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Hunter Reviews: Violet


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(Spoilers for anyone who has yet to play Scarlet/Violet below. Read at your own risk. You have been warned here.)


Moooooom, what do you MEAN I've done this for NINE generations now!?


It's that time of the every couple of years where I randomly show up and spew some thoughts about the newest Pokemon title. Last time around, I played Brilliant Diamond so that I could reclaim the title of "Pokemon Master" and finally see what the heck made people so excited about Sinnoh in the ....2010s. Wow. We've seen some stuff since then guys.


This time around, I was back on the hype train along with everyone else to see some -new- Pokemon. Today, I'm gonna give some thoughts about Paldea, it's people, it's Pokemon, and some remarks about Scarlet and Violet as entries into the series. I'm going to start with the bad things first...


Guys, I survived Generation 1. I've seen ugly aesthetics in Pokemon. I'm -not- a graphics guy.


That does -not- excuse S/V's optimization and performance issues. I was -definitely- more surprised Timmy Twoframes was in my class than I was Nemona. That cutscene of your first day in your homeroom is an absolute nightmare, and you see that kind of frame rate all over the game at various intervals. I'm more forgiving of things like poor draw distance in expansive overworld games - but one game I didn't review here was Legends: Arceus. PLA looks and runs a lot better than Violet did for me. The largest thing about this stuff though? Is that the game doesn't look finished because of it. It seems like Game Freak decided to intentionally tank frames so that the game would run stably enough to meet the holiday deadline. As you'll soon see, I would be just as happy with the product in February or a little later as I was here in November.


other negative I want to talk about is that Set Mode was removed from the options. Which means that in order to add the slight difficulty of being unaware of your opponents' next Pokemon, you need to ignore the text prompt and then select "No" to emulate Set Mode at all. Retroactively discarding small things like this in later titles adds up over time, and there was no need to punish the loads of people who like the play the game at its hardest challenge.


Lack of level scaling the further away from the academy you get once the Treasure Hunt begins is a somewhat minor gripe, because if trainers have a set team at set levels, that introduces what should be an "optimal" path for progression - which contrasts a bit with the whole "tackle the challenges in any order you'd like" vibe. They also have retained the passive level-locks for Pokemon obeying your commands, so if you wanted to do something like, I dunno, start with the Titan Pokemon path to fully unlock your travel capabilities, You'll need strong Pokemon to take on the later Titans, and thus, you'll have to take on some portion of the Gym Challenge to fully progress on the Titan path.


Finally, the post-game loses some of its in-game battle challenge value (I.e. the Battle Tower or other generation equivalents.) - and replaces the rewards from such facilities with "Delibird Presents" (which, is in it of itself an awesome store where you can buy battle items for money throughout the journey or afterwards.) but does result in sort of "hoping" players are familiar with competitive strategies as opposed to suggesting them to you through some single-player gameplay. It -is- the internet age, so you could always look up how to be the best nowadays, but I did feel like I missed seeing how new Pokemon should be used in a competitive manner in game a little bit. Finally - the GOOD things.





Paldea is -easily- the most non-linear Pokemon region by a country mile. It's basically laying over a traditional Pokemon experience on top of PLA's Hisui region, except better because the setting breaks between areas of the continent are gone too, making for one very large, seamless map. I mentioned above how the Titan path is the path that unlocks new travel capabilities. Doing so isn't necessary by any means, but if you really want to explore Paldea and vastly unlock your team composition options earlier in your playthrough than you might be used to, it's super nice and allows the player wide access to a ton of awesome Pokemon with plenty of game left to get good use of them. It's also nice to sort of pick and chose the EARLIER part of your Gym Challenge order. I'll give you my example. I picked Sprigitito as my starter because I figured others would go pick Fuecoco instead, and the two nearest Gyms to the academy are Bug and Grass. Fire beats both types, Water beats Bug, and Grass, just has to manage. But, because the game just lets you loose, I could choose to go East, fight the Giant Klawf and the Grass Gym first, even though I think the game's leveling nudges you Westward initially. I -think- this also holds up for the Electric and Normal gyms depending on if you -do- choose to engage in the other story paths or fight the totally optional trainer battles along the way. Topography kind of makes the Ice and Ghost gyms distant without assistance from unrestricted travel, and the Psychic gym seems to be the definitive "final gym" due to level scaling.




Starting with the rival, Nemona has some pretty interesting gimmicks. She loves Pokemon battling ...maybe a little too much. She's a little possessive of the player. She's also a "Champion-ranked" Trainer who's (spoiler, again) "treasure" this term is finding a suitable rival that allows her to fight with all she has. It's kinda neat to have a mentor be genuinely happy with losing to you the whole way, and her antics got me to chuckle. She's definitely a breath of fresh air here, and I would say that even if I weren't someone who liked her personality due to the angle she takes.


Arven, without spoiling anything, is the most compelling Pokemon NPC I've seen in a while. The game does him severe injustices, and he deserves a hug.


Penny is.......Penny is fine. What's great about Penny is that Game Freak knows their audience. Penny, like her two colleagues above, is the friend at school who is involved in one of the story paths routinely. Process of elimination would indicate that she's a contact during the Team Star storyline.


I don't -love- Team Star's continuation of new-school "evil organizations that are really just misunderstood good guys" thing, but the characters are heartwarming.


Go to class. It unlocks some lovely school days shenanigans, relationships with instructors that feel fulfilling, useful rewards, a Galarian Meowth that thematically fits the purpose of the instructor who gives it to you (and is useful in Tera Raids), and details the background Legendery Pokemon path.


The professors.....are worth the sticker price. Those two are...... pretty different from what we're used to.




Best storytelling since Black and White.




It's more fun than the game appears - don't let the many negative Internet personalities and articles burning this game into the ground over its faults fool you.


8/10. Play it.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/1/2022 at 4:09 AM, Chase said:

That does -not- excuse S/V's optimization and performance issues.

I'd say that is the only "truly bad thing" about Scarlet and Violet; but it isn't consistent - some will experience just FPS drops, some will have game-crashing bugs, and some... some really hilarious moments, especially in Co-Op. Perhaps the third biggest performance issue in the game, in my opinion, outside of FPS drops and those experience-destroying incidents, which might not be considered performance issue at all... is theme-loopin'. Some themes, especially-


"VS Paldea Elite Four" and "VS Champion Geeta"

-suffer from that loop, because the game sometimes do not enter the "VS" Template at the start, after sending Pokemon; the theme loops the intro... creating some really anxiety-inducing experience. The more minor, sometimes barely noticeable, changes because of the lack of "VS" Template are battle themes like-


some parts of "VS Paldea Gym Leader"


and beginning of "VS AI Sada/AI Turo"


On 12/1/2022 at 4:09 AM, Chase said:

other negative I want to talk about is that Set Mode was removed from the options

I do agree, that sucks. Nowadays, I always play on Set Mode in Pokemon games because:

  1. I like handicapping myself, especially in a easy game
  2. That helps me training my skills in a competitive environment, where there's absolutely no Shifts

But this-... this is getting ridiculous. They've already made EXP Share permanent, and it appears major opponents' Pokemon aren't exactly better than the surrounding one, other than having clearly better movesets and AI supporting them; seemingly low IVs and probably no EVs as well, and they don't use any Potions! Galar kinda started the trend, but some Trainers did have some Potions (I remember Leon using one or two Full Restores in the Championship Match, and probably someone else in DLC, but I can't recall). And I... don't understand that decision - for Galar, that makes some sense, because using item on a Dynamax Pokemon is a waste of a precious turn, but in Paldea, where Terastalization works very similar to Mega Evolutions... That doesn't sit with me; it cuts down the difficulty of the battle, as does-

On 12/1/2022 at 4:09 AM, Chase said:

Lack of level scaling

-that thing. What's the point of open-world story progression... if there's no scaling, so the difficulty gets fixated! They didn't need to do much, just base the levels of story Trainers basing on user's highest level Pokemon; just like Torren Elite Four does in Insurgence, giving them levels like: X-5, X-2, X, X+1, X+10 and so forth.

On 12/1/2022 at 4:09 AM, Chase said:

the Psychic gym seems to be the definitive "final gym" due to level scaling

umm, no. Grusha is the final Gym Leader (high 40s), Tulip is the penultimate one (mid 40s)

On 12/1/2022 at 4:09 AM, Chase said:

She's a little possessive of the player

Nemona is a family-friendly yandere... period. And a little socially awkward, with family issues... 

On 12/1/2022 at 4:09 AM, Chase said:

Arven, without spoiling anything, is the most compelling Pokemon NPC I've seen in a while

No contest.





With the rest... I mostly agree.

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