Hello friends and fellow trainers! Welcome back to my series of posts on Pokemon Violet! I am writing as I play through the game a sharing my thoughts and opinions as I go. Thanks for joining me! I have now played through the first bit of each of the three main storylines of the game and my tune has not changed, but I believe it has become more nuanced.
While they were not specified in the official patch notes, the patch on December 1, 2022, did seem to contain small fixes that bolstered the game's overall graphic quality after the outcry of fans led Nintendo to release a rare apology. Terastilization's gem-like effect on the "pokésprite" is no longer reducing the visibility of battles (or perhaps I have gotten lucky since it was released), the odd camera angles that occasioned battles on slants seem to occur less frequently, and background occurrences in both the wild areas and in cities saw a slight improvement.
Thus far, I still have not played much of the game, only what I can sneak in on occasion on my commute and an hour or two on the weekend if I'm lucky. Hence, I made slow progress this week through just the little introductory chunk of each storyline. So far, I have been most compelled to continue down the Path of Legends storyline. The benefits from following this path are pretty useful for continuing to explore and the pokemon you find along the way are pretty fun too. More to come on this questline; I plan to complete this one first!
I have been disappointed so far by the overall "missing the mark" in this game. I was excited for this game to take place in a school because of the potential for the full "anime experience" that could be presented. I was excited to choose classes to go to and hone my skills as a pokemon trainer through the classes I could attend, make friends around the campus, explore the world on field trips, decorate my dorm, etc. So far, I have not been able to do any of the above and while I am hopeful they were included, it does not seem likely for the base game at the very least.
My roommate walked in and immediately commented that the world was eerily empty while I was playing the game in our living room, and I have to agree with them. I have been incredibly disappointed by how empty the world feels. While there are some fun things to find while you explore, the world outside cities and towns feels almost completely untouched by humans. Thinking through the world-building aspect of the Paldea region, I would expect this in a newly inhabited area or in a world where there were no large cities to speak of. This region is not either of these. At the beginning of the game, the school director points out some of the history of pokemon trainers in Paldea by pointing out how lucky 'young people' are these days to have a digital Pokedex instead of writing down the information. This tells us that the art of training pokemon is sophisticated enough that an entire educational system, gym track, research team, and so on, have been created around raising the next generation of trainers. So, for the Paldea region to be lacking on roads leading from one large area of civilization to the next seems outrageous, let alone the sheer emptiness of the area. There is, overall, a lack of stuff that should exist in a world where people have existed for so long. There should be man-made structures, both with and without purpose, as well as curated natural areas outside of town crops, scattered among the truly wild areas.
The devs dropped the ball big time on the world and the inhabitants that fill it. The pokemon spawn in clusters, sometimes to the point that there are several pokemon on a small clifftop and no pokemon in the surrounding radius. The pokemon that do spawn and quickly disperse still leave the lack of foliage and general scenery quite apparent. The game quality I have come to expect from a main franchise game published by Nintendo was non-existent, and the lack thereof felt like a slap in the face to their Pokemon fans worldwide.
I will keep posting as I play through the game with updates and revisions of my opinions as the game continues! Thanks so much for reading! Don't forget: it's dangerous to go alone, you should take a friend!