Timothy “Timaugustin” Augustin
Image: The Pokemon Company
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet might be the franchise’s buggiest game yet.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet launched last Friday, and it didn’t take long for players to realize that both games had issues that went beyond performance issues. Players shared videos of the many, many bugs and glitches with Cyberpunk 2077’s level of hilarity – from trainers suddenly turning into kaiju to character models bending over each other.
For example, meet the nightmares you encounter while traveling Paldea:
Couple that with an already troubled performance, and we’d be hard-pressed to call this a win for Pokemon fans everywhere. Fighter games run at a minimum of 30fps, often dipping to 20fps and below during gameplay and cinematics. Scarlet and Violet also had problems loading in the world of Paldea even when the player remained in battle, leading to obvious pop-in textures. Because the whole game slows down when it drops frames, you also get cutscenes where the character models move like this:
Gamefreak developers will not be financially harmed by any of this bad press, of course. The company recently announced that Scarlet and Violet have become the most pre-ordered games in the history of the franchise – and we can safely expect that the two titles will continue to be sold around the world despite the bad word of mouth. Some players reported that both games suffered from memory leaks, which resulted in improved performance the longer they were played. This can be solved by resetting the game or hoping for an upcoming update that patches the leak, but the basic performance you’re left with is still not great.
Now, the general consensus is that Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are fun games to play as long as you can ignore all these issues, but they still shouldn’t be present in a game of this caliber. Pokemon is the most successful and instantly recognizable franchise in the world, and to see the launch of its main game in this country is something to be excited about. The Nintendo Switch is definitely showing its age, but we’ve played several Switch games that blow Scarlet and Violet out of the water mechanically and visually since the console’s release. This seems to be at Gamefreak.
It’s a shame, because Scarlet and Violet have some great ideas buried beneath all this glitchy chaos. Introducing multiple story lines for players to follow allows for more freedom of exploration, and multiplayer has really been fleshed out here compared to previous titles. The majority of new Gen-9 Pokémon sport whacky designs and punny names we can’t help but love, and Paldea as a whole is a fun area to explore. Hopefully, Gamefreak is taking the current online backlash as a sign to build – but if we’re going by those pre-order numbers, it really shouldn’t be.