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Are Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Worth Playing? Review Roundup

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet releases worldwide on 18 November 2022 but are they any good? Here's a roundup of reviews to inform your buying decision.
Are Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Worth Playing? Review Roundup

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet are the first open-world RPG entries for the popular game series, bringing a new degree of immersion for would-be Trainers hoping to explore the many new pocket monsters in the Paldea region. While the Nintendo Switch exclusive titles are also set to debut several new characters and features, many enthusiasts are curious if Pokémon Scarlet & Violet will live up to its promise of delivering a deeper multiplayer gameplay experience. As a result, we've done a round-up of Pokémon Scarlet & Violet critic reviews to help inform your decision on whether or not to buy them once the games release on 18 November 2022.

Are Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Worth Buying?

In a nutshell, these games may shatter many players' overhyped expectations. Put plainly: Pokémon Scarlet & Violet have serious technical issues that overshadow their attempt to maintain the franchise's otherwise brilliant formulaic design; that is to: catch the slew of new and returning Pokémon (and complete the Pokédex), earn achievement medals, battle other Trainers, and explore the lush open world of the Paldea region.

pokemon scarlet violet reviews
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet critic reviews are generally positive.

Of course, it is important to give credit to developers Game Freak where it is due: Pokémon Scarlet & Violet's open world is a major edge over their antecedents but is held back by the Nintendo Switch's technical limitations. Notably, the games feature three distinct storylines (Victory Road, Path of Legends, and Starfall Street), self-paced progression, several new Pokémon monsters, a new Terastallizing mechanic, auto-battler, and more; however, it seems this is still not enough to save it from what otherwise feels like a work-in-progress.

pokemon scarlet violet technical flaws hinder its performance
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are held back by the Nintendo Switch's technical limitations.

But does that mean the Pokémon Scarlet & Violet games are complete trash? Well, no -- at least not exactly. The games massively transform the way Pokémon games ought to be played, embracing an intelligent, open-world design that pushes the boundaries of what is possible for future entries. In many respects, Pokémon Scarlet & Violet are the victims of technical flaws, which begs the question of what the games could have looked like on disparate platforms.

According to Metacritic, Pokémon Scarlet & Violet boasts a generally favorable review score of 78/100 (based on 36 Critic Reviews) at writing. In particular, reviews were mostly positive (n=25) or mixed (n=11). There were no negative reviews; however, several other notable critic reviews were still in progress or yet to be scored. We've copied some of the reviews below.

IGN (Unscored)

"I am still looking forward to spending a lot more time in Paldea before finalizing my review and putting a score on it next week – especially as I see how the online multiplayer works once it goes live. 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."

Read the full review. [Review In Progress]

The Guardian (60/100)

"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."

Read the full review.

GAMINGbible (70/100)

"Pokémon Scarlet and Violet have finally delivered on the promise of an open-world entry, but with all the technical issues and stripped-back features, it’s hard to not feel like the Nintendo Switch held these games back. But if this is what an open-world Pokémon game is now, it's tantalizing to consider what is coming in the future."

Read the full review.

PC Games (70/100)

"Anyone who can overlook the difficulties will still have fun with the new generation. After all, the core remains collecting medals and completing the Pokédex, which is also entertaining in the new editions, coupled with the open structure. Maybe the Pokémon Company will be able to fix the current construction sites for the tenth generation in a few years."

Read the full review.

Video Games Chronicle (80/100)

"The huge expansion and changes to the single player campaign are great, the size of the world and the joy of exploration are the best in the series, and the new Pokemon and battle mechanics introduced all sing. However, it’s just impossible to shake the thought of how much better the game would feel if it was on more powerful hardware, or simply ran acceptably on Switch."

Read the full review.

GameSpot (80/100)

"While undercooked presentation and visual issues hold the games back, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are still the best mainline Pokemon games in years. They build off Pokemon Legends: Arceus's open-ended design in some thoughtful and surprising ways, and retain that same level of depth that the mainline series is known for."

Read the full review.

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All images courtesy of Game Freak / The Pokémon Company.