A brand new Pokemon journey

A review of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet


Benjamin Cruz, Assistant Editor in Chief

Released on November 18th, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have taken the world by storm. The newest addition to the mainline Pokemon games has shaken up the formula for the better. Fans have been asking for an open world Pokemon game and Scarlet and Violet aim to deliver that. 


Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are fantastic looking games and have a great foundation. The idea that I can go wherever I want, whenever I want, is something that has never been present in the world of Pokemon. The way the game is structured is that your character has just moved into the Paldea region and will be attending school at the local academy. The biggest difference between Scarlet and Violet is that depending on which game you play, you will either be attending Naranja Academy (Scarlet), or Uva Academy (Violet). As a new student, the Director of the academy, Director Clavell, comes to your home to deliver your first pokemon.

Starter Pokemon:

The most important aspect to the beginning of a new trainer’s adventure are the three starter pokemon. What makes a good starter trio is how good they are in comparison to each other. There shouldn’t be one that shines brighter than the others. Here is a breakdown of each one to help you decide which to pick and display their strengths/weaknesses.

Sprigatitio: Sprigatito, the grass starter, is a fast physical attacker who eventually evolves into a Grass/Dark type. Grass/Dark is a very frail type that has a lot of weaknesses, but has a good amount of offensive coverage. Sprigatitio also possesses a signature move called Flower Trick. Flower Trick is a physical grass type move with base 70 power; it never misses and is a guaranteed critical hit. This move alone makes Sprigatito a great option for a physical attacker on a team. The fact that it learns both Play Rough and U-turn can help with coverage, pivots, and utility as well.

Screenshot by B. Cruz.

Fuecoco: Fuecoco, the fire starter, is a bulky special attacker who evolves into a Fire/Ghost type. Fire/Ghost is a very good typing that gives a fair amount of immunities and resistances. Fuecoco also learns the signature move Torch Song. This is a special fire type move with base 80 power, 100% accuracy, and raises special attack by one stage every time it hits. This move is fantastic and can help with dealing constant damage while raising your special attack. Having access to utility moves like Will-o-wisp also allows it to fulfill a support role on a team which makes Fuecoco a great option.

Screenshot by B. Cruz.

Quaxly: Quaxly, the water starter, is a physical attacker with an even stat spread across. It evolves into a Water/Fighting type which gives it a fair amount of resistances, but a good chunk of weaknesses as well. I feel that Quaxly may be the weakest of the three, but it’s not by much. Quaxly’s signature move is called Aqua Step. Aqua Step is a physical base 80 power move with 100% accuracy that raises speed by one stage every time it hits. Quaxly starts Somewhat slowly, but with one use of Aqua Step it can quickly pick up the pace and start outspeeding everything with its monstrous attack stat. With dedication, Quaxly can become a strong physical sweeper with great coverage from Brave Bird, U-turn, and Ice Spinner. I feel that Quaxly is capable of being strong, but requires a little bit more effort than the other two starters.

Screenshot by B. Cruz.

Overall, all three starters are viable and are all strong in their own right. I will not be spoiling the final evolution of each one as that is something trainers should discover once they play the game. I will confidently say that this is a strong starter trio.

The First Hour:

Once the player picks their starter pokemon, they are challenged to a battle by their rival Nemona. Nemona is a trainer with the title of “Pokemon Champion” whose goal is to seek a trainer who can allow her to battle at full power. In regards to rivals of previous games, Nemona is a breath of fresh air. Her goal is very different from previous rivals and it does help that she doesn’t go on the same journey as the player. She has her own goals completely separate from the player and it helps immerse the player in their own journey.

After getting acquainted with Nemona, the player is supposed to make their way to the academy, but instead falls down a cliff in which their Rotom phone breaks their fall (somehow). One thing leads to another and the player ends up becoming friends with the legendary pokemon of the game. In Pokemon Scarlet you meet Koraidon, and in Pokemon Violet you meet Miraidon. This caught me off guard as you typically don’t see the legendary pokemon until far later in these games. This further cements the idea that these games are trying to break the Pokemon formula. 

The player is then met up with a character named Arvin. Arvin comes across as someone who could learn a thing or two about being kind and considerate to other people. It’s not uncommon for players to dislike Arvin, but it actually sets up for some great character development for later in the story. I can’t really go much further in depth without spoiling major plot points; however, let’s just say there is a reason Arvin acts the way he does.

Once the player makes their way to the school they are then acquainted with team star, the evil team of this generation. Once again, it is hard to explain what makes them good as an evil team without spoiling any major plot points, but as far as I can tell they make for a group of very compelling characters. They come off as the stereotypical high school clique full of bullies. 

The reason Nemona, Arvin, and Team Star are all introduced consecutively is because the game wants the player to understand the three main stories of the game. On this journey, the player can go wherever they want, whenever they want. One time skip later and the treasure hunt begins.

The Treasure Hunt:

Screenshot by B. Cruz.

What makes Scarlet and Violet unique as Pokemon games are the three separate stories the player can embark on. The Treasure Hunt is the game’s way of saying “Go embark on your own journey!” The primary content of the game comes from the three unique stories the player can tackle in whatever order they like. Each story is unique and packed full of interesting lore and gameplay mechanics.

Victory Road: This story is for all of the players who just want to experience a classic gym challenge. For those who don’t know, the gym challenge in Pokemon involves going around to the various cities in the region to challenge the eight gym leaders. After defeating all of them the trainers get the right to challenge the Pokemon League for the title of Pokemon Champion. In Scarlet and Violet it is slightly different. Gym leaders are typically fought in a specific order; however, in these games the player can battle them in whatever order they choose. The levels don’t scale which does mean there is an intended order, but it is nice to know that players have the freedom to challenge stronger gym leaders earlier in the game.

Path of Legends: This story involves investigating the phenomenon of titan pokemon. These are pokemon who, through specific circumstances, ended up growing to be unnaturally huge. The goal is to defeat these pokemon and obtain the various Herba Mystica, special herbs that grant specific properties when consumed, for Arvin to create different types of sandwiches. There is a little more to it as far as the story goes, but I will not be giving any spoilers. All I will say is that as a result of this story Arvin becomes a very interesting character who undergoes a great amount of development.

Starfall Street: The last story involves defeating Team Star and preventing the group from bullying any other students at the academy. This means going to each Team Star base and challenging the Team Star Bosses to a battle. It could’ve been just a regular battle, but there is a little twist on it. In order to challenge each boss to a battle you have to quick battle Team Star’s pokemon. At the beginning of the challenge, the player chooses three pokemon in their party to quick battle the Team Star pokemon. Then the goal is to use that function to defeat 30 of their pokemon. After this has been completed, the trainer has the right to challenge the Team Star boss to a battle. Each boss has a specific type specialty just like the gym leaders, so they offer some really welcome challenges.\

Altogether, these stories come together in a way that makes a meaningful impact on the player. Sure it can be seen as going on the same journey as other people; but, every trainer can go on whatever journey they desire. That is what makes these games. The fact that these stories can be completed in any order proves how unique every player’s journey will be.


Unfortunately, this is the area where Scarlet and Violet suffer greatly. Everywhere online, there is an abundance of performance complaints. There are definitely glitches and frame rate issues in the game. I will not sugarcoat this fact. These games are a ton of fun, but some of these issues can break the immersion of embarking on a great adventure. From pokemon randomly popping into view, to the camera functioning in some very odd ways, these issues can definitely be a deal breaker; however, they didn’t prevent me from enjoying and playing the game from beginning to end.

Closing Thoughts:

Overall, these are some incredible games. I get that there are performance issues and some players may not like the dramatic changes these games have made. However, I was in awe of the options during my journey. It was unimaginably fun comparing the path I took with my friends and describing what exciting events we encountered. If you are someone who is interested in an interesting open world experience, or loves Pokemon, I honestly recommend picking up these games. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are available for Nintendo Switch consoles for 60$.