The new Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Games can make a case study for a truly critic-proof game.
Both Pokémon Scarlet and Violet have sold ten million units in three days. And, despite being almost universally panned due to its abysmal performance for an AAA Nintendo Switch Game in 2022, the game has even broken records for Nintendo.
The games have some of the best storylines from any Pokémon game, are more open-world than Pokémon Legends: Arceus (the de-facto open world Pokémon game), and have some interesting additions to the ever-growing Pokédex. They also had incredible marketing, which we covered in previous articles. The starters were almost universally loved, and the Iberian Peninsula-inspired Paldea seemed gorgeous, at least in the trailers. And, if the games didn’t run like a PowerPoint slideshow at some points and had a full Pokédex, they would probably be hands-down the best Pokémon games ever.
The game’s graphical flaws are glaring, and it’s almost impossible to play Pokémon Scarlet and Violet without feeling affected by its low quality at some point. Even gamers who don’t care about the graphics feel like Game Freak is trying to get away with far too much. Their predecessor, Pokémon Sword and Shield, was also met with similar criticism due to cutting out Pokémon, barebones story, and excessive hand-holding.
Fans of the games have shared funny clips of the game’s bugs and glitches, including one where the player becomes a giant Slenderman-like creature while riding the game’s mount or minor graphical bugs where NPCs phase in and out of existence spontaneously. This is also the first time that many gamers who pre-ordered the game actually went to request refunds from Nintendo. Those who pre-ordered either copy of the game already had it downloaded on launch day and paid for it once it finished.
Many of these gamers took to Reddit, Twitter and Instagram to vent their experiences with the game. Gaming YouTubers also praised the game. Not only that, but the game had a mix of new features that increased quality of life while also removing other features that were a mainstay from past games. Pokémon breeding is much easier and faster, while the games removed status effect animations on Pokémon battles, a feature that’s been in the game since Gen 5. Now, Pokémon also go to sleep and have their eyes wide open.
But, overall, while Gen 9 made several steps in the right direction, every other video game company is walking for miles.
Pokémon is the highest-grossing media franchise in the world, worth $118.5 billion. It doesn’t seem like Nintendo, The Pokémon Company, and Game Freak are paying attention to the gamer’s concerns and might be more focused on milking their cash cow. But, that doesn’t mean many gamers have enjoyed the game. You can identify a game’s flaws while still having fun out of the many new things added.
And, of course, more children and young teenagers only care about the Pokémon, so it’s not like the game’s target audience will care if a couple of fictional birds look pixelated in the distance.