Review scores are rolling in for the latest mainline Pokemon installment on the Switch, the duo of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. And so far, reviews are…fine, but a bit lower than most past offerings from the famous series.
Currently, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is sitting at a 78 on Metacritic, a day ahead of release. You can see how that compares to the Metascores of the past few mainline installments of the series:
- Pokemon Scarlet and Violet – 78
- Pokemon Sword and Shield – 80
- Pokemon Sun and Moon – 87
- Pokemon X and Y – 87
- Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire – 82
- Pokemon Diamond and Pearl – 85
- Pokemon Black and White – 87
So while again, those scores could increase over time as more reviews come in, as it stands, this is the lowest reviewed mainline release for the series at the moment. It’s unlikely this will have a big impact on sales, as Pokemon games are going to sell like crazy regardless, but you may be curious to know what critics are saying, and why these scores are somewhat middling, and lower than all past installments, at least by a few points.
Among the criticisms:
Guardian 6/10 – “Here, Game Freak draws up an exciting new open-world blueprint for the Pokémon franchise, but appears to have lacked the time and knowhow to deliver it to spec. Compare this with June’s gorgeous Xenoblade Chronicles 3, which runs on the same console, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that you’re beta testing an open-world Pokémon. With more time in the oven, this could have been genuinely exciting. As it stands, this fun-filled adventure asks you to put up with an awful lot more of the rough than the smooth.”
Games Radar 6/10 – “The basic mechanics of Pokemon remain largely untouched – it’s still catching, battling, and training as you remember it – and while that may be enough for many devotees, Generation 9 is a tougher sell for those who need more of a reason to engage with the series, impacted as it is by technical issues, mechanical oversights, and a lack of vision. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet should have been a bright and bold entry that sets the series up for future expansion, but an attempt to modernize while staying loyal to the past hasn’t really succeeded in doing either one – and the headache doesn’t help, to boot.”
IGN review in progress – “I just wish this region was the beautiful, expansive, Pokémon-stuffed Paldea the artists and designers clearly envisioned and tried to present to me, and not the slow-moving, muddled, oddly-lit Paldea I’ve been chugging my way through for the last week.”
Without question, the common theme here is that GameFreak has not managed to produce a good-looking, technically proficient game on the Nintendo Switch here, even as other titles like Xenoblade and Zelda have produced better looking open worlds on the same tech. One review says we have probably reached the limit of what the Switch is capable of, and yet it remains the case that other games have found ways to look and perform better on the console than Pokemon and GameFreak here, even if core gamepaly remains enjoyable.
We will see what players say when the game hits stores over the weekend. But this may end up being one of the series’ low points, if players agree with most critics here.
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