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Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is the series’ lowest rated mainline game on Metacritic, yet I can’t stop playing it

If you think Sword and Shield was a better game, you’re wrong.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet finally launched just last week, and it’s safe to say that the game is not meeting everyone’s expectations. While many of us have been anticipating the release, dying to start catching ‘mons again in a truly open-world environment, others have had their reservations, and for good reason.

Which starter did you choose?

With that in mind, it comes as little to no surprise that Pokemon Scarlet and Violet now reigns as Metacritic’s lowest-rated mainline game for Pokemon. It currently sits at a Metascore of 76, while other mainline titles do not dip below a score of 80. For example, Sword and Shield has a Metascore of 80, while Sun and Moon sit at 87, and so forth.

The difference in scores between the titles was first noted by Destructoid, and it got me thinking. If Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is deemed to be so unenjoyable, then why am I enjoying it so much? There are players demanding refunds, yet I've sunk thirty hours in simply perfecting my party and show no signs of slowing down yet.

While Nintendo and Game Freak probably aren’t in despair over the score, considering Pokemon Scarlet and Violet has been successful in terms of what we can deduce from UK sales, it’s not great for fans wanting the seamless Pokemon experience that they’re used to.

The main issue with Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is its performance and various technical issues. If you’ve spent anytime at all online this weekend, you’ve likely seen an array of graphical glitches and comedic bugs do the rounds on Twitter and Reddit. These make light of what is, honestly, an abysmal standard for any Pokemon game’s performance.

We’ve seen The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild nail open-world on the Nintendo Switch, so what’s the problem with Pokemon? These technical issues and glitches can certainly make your experience of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet the less wondrous and whimsical; NPCs moving at five FPS if you’re more than a foot away, and ‘mons falling through the floor mid-battle is hilarious, but also disappointing.

Regularly, you’re reminded of what Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is capable of… until your game crashes again. I can see why the game wouldn’t be for everyone. The ludicrous pop-in is jarring for the most part, and let’s not forget those ‘mons you don’t even see until you’re stood on top of them. However, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet grants players freedom, faster battling, and improved multiplayer, which means I’ll be sticking with it for a while longer.

Sword and Shield might’ve had better graphics, but I’ll take the buggy mess that is Pokemon Scarlet and Violet over the relentless hand-holding of its predecessor any day. Here’s to hoping that there’ll be a performance patch soon.

Have you checked out the latest Pokemon instalment yet, or will you be giving it a miss? If you're well on your way with your Paldean journey, be sure to check out our guide to the order of each gym, Titan, and Star Boss.

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Pokemon Scarlet and Violet

Nintendo Switch

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Kelsey Raynor avatar

Kelsey Raynor

Guides Writer

Kelsey's (she/they) passion for gaming began with Resident Evil, and it's been rather difficult to get them to shut up about horror games since. When they're not scoping out new scares or commiserating the cancellation of Silent Hills, they can often be found fawning over cute Pokémon and Kirby, or being very average at FPS games. They've been in games media for 3 years.
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