A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Themes of helping others, supporting people (and creatures) going through rough times, and improving yourself and others are strongly presented. Combat isn't presented in a negative way; rather, it's an opportunity to test skills and growth for everyone involved. Empathy for others and teamwork are also strongly encouraged.
Positive Role Models
There aren't really any villains in the game. Even the "bad guys" of Team Star are performing their deeds out of misguided but ultimately supportive and protective reasons. Everyone -- from Nemona, your friendly rival/mentor/friend, to Director Clavell, the head of your Academy, to citizens you meet in between -- are friendly, positive, and encouraging.
While a large number of characters are fantasy creatures, the human characters and various trainers you interact with are men and women of varying ages, body shapes, and ethnicities.
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Ease of Play
Learning how to play is easy, but the game can be hard to master. Knowing what Pokémon types are weak and strong against other types, which skills to use in battle, and how to possibly counter attacks is what complicates gameplay.
Violence & Scariness
Combat between creatures is the focus, but attacks are fantastic in nature. Characters use magical abilities that are projected toward their opponent in the form of claws, teeth, flames, sandstorms, earthquakes, and more. No blood or gore is shown as a result of combat; enemies disappear in a flash of light when defeated, and the game intentionally states that these creatures have "fainted" instead of died.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some female characters wear tight clothing that accentuates their figure.
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Products & Purchases
Part of the long-running and globally popular Pokémon franchise, which has spawned numerous TV shows, movies, games, toys, and more. Two different versions of the game are sold, each with different characters and creatures to interact with, so if players want to fully explore the story, they'll need both copies of the game.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pokémon Scarlet/Violet is a role-playing game exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. Both games are part of the long-running globally popular Pokémon franchise, which has influenced or created games, TV shows, movies, toys, and many more products. Players adventure in the region of Paldea to collect, train, and fight a wide variety of creatures in their quest to become the best Pokémon trainer in the land. Combat is a large focus of gameplay, with creatures facing off in a variety of duels to determine who's stronger. While you'll see these creatures using magical abilities that represent claws, bites, elemental blows, and other powerful attacks, no blood or gore is shown, and defeated enemies disappear in a flash of light. In fact, the game intentionally mentions that creatures have "fainted" when they're beaten rather than died. As in previous versions of games in the series, players can learn the basics of the game, but the challenge comes in knowing which creatures are best to fight others, how to counter attacks, and the pros and cons of each. Some female characters wear tight, form-fitting clothing, but otherwise, there's no inappropriate content to be found. Players who want to fully explore the story may find that they need to purchase both versions of the game to see what the different characters and creatures are like. On the upside, the game promotes empathy for characters going through rough times, and emphasizes teamwork both with your group of Pokémon and with other players for exploring and fighting in raid battles.
Is It Any Good?
The open-world exploration makes this role-playing chapter feel like the most expansive one yet in the franchise, and its focus on relationships really stands out. Pokémon Scarlet/Violet's inclusion of multiple path plotlines provides the most flexibility in the series to date. Paldea is a very large territory, and it's great to have the option to move from collecting a gym badge or two to hunting down a massive beast hiding out in the wilderness before wrapping up a region by defeating a Team Star member at their base. But there's much more than simply moving from one objective point to the next, fighting everything in your path. Thanks to the Legendary Pokémon you acquire, you gain access to a method of transportation that lets you quickly move through the hills, deserts, and other biomes of Paldea. Over time, this creature will gain additional abilities, opening up new areas for you to explore, which is vital when it comes to fully completing all of the paths. Even better is the option to send out a Pokémon to auto-battle nearby enemies, especially if you want them to gain levels without grinding through every single battle. It's not perfect: Sometimes your Pokémon will stand still or run circles around you rather than attack a nearby creature. But when it works, it's a great way to clear out monsters from an area, especially during "outbreaks" when larger numbers of monsters appear and you want to save time, or want to collect items to craft new TM discs for your monsters so that they can learn new skills.
Far greater than the exploratory features are the relationships in the game. Pokémon titles have always set up some kind of rivalry between characters, whether it's the gym leaders or the protagonist's friend/frenemy that always pops up for a fight. In Scarlet/Violet, Nemona is more like a friend than a foil to your character, partially because she's already a champion, so she doesn't really have anything to prove. As a result, her challenges to you are more positive and encouraging than aggressive or offensive. She's not the only one with this encouraging sense about her. Characters overall seem much more supportive of each other and of their Pokémon. Whether it's trying to help other creatures or protecting others from unfair circumstances, there's a genuine interest in supporting characters. Even the "villains" are acting for reasons that will be rather surprising and, overall, positive -- although in a somewhat misguided manner. While the characters and their interactions are very encouraging, what's dismaying are the technical issues, which are the largest problem here. Apart from the questionable auto-battling AI mentioned earlier, it's hard not to observe lots of technical flaws, which makes it seem like the game's visuals are struggling to keep up with the on-screen action. In towns, you'll notice stuttering, jerky animations of characters walking the streets, or textures that will suddenly disappear and pop in with poor, often pixelated visuals. Camera angles will frequently get stuck into objects or be placed into the ground, making it hard to see what you're attacking or being attacked by in rounds. There are even bugs that will prevent you from accomplishing some quests or picking up items scattered in the environment. While the tech flaws don't completely ruin the overall experience, it does make it harder to completely enjoy the adventure when they frequently happen. That said, if you can look past the technical problems, you'll find the open-world area of Pokémon Scarlet/Violet to be an engaging place to explore.
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