The evolution of the Pokémon games is gradual. It's difficult for fans to find the latest and greatest, but it makes it easier to see how the games progress over time. The series has recently offered players an open world. The wild area of Pokémon Sword and Shield was added in the year 2019. At the beginning of the year, there was a spinoff that divided its world into large chunks of wildlife and secrets. The franchise has never had an open-world game before. They are the most varied games to date.

The Nintendo Switch is often unable to keep up with the games. Even though this milestone is hobbled at times, the thrill of adventure never dies. At the moment, the Pokémon series is in a good place.

The games are held in the new Paldea region, a place with a mix of Spanish and Portuguese influences, and is home to a local academy for pokémon trainers. It works very well for Pokemon. After a few weeks of classes, you're sent off on an independent project with the theme of "treasure hunt." You are free in the world to do whatever you please.

The setup of this game makes more sense than previous ones, and it also makes the game less rigid. You can tackle the three different narrative threads in almost any order you want, even if you have to complete them all in one go.

You have to travel the world to beat eight gym leaders, collect their badges, and then move on to the Pokémon League to become a champion in the first thread. The others aren't the same. One has you searching out mythical "titans" across the land in the name of research, while the other has you raiding the basecamps of a group that seems to be behind some bullied students. Each has its own story, and while they start out simple, they get really interesting. The game becomes weird when you get to the final boss.

They are often very funny. One of the gym bosses is obsessed with streamers and the other is a salaryman. A professor asked you the definition of Cheungy. There is a rap battle that puts Weird Al to shame.

A screenshot of a titan in Pokémon Violet and Scarlet.
One of the big titans up against a tiny grass cat.
Image: Nintendo

Each of the tracks gives you something different to do. The core of the game is still intact. Fighting or collecting monsters is almost everything. The open-ended structure gives players more freedom and variety. I took on whatever mission was closest to me. Taking down gym leaders is good for leveling up your monsters, while some of the other missions will allow you to explore more areas of the map. Badges are earned for every major quest and not just defeating gym leaders.

There are some changes that work better than others. The quest titan had an air of mystery and danger that made me enjoy it. The raids felt like a stripped-down version of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, where you have to convince clan leaders to come out from hiding by engaging in some very simple pokémon battles. These raids were too easy to be fun.

There are a lot of small quests and goals that you need to fill out. There are a lot of new creatures in the movies. Lechonk, a chubby pig, and Fidough, a puppy with bagel ears, are just two of the cute and clever ones. I was able to capture a pokémon that is just a bird. Some of the creatures you will meet at the end of the story are unforgettable.

Some of the additions were related to the school. You can return to the school to take actual classes while you study out in the field. You will get an exam if you attend enough of them. Some useful information is included in the classes. I used them to learn more about the new feature that will give you a boost by covering them in a diamond sheen. There is a system where you can chat with your instructors and become closer to them. It doesn't add a lot, but it is a nice touch.

A screenshot of a terastallized version of Eevee in Pokémon Violet and Scarlet.
A terastallized version of Eevee.
Image: Nintendo

It was difficult to make that all fit on the switch. This is visible mostly in the images. There were a lot of weird things that made it hard to see in battle. The things around the main characters look bad. There are characters that look like they are from the PS2 era. There are jagged edges, lots of pop-in issues, and locations that are supposed to be big but instead feel empty. The menus are slow in a game where you spend a lot of time in them.

The Pokémon games have never been very good. The seams are more obvious with a modern structure like that offered by violet and scarlet. This is a game that you can play on the go and on a home console. It looks and feels archaic when it is blown up on your TV.

These issues are not a deal-breaker. I went back into the world after the credits rolled so that I could get back into the game and play the post-game missions. It is as good as it has ever been. It took me 30 hours to finish the main storyline of this new release. I haven't been able to try out online features. It feels like we have reached the limit of what the Switch is capable of for this type of game.

Let's hope that a switch pro is in time for the next pokemon.

On November 18th, the Nintendo Switch will be home to two new Pokemon.