The new open world Pokémon Scarlet and Violet games are taking an absolute beating in the press, not because the game itself is bad -- the open world and new battle system is lauded for its freedom and playstyle options -- but the game itself just looks bad. It plays badly too, with awful visual artifacts, problematic lighting, terrible frame rates, and the whole world is just ugly and lacks detail.
The earliest impressions of the games were positive, with early players really praising the open world nature of the game. That's such a huge change for the franchise that it swallowed up the indications that things weren't all rosy in Paldea. Screenshots and video reviews quickly highlighted not only poor visual design, like limited foliage in outdoor areas, and problematic lighting flickering, but also just a general sense of emptiness. Not to mention the bugs.
Breath of the Wild came out over five years ago when the Nintendo Switch was brand new, and look how good it still looks. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet on the other hand? Hot messes.
Despite mature hardware, limited visual flair, and a target of just 30 FPS, the new Pokémon games keep missing it, with regular drops to near 20 FPS and horribly long frame times making the game feel stuttery and awful. For some, it's almost unplayable.
Maybe patches can help? But I wouldn't hold out much hope.
Image source: Eurogamer