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Review: Pokémon Violet

Written by Danielacorn

A mesmerical experience in the Paldea Region 

Pokémon Violet, and by extension Scarlet, are simply brilliant games, especially in terms of cooperative play, art design and story. 

I began my journey in the Paldea region by choosing the ridiculously cute Fire Croc Pokémon, Fuecoco, as my companion. We didn’t journey alone for long, as we battled against and alongside other Paldean residents, in an extremely Pokémon rich environment. There wasn't a moment where I felt lonely in this boundless world, even when I wasn't playing with my real-life friends. 

That's right; you did "Indeedee" hear me correctly: you can play the entire game alongside real-life friends, and it was a "Fire Blast" you might say. You can race around Paldea together, show each other the cool Pokémon you've caught, and take on Tera Raid Battles. 

Tera Raids are special battles where 4 human players, or yourself and 3 CPU Trainers, take on a single strong Pokémon. What's unique about these raids is that they allow you to catch Pokémon with special Tera Types. To briefly explain, Terastallizing your Pokémon allows them to change Type and boost your move's power. It was a memorable moment when my friend invited me to fight a Fire-type Wingull - the thing was absolutely beautiful. 

I particularly loved it when my Terastallized Fuecoco cried out in battle, as shards of light erupted above its head, before landing a devastating Fire-type attack to take down its opponent.

The art design of the 9th Generation of Pokemon is unforgettable. All the new creatures are visually unique and are a genuine thrill to encounter for the first time. New variants of previously known Pokémon, like the beloved Paldean Wooper, are also really well-thought out and just downright cool. When I encountered a beautiful Shiny Pyroar, I became overwhelmed with excitement. Shiny Pokémon in this game look absolutely stunning.

In terms of story, there's so much to do in this vast world of fields, deserts, and lakes. You can choose to complete one of three paths: Path of Legends, Victory Road, or Starfall Street, or you can decide to do all three paths at the same time, in any order, or not at all! This type of freedom is unusual for a Pokémon game, and it was a refreshing experience. 

My favourite route was Victory Road, for no other reason than I love battling. But I soon became engrossed in the other paths, because the characters in the story were complex; it wasn't a case of X character is good and Y character is bad.

Arven the cook, for example, seems rather rude in the beginning of the story, but you begin to empathise with him as the story progresses. I don't normally play Pokémon for the story, but this entry quickly became the exception, for this reason. 

I took a few cool photographs on my journey. Sometimes a group of Pokémon will just line up for the perfect selfie. I'm really proud of these photos!

Battling against random Trainers online through the Poké Portal is really addictive. After finding a team to play with, via the use of the Rental Team feature, I partook in a few rounds of Casual Doubles. As you progress through the game, you can unlock  a wide selection of brilliant battle music, and listen to your favourite tune whilst duking it out.

The battle animations are more refined and feel smoother than previous games. Attacks when Terastallized are especially impressive, and light up the whole screen.

There were a few issues with camera angles: some big Pokémon or Flying-type Pokémon were halfway off the screen at times. But this can easily be fixed with a patch. 

Verdict

Discussion around performance issues has dominated the conversation online, but although the game admittedly does suffer from a bit of stutter and lag sometimes, I feel it's really not such a big deal for an open world RPG. It's early days, I fully expect a patch to be released eventually, which will hopefully improve performance, to an extent.

Paldea is exceedingly rich with Pokémon, aesthetically pleasing, and the world subtly draws you in with excellent characterisation. 

This game has brought me more than 35 hours of cherished enjoyment on my own and with friends. There's still so much more to do, like complete my Pokédex, battle opponents online in ranked doubles, and partake in special Tera Raids. 

Overall, this game is a massive improvement upon Sword and Shield. The story is better because the characters are complex, the graphics are better (I especially love Terrastalisation and weather effects), and the open world design is just what a mainstream Pokémon game has always been crying out for. 

I highly recommend this innovative and sometimes audacious game. 

 

Where to Buy

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Credits

Written by Daniel Oakes

Edited by Mark McAllister, Jen Griffiths and Paul L. Russell

Graphic by Paul L. Russell