The world of Pokemon is one I am relatively new to. My first Pokemon journey was on PokemonGO in college, when many of my nerdy interests were allowed to flourish. PokemonGO was soon followed by a borrowed copy of Pokemon Shield, which I played through, DLC included, as quickly as my demanding class schedule would allow. Needless to say, I am not the most experienced Pokemon trainer. Despite my lack of exposure to the franchise, those two games, paired with a few paltry attempts at earlier games on an emulator, made me want the new Pokemon game after watching my friend begin their playthrough after its release. So, I decided to scurry off to the nearest Target to purchase a copy of Pokemon Violet-- my friend had Pokemon Scarlet.
A side note: I did not play through the game as it was initially released; I purchased it just after the first small patch was released (not the 12/1 patch, I have not played since that was released), and having seen the game without the patch, I don't think I've ever clicked "yes" faster. The patch fixed several glaring issues in the earlier areas that I had been worried about when I went out to get the game. While the patch improved some of the abysmal visual quality of the game, I sincerely hope we see another wave of patches coming sooner rather than later.
My progress in the game is slow at best because my days are long, and dinner must still be made. I have only made it to the beginning of the three main plot lines (the end of the first area's tutorial). I hope you will humor me enough to read my thoughts on the game's proceedings thus far and continue to listen to one solitary nerd's opinion on a subject new to them. These are just my initial thoughts from the first area of the game. Thank you in advance for humoring me in this.
Overall, I see a lot of potential in this new addition to the Pokemon franchise. The massive open world, the variety of plot lines presented to the player, and the potential for self-created side quests create many gameplay possibilities. The open world is fun and truly open, something Nintendo has been exploring to great success with the games released for this system. The cities and towns of Paldea are striking for their similarity to the roads of the Iberian Peninsula in how they seem to spiral from one to the next endlessly. It is quite amazing how quickly you can get lost in the larger cities in particular, as they seem to have new alleyways for their sidestreets no matter how many times you try to navigate back to the center. The stylization of many of the homes is accurate to the culture to which the game nods and is an aspect of this game that I appreciate, even if I did pass the same white stucco building 15 times trying to find my way to my destination.
Past this aesthetic impression, however, my first impression is that the attempt at a Spanish-inspired culture is gimmicky. The random Spanish thrown into the game feels like an afterthought from the devs. The dialog reads as though it was written by someone who took two years of Spanish class and decided to throw in words they could remember a few years later.
Overall, the game as a whole has simply felt rushed to market. Noticeably so, which I hope is only attributable to the holiday gifting potential of a main story Pokemon game and is not a precursor of games to come. I will not belabor the point of the poor graphics; my fellow trainers' "glowing" reviews on this particular issue should be able to stand on their own without adding another similar opinion. The world itself does have failings, like the clusters of spawned pokemon in the open areas of the world, leaving the world feeling a bit too empty overall, or the seemingly useless bit of architecture scattered throughout the world. As a Breath of the Wild player, the map has been eerily similar to the map I spent many hours exploring, especially the scattered towers which have housed many Gimmighoul, but without the small Easter eggs and attention to detail that made the exploration worthwhile in BotW. The plot at the beginning can be described as loose at best, with the sheer number of things thrown at you to set up the 3-way story you can explore later.
As I play through the game, I will keep posting 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!