Welcome to The Starlight Megaphone‘s playthrough of Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet, released by Nintendo on the Switch, worldwide, on 18 November 2022. They are the first games in what is known as the ‘ninth generation’ of Pokemon games, building on the earlier Switch releases of Arceus Legends and Sword and Shield.
Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet are the highly-anticipated next-generation of Pokemon games. Developed by Game Freak and The Pokemon Company, the games include many feature advancements trialled in recent Nintendo Switch Pokemon titles, such as open-world style exploration in which the Pokemon roam freely and visibly over the landscape, battles which take place situated within that world rather than in a separate ‘battle screen’, real-time online gameplay and ongoing tournaments and PvP structures, group raids and co-operative battling, and more.
Those familiar with the world of Pokemon will find themselves right at home in Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet. The setting is congruent with other games of the series, representing a broadly Iberian part of the Pokemon world, much as Sword/Shield were Britannic, and Sun/Moon were Hawaiian. In the world, Pokemon (creatures, often domesticated) perform many tasks which are performed by automation or technology in the real world: Machamps serve as moving men due to their strength and ability to carry large packages; Voltorbs provide electricity; and Spearows deliver packages. Trainers collect and train Pokemon to assist in these tasks or to battle, forging a bond of friendship that is integral to the trainer process. At large-scale tournaments, these trainers test themselves in local ‘gyms’ against regional leaders, competing for the chance to face the reigning Pokemon Champion in order to obtain the title for themselves.
Consequently, the world of Pokemon is filled with trainers of all skill levels and descriptions, each engaged in training their own Pokemon for fun or to compete at the highest level. As the player moves through the story, he will encounter Pokemon scholars (often with arborial names such as Oak and Rowan), forge friendships and rivalries, and even face off against organisations and individuals who would use Pokemon for nefarious or untoward purposes. And, the world is filled with wild Pokemon which must be defeated in battle in order to be caught and trained, added to the player’s ever-growing collection, and registered in the player’s record of Pokemon encountered, the Pokedex.
Pokemon have different ‘types’ such as grass and fire, which each have strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, each Pokemon can learn moves of types beyond its own, dealing damage both physical and nonphysical, ensuring an elaborate and complicated competitive environment. Battles can take place against individual wild Pokemon, against other trainers (individually or in pairs), and in special battles that make use of generation-specific elements such as Gigantamax and Terastallize. Online battles can be arranged with level caps, to permit or deny certain gameplay elements, or may even involve larger groups working to bring down ‘raid boss’ style Pokemon encounters, first introduced in Sword/Shield‘s Max Raid Battles and then further developed in the popular Dynamax Adventures dungeons.
Please use the comment thread below to discuss your approach to the game, challenges you have faced, strategies and content you have uncovered, and any aids you are using in your playthrough. Do you believe that Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet are the correct direction for Game Freak and The Pokemon Company to follow? Do you prefer an open-world experience or a more traditional JRPG? Will you be using or avoiding the online and multiplayer components of the game? What sorts of changes or additions would you like to see made to the game? What features would you add or remove? Tell us all about it and join in our discussion below! We will select some of the best comments for our podcast discussions.
The aim in this playthrough is to complete the main game storyline and continue playing ‘post-game’ content until 6 January 2023. Instead of milestones, we encourage you to play at your own pace–but please keep us updated about your thoughts and progress as you play the game. This will help to sustain our discussion and encourage other players. Please also make use of our official Discord channel, where we have an #events channel dedicated to playthrough chat.
Please join in with us and comment about your experience! Our playthrough is intended to encourage anyone and everyone to participate, regardless of speed of play or familiarity with the genre. Comment and tell your friends!
Without further adieu, we invite you to join The Starlight Megaphone‘s staff members and readers in Training Together: a Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet playthrough!
At almost five hours of play I’ve collected 2 badeges, caught 62 Pokemon, and have seen 75.
I hope Uva academy doesn’t charge admission. This is their second time in the academic year that they’ve told all the students to go away learn in the real world.
Welcome to real world university: real world studies in the real world. Tuition 70k/annum.
Up to eight hours now. 5 badges, 100 caught, and 119 seen. I’ve traded a second starter into my game now.
The open world still has a progression. Battling Titans gives your box legendary more movement options, and fighting Team Star removes their barriers lock off further exploration. Gyms allow you use higher level Pokemon without them ignoring you as usual.
The narrative of each path advances as you complete a part of it, though it doesn’t matter what order you do everything. It’s a nice way to keep everything flowing properly.
I am simply loving my time with PKMN Scarlet.
I think that they have taken the right lessons from both Sw/Sh and Arceus, bringing into this generation the things that make the most sense: open worlds, visible encounters, a greater focus on self-directed exploration without sacrificing a clear story, and ever more gameplay refinements.
Thank you, Game Freak!
I’m absolutely loving and adoring my time in Pokemon Scarlet! It’s so hard to put down and that’s rarely the case for me as someone who often have lots of short sessions. There has been some slightly longer morning coffee sessions 😅
What I enjoy most about Pokemon is collecting and building a living pokedex. While I haven’t been very successful in completing them I really enjoy it and have been really getting back into Pokemon over the last couple of years so hopefully this is the one and then I can go back and work on the other ones. I’m just loving the open world so much! I feel free and in control.
In the beginning I did see some of the issues that are talked about, but to be honest I’m having so much fun I don’t think about them at all any more. It’s definitely for me the right direction of Pokemon. Truly if they can iron out the glitches and performance issues it feels like the ideal Pokemon game to me. And even without it it’s probably my favorite Pokemon game.
It has been a very busy Autumn here, but now I have a couple of more quiet weeks and looking forward play a lot more Pokemon!
I reached thirteen badges last night, and I am down to less than 100PKMN left to catch!
Also, don’t forget to read the signs at the ten sights of Paldea to get the flight waypoint at each one, and visit the watchtowers and lighthouses for the same reason!
I had a little detour into the land of “catch them all” gameplay. But now I’m back to working on the main story, and I reached area zero this evening. I’m still playing, and I’m hoping to get a bit farther tonight, but I wanted to pause and say how much I enjoyed my latest battle with Nemona and the arrival at Area Zero, which is excellent.
Also, the music in this game is fantastic, and it only gets better as I go on.
One thing I particularly like is that all of the gym leaders are stereotypes of the most obnoxious people in the world right now: eGirls, Fashion Influencers, modern ‘artists’, Pure Food enthusiasts, soulless salarymen, middle-aged women who think that baking bread is a personality, sarcastic overplayed Daria-types, awful ‘rap battlers’. It makes it SO satisfying to wipe them out with a single pokemon from my main party.
After a few days off, with all other content complete and waiting on 392 for my wife to catch up to the endgame, I finished the Pokedex this evening. 400/400 on hand in my boxes. Got my shiny charm! Now, I’ll try to head out and find the PKMN I like best in a shiny form, and do 5- and 6-star raids for Bottle Caps and XP candies. I can’t wait for the expansions (there HAVE to be expansions, right?) and I hope that they announce them soon!
A few other post-game-completion thoughts, because I love almost every single thing about Scarlet and Violet and view it as a great evolution of what they started in Sword/Shield, with only a few reservations:
– When online, I miss being able to see other players in the world riding their bicycles and so on the way that they were there in Sword/Shield. I know that the interaction was minimal (talk to people to get a random item), and that they have been replaced by making all Pokemon visible everywhere instead of just rustling grass, but seeing other people made the wild areas feel ‘alive’.
– I prefer the setting of Sword/Shield to Scarlet/Violet. Don’t get me wrong, I love the setting in S/V! But I liked Sw/Sh even more, and it felt bigger, somehow, at least in certain respects. Cities in particular felt more significant, where for all their beauty in S/V they are like brief rest stops.
– Area Zero deserves a map. I know that the way it is set up would make that difficult, but it’s not insurmountable! Other map issues exist as well: it doesn’t zoom out/in far enough, it needs better markers, it needs options to turn certain icons on/off, and the compass (not the map) needs an option to lock North pointing up instead of having it freely rotate. If they can do it for the map they should have the option for the compass as well.
– The way the story is set up in S/V feels less fulfilling than in Sword/Shield, where (because of its linearity), things really come together beautifully and everything is constantly driving forward in a really satisfactory way. Here, because players can do things in any order, that’s not really possible. I think it’s a lot to ask of the developers to have a nonlinear experience with a really fulfilling, driven narrative. And given the choice between the two, I’d rather have the more linear experience (perhaps with a world map that permits exploration, but not storyline completion, in a nonlinear way). S/V has characters I like, but the delivery of the narrative just isn’t as satisfying because the developers can’t plan for pacing the way that they could in Sw/Sh (where it was just full-on excellent).
– And on the characters, I prefer the Sw/Sh characters on the whole to those in S/V. They just had ‘more’ to them. I mean, what can one say about Top Champion Geeta. really? She’s just kind of *there*. The exception is Nemona, a strong female class president, and clearly best girl in any Pokemon game thus far. She always made me feel motivated and when I beat her (again and again) she made certain I never felt bad. She is the perfect rival/friend, and Game Freak broke the mold when they wrote her. A+ there.
I know that seems like a lot of stuff, but I want to stress that these are minor quibbles, most of which stem from Game Freak experimenting and iterating with the idea of a fully open-word, non-linear experience. There will be growing pangs along the way, but the future of the Pokemon franchise has never looked so bright.
All gyms down! 2 badges left! And reached 270 pokemon 😊
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