truly complete open world. Probably the software house would have benefited from another year of development.
We know, someone will be thinking: how much do you complain about unexplorable buildings!
You are right.
The thing is, there are other elements that limit this open world a bit.
To explain the first, let’s take an example. In some areas you will find the Dominant Pokémon, i.e. huge and particularly difficult pokèmon that apparently cause discomfort in that specific area. Why apparently? Because none of the non-playable characters you meet along the way will tell you anything, complain or tell anecdotes about the specific monster. For example, there are huge rocks rolling down a mountain, which will make climbing more difficult for you, but no other inhabitants of Paldea will tell you about this.
A second aspect to consider always concerns the NPCs (non-playable characters). Interactions with them are pretty sparse: there are no long dialogues, they don’t give you side missions, they don’t move to be met again in different places.
The last element concerns the level of challenge that is not tailored to the player. This means that you can move freely but there will be areas that you will have to leave because they are too complex to deal with at that moment. In short, the path is free but somehow you will still feel obliged to follow a specific path.
One coach, three roads
On the left the Pokémon Scarlet Orange Academy logo, on the right the Pokémon Violet Grape Academy logo
Now that you know what the general setting of Pokémon Violetto is, let’s try to understand what the story is.
The main character is a new student of the Grape (or Orange in Scarlet) Academy. However, do not imagine long hours spent behind the school desks: you can follow the lessons, this is true, but most of the time you will spend walking around Paldea. In fact, the Academy strongly believes in learning in the field and so, after a handful of lessons, you will find yourself already outside the walls of Mesapoli.
What you do is up to you. I’m three paths you can take: that for become a Championchallenging 8 gyms in as many cities, that of legendary path, where you will be called upon to take down the Totem Pokémon to look for delicious spices, and finally the avenue of stardust, designed to defeat Team Star, a sort of school club populated by bullies and led by a mysterious figure.
We didn’t mind the idea in itself: the three paths, which you can even tackle at the same time as you move around the region, offer a good dose of variety, with some exciting twists that break the monotony of classic fights.
Here too surely we could have done better, perhaps linking the three strands more together and giving us some more insights into the themes and characters, but the result is quite convincing, and above all sufficient to motivate you as you pass from one area to another to fill the pokedex.
Pokémon Violet review: teracrystallization
Pokémon are the backbone of Pokémon Violet.
It seems trivial, we realize it. After all we are talking about a game about pokémon so it is normal that they are at the center. True but not so obvious.
First of all it is up to them that Game Freak has paid more attention from a technical point of view. Are so many, well-kept aesthetically and well distributed in the game world.
The teracrystalization of Fuecoco
The new generation then brings with it the Teracrystallization.
Each Pokémon has its own theratype, which is activated when teracrystallized, becoming a sort of living crystal. What is all this for? To increase the power of the moves or to change the weak points of your little monster.
It is a new mechanic that however adds further panache to the fights, requiring you not only to learn the therapies but also to understand when is the right time to use teracrystallization, a weapon which, used against the wrong opponent, could have negative repercussions .