Pros & Cons of Pokémon Violet Review | Fanboys Anonymous

Pros & Cons of Pokémon Violet Review

Posted by Anthony Mango Monday, January 9, 2023

I've been waiting to write up a review of Pokemon Violet until after I had reached a point where I felt like I had the full game behind me, so I could properly evaluate it.

You don't want to read an intro for this—especially after seeing how long this post goes on for.

So without further ado, here are my pros and cons of Pokemon Violet and some comparisons to Legends: Arceus.

What did I like? What did I hate? What can be improved on and what is the best it has ever been?

Let's dive into it! 

MAJOR Pro: Free Roam

We can explore!!!!!! Finally, they gave us a game that can be almost wholly played in whatever fashion we want to.

Naturally, there are some blocks in the way. You obviously can't face the Elite 4 without beating all the gyms and such. Some obstacles are built-in with the travel itself, wherein you can't really get to a location that requires you to swim or climb until you've eaten the Titan Pokemon that can give you access to that power. But those are to be expected, and they're a perfectly acceptable countermeasure put in place to make sure players don't progress too far too fast.

But by and large, you can go where you want—particularly if you abuse the glitches that will place you in another spot—and you can choose the order of missions in whatever way you want.

Naturally, I found myself exploring like crazy and not bothering to do anything, so within no time, I had my level 15-20 team going up against level 50 Pokemon out of my league. It was difficult, which made it interesting.

Then, since my team was leveling up fast, I was wiping the floor with the competition, and it became easier to do other challenges that I was apparently supposed to do first. Whoops!

For anyone's curiosity, this is the order of the main challenges that I ended up doing:

  1. Cortondo Gym - Bug
  2. Quaking Earth Titan
  3. Team Star Dark Crew
  4. Artazon Gym - Grass
  5. Cascarrafa Gym - Water
  6. Stony Cliff Titan
  7. Medali Gym - Normal
  8. Open Sky Titan
  9. False Dragon Titan 
  10. Team Star Fairy Crew
  11. Glaseado Gym - Ice
  12. Montenevera Gym - Ghost
  13. Lurking Steel Titan
  14. Levincia Gym - Electric
  15. Alfornada Gym - Psychic
  16. Team Star Fighting Crew
  17. Team Star Poison Crew
  18. Team Star Fire Crew
  19. History Class (for the location markers of the shrines)
  20. Collecting the Remaining Stakes and Catching the 4 Legendaries
  21. Academy Ace Tournament
  22. Getting my Backup Miraidon
  23. Unlocking 6-Star Raids

None of them were difficult until I got to the 6-star raids. Those have been hard. The rest were all extremely easy, as I had a level 40 Flamigo by the time I did the second thing on this list, and used that to wreck nearly every type of challenge out there. Who knew that dumb flamingo would be my ace?

Con: A Lack of Level Scaling

That first part of the game, where I was exploring into different areas that had massively higher level Pokemon than what I was equipped for, was way more interesting than the opposite. Once I was in my 40s for my team, and I had to backtrack to Titans and gyms and such that were a much lower level, it was too easy.

Ideally, there should be some sort of level-scaling for the challenges.

The wild Pokemon would be too difficult to implement this, but why not have the gym leaders all have different teams based on how many badges you've already collected? And the same for the Team Star members and the level that the Titan Pokemon are?

MAJOR Pro: A Specialist of Every Type

Since the very first generation, I've wondered why there wasn't a gym leader of every type. It just made sense to me that you'd have to prove you're a master of all the types to be eligible for the Elite 4 challenge, rather than 8 random types with the rest just not having any representation.

This time around, we finally got an equivalent to this by having the Team Star battles cover the rest of the types that weren't covered in the gyms.

It's about time!

Con: More Character Customization

I really can't change my character's outfit beyond just some dumb hats and such? Let me deck myself out with a full-on white suit like I'm The Man with the Golden Gun, like I was able to do in Pokemon Legends: Arceus.

There aren't even a whole lot of hair options.

For that matter, I'd like more variety in trainers. Same hiker woman all the time if they aren't just another student. And why are there elderly students and such?

Pro: What's in the Box?

Being able to click on Boxes in the menu and switch Pokemon was the easiest it has ever been. This improvement was so much more functional and a quality of life upgrade that it beats every other game before it, including Legends: Arceus, wherein you needed to go back to the tent base and talk to someone to have access to your boxes—or go to the specific person in the village for that.

Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge fan of just having this available at my beck and call.

Con: Buying Food

Up until the point that I started doing the 6-star tera raids and finishing out my Pokedex wherein I needed to get eggs, the entire picnic mechanic was a complete waste for me.

I didn't want to spend the time to set it up at a spot that it let me, I didn't see any real benefit to doing much of the stuff you can do in the picnic, and the worst part of it all was that I hated the process of these power-ups.

First and foremost, why are there like 6 shops per location with all different types of combinations, and the only way for me to know what I'm going to get is to visit EACH ONE OF THEM and compare EACH INDIVIDUAL ITEM?

If I wanted something with Egg Power, Water Encounter and Dragon Catch, for instance, I have no idea where I can find that, or if I can find it. I'd have to go consult an online guide, which you shouldn't have to do.

I don't like having to make the sandwiches and buy separate ingredients. It just isn't for me. Some people will play entire games like that. My wife loves Cooking Mama, for instance. But I want to play Pokemon, not do more work than I'm even willing to put into my own lunch in real life.

Why is there no way of knowing what current power-up you have, and no measure if knowing when the time is up?

I do like how much easier it is to get 10+ eggs when you do that power up and just set up a picnic, but this whole process could have been made a lot better than what it was, too.

Mixed Bag: The Story

I like that the school is used as a framework for everything. That works well for a lot of plot devices.

Team Star is particularly lame, though. I wanted to skip past almost all the dialogue in this as it was, but the whole story revolving around the losers being picked on and creating their own gang and all these cringy lines were unbearable.

Whatever happened to rivals in these games being jerks who you wanted to beat, and not just your brand new friends and people who spend most of their story apologizing?

Arven was cringy, too. Let's just say every bit of dialogue was cringy and write that off. But at least his reasoning for looking for the herbs was decent.

The time travel stuff is hit and miss. The game doesn't do enough to make me feel like I'm playing something in the future.

Con: Paradox Pokemon

Regional variants are better, particularly since they have actual names. All this "Iron ____" stuff is awful, and I don't like how they aren't even directly evolutions of Pokemon they clearly are. It comes off more like a Mega Evolution than an entirely separate thing, and I don't think any of the designs are good enough to justify it.

Some are decent looking, like Iron Moth and Iron Thorns. But why couldn't Great Tusk and/or Iron Treads just be a third evolution to Donphan?

Con: Terastal Phenomenon / Terastallized Pokemon

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I don't like these one-shot gimmicks they've been doing in this series.

Mega Evolution is dumb, overall. Those should be third evolution stages, regional variants, or not exist at all, and it is still the best of the bunch.

Z-Moves are ridiculous. Dynamax and Gigantamax is super lame.

The whole tera type thing isn't doing it for me. I NEVER use it in battle, and I hate when I come across something in the wild and I don't know what type it is, or how much longer it takes to beat it just because you need to go through that stall period where it doesn't fully take it down in one shot.

This gimmick isn't going to continue going forward, for sure, and that makes it even more annoying, knowing that it won't even stick around and it'll just be replaced by something else the next generation.

Also, your symbols suck. Why does Ground look almost exactly the same as Poison? And why is Psychic an eyeball for all these generations and still the thing above a Pokemon's head, but the type symbol used for that is closer to a mix of Normal and Fairy, while Dark is an eye, instead of the moon thing? Dumb.

Instead of wasting time trying to come up with a similar, but slightly different gimmick for each generation, why not focus your efforts on fixing the things that are problematic with each game, like the graphics and the lack of the full National Dex?

Con: Still No More Eeveelutions?

C'mooooon. You've had 1000 Pokemon, and you keep making some of the same stupid things like these generic birds and fish. Make an Eevee evolution of every type. Even if you introduce ONE of them per game, that would be something.

Guaranteed, you're sitting on a lot of money with this, too. People love these Eevee types.

Mixed Bag: Treasures of Ruin

Even though collecting them was hard because of the map, I liked the stakes being how you unlocked the 4 shrines for the legendaries.

I just wish the legendary Pokemon themselves were anything noteworthy.

Wo-Chien, Chien-Pao, Ting-Lu and Chi-Yu are not only all names that I'm never going to remember because they don't register to me as any recognizable words (ie, Squirtle = squirt turtle), they don't even really look like Pokemon to me. Chien-Pao, maybe. But even that's a bit of a stretch. They all seem like they'd belong better to another series.

I like legendaries that are more akin to Mewtwo/legendary birds, Groudon/Kyogre/Rayquaza, etc, and less of the Reshiram/Zekrom, Glastrier/Spectrier, Dialga/Palkia types.

Pro: Trainers Don't Automatically Battle You

I like that you have to engage with the trainers to battle them, rather than being forced to try to avoid their faces.

Con: Which Trainers Did I Fight??

I have no idea how many trainers I haven't fought yet, because there's no way of putting them on the map or anything to remember. When I see that I haven't beaten enough for the challenge for that area, I then have to look at some website that maps out each trainer's location and manually go to each one to see if I've fought them.

MAJOR Con: Travel Mechanics and Map

One of my absolute biggest complaints about this game is how TERRIBLE the map is and the whole gameplay of maneuvering around the region as a whole.

I really like how you've got the same Pokemon to ride and do all the HM stuff. That's a huge bonus, even more so than needing to switch between Wyrdeer and Basclegion. But the climbing system is glitchy and I hate how the gliding is nowhere near as easy, fun or fast as flying with Braviary in Legends: Arceus.

Even more of a problem, though, is how the map functions.

You zoom out, look at an area, hover over it, zoom in, and it doesn't zoom into that area???? How counter-intuitive is that?

The waypoints system was INFINITELY better in Legends: Arceus, wherein you could place some markers at any random location and identify that there was a purpose behind it. I used it to map Alpha Pokemon or noteworthy spots with items, or areas I wanted to explore later.

Pro: Auto Battle

This was a fun little addition to the system. I liked being able to gather items quicker than individual battles, and it could help sometimes with gaining XP, too.

It's a shame they go so quickly back into their ball when you walk at even a moderate pace, though.

I also wish you could send out more than one Pokemon in the overworld like you can in the Team Star stuff, and that it wasn't so damn glitchy in those Team Star missions.

Speaking of which...

Con: The Ridiculous Lag

In particular, if you're in the water, this is PAINFULLY slow. But the frame rate even while walking or just looking at Pokemon in the background was ridiculous.

Con: Stop Bumping Into Me!!!!

I hate it when Pokemon pop up and keep starting battles. Let me save the game or MOVE somewhere, bro. You're spawning out of nowhere.

Why is there no repel?

MAJOR Con: Lock-on Target System to Aim for a Specific Pokemon is Wack

Legends: Arceus has such a better system for catching Pokemon. Not only is it more fun to just throw the ball yourself and not have to engage in a battle, but that you can choose to battle if you WANT to, the actual aiming is infinitely better.

How is the lock-on mechanic in this game so fundamentally flawed that it might as well not even exist?

Con: The Way the Pokemon Appear in the Wild

Everything is too goddamn small. It makes it impossible to even see some of the Pokemon, not only to avoid running into them, but also to TRY to find them. Sinistea, for instance is so tiny that you're better off farming chips by just sending your Pokemon out in auto battles and hoping for the best.

Also, it's impossible to spot a shiny unless it is super blatantly obvious. I've only come across one that I'm aware of, but I have no idea if I've passed by shinies that are too similar in color or anything.

That's if they even pop up at all in general. Most of the time, I check the map, see that there are supposed to be a few things around, and nothing at all is showing up unless I look in the opposite direction and turn back around, or run in circles.

Con: TM Selection

Most of the TMs are trash, like the terrain ones. It's almost all setup moves and not enough powerful damaging attacks.

I'd get excited to see a TM in the wild, only to find that it's yet another Agility, Fling, Substitute, Swift, Encore, etc. Where was Thunder Fang when I needed it, or how I didn't have a single decent Water move for like half the game?

Con: Classes

Nope. These are dumb and take forever. Even the fact that you have to keep loading the front entrance and going through all those menus is too long of a process. Just ask me all the questions and let me take the finals without having to begin and end classes and such.

Mixed Bag: Gimmighoul

I expected something cooler for the 1000th Pokemon. Having it be that you have to collect 1000 coins just gives me vibes that Pokemon is more drawing attention to how much money they make on this franchise than trying to celebrate it being a special milestone.

Ideally, I think it would have been cool to see a Kanto variant of sorts in this spot. Maybe since there's a Pikachu Clone in every game, this could have been a legendary version of that? Or maybe just something ultimately cooler that doesn't have to tie back to Generation 1?

Gholdengo looks weird. It's like a Kraft mac and cheese noodle mixed with Silver Surfer.

Other Miscellaneous Notes

  • I've used more Repeat Balls and Quick Balls in this than any other game or any other ball.
  • Is Larry an Elite 4 member just because you wanted to reference the abundance of Normal/Flying Pokemon, or because you couldn't think of another character? I'm assuming the former.
  • I'm still curious why Scarlet has oranges for its logo. Shouldn't that be Pokemon Orange, then?
  • That first lighthouse is a lifesaver for hatching eggs.
  • I like the whole idea of crafting more TMs, but for simplicity's sake, I liked it better when you could just use them infinitely.

My Elite 4 Pokemon

My starter was Fuecoco, so Skeledirge was on my team from the start.

Flamigo got on my team super early, and I said to my wife "Look at this dumb flamingo. What a lame design and name. They really couldn't be bothered to think of anything better than a generic flamingo and the name is just taking the N out? Stupid." and then, as a joke, I put it on my team. But before I knew it, it was WRECKING things, and it ended up being the one I used the most during this playthrough.

I had never used a Skiddo before in a playthrough, so once I caught one of those cute little guys, it became a fixture of my team from before the first gym. Gogoat was an ace in the Elite 4.

Bellibolt, Clodsire and Veluza rounded out the team. Those 3 spots were revolving, for the most part. Tinkatink lasted a while on my team before I replaced Tinkaton with Bellibolt. Garchomp was always kept on standby, as was Garganacl. I had used a Pawmi for a while at the start, but it quickly got outclassed.

Obviously, there were some others I used along the way just to try them out, like Smoliv, Tarountula, Wiglett, Corviknight, and even a Hoppip was one of my mains at the start until I had gotten Skiddo.

But ultimately, the Elite 4 were taken down by Skeledirge, Flamigo, Gogoat, Bellibolt, Clodsire and Veluza.

Thoughts on All the New Pokemon in Generation IX

Let's speed round this.
  • Sprigatito / Floragato / Meowscarada = I didn't pick you for a reason. Bland. Generic. Not interesting in the slightest.
  • Fuecoco / Crocalor / Skeledirge = I love the dopey gator. Crocalor is ugly as hell, though. Skeledirge is cool, but I could do without all the singing.
  • Quaxly / Quaxwell / Quaquaval = Dumb.
  • Lechonk / Oinkologne = Perfectly fine generic early mammal.
  • Tarountula / Spidops = Meh. It's okay.
  • Nymble / Lokix = Nymble is annoying. It keeps bumping into me. Lokix is fine. It's so far the only shiny I have. I keep thinking its a Steel or Fighting type, though.
  • Pawmi / Pawmo / Pawmot = Cute. Super tiny. But Pawmo and Pawmot are lazy designs.
  • Tandemaus / Maushold = Adorable. What a weird concept.
  • Fidough / Dachsbun = There are too many dogs in this generation and this one doesn't stand out.
  • Smoliv / Dolliv / Arboliva = Smoliv is the best of these three, for sure.
  • Squawkabilly = Lame. We have enough Normal/Flying generic birds. Chatot would've been fine in this place and you could have designed something new.
  • Nacli / Naclstack / Garganacl = Nacli is adorable. The other two are okay. Pure Rock type is weak, though, so it isn't very useful like if it were Ground.
  • Charcadet / Armarouge / Ceruledge = Cool. A little too overdesigned, but I like them in general.
  • Tadbulb / Bellibolt = Tadbulb is goddamn amazing of a name and adorable. Bellibolt is a chunky boy and I love it.
  • Wattrel / Kilowattrel = Pretty decent. A little bland looking, but I dig it.
  • Maschiff / Mabosstiff = Too many dogs. This isn't special.
  • Shroodle / Grafaiai = Neat, but I'll never use it.
  • Bramblin / Brambleghast = Very cool. I love that they did a tumbleweed and made it a Grass/Ghost. That's perfect.
  • Toedscool / Toedscruel = Super weird. This should be a regional variant and not an entirely different species.
  • Klawf = It's okay.
  • Capsakid / Scovillain = We finally got a pepper, but it had to be this ugly design?
  • Rellor / Rabsca = Bug and Psychic? Not Bug and Ground? What's up with that shit...literally?
  • Flittle / Espathra = Flittle is supposed to be a chick?? Whatever.
  • Tinkatink / Tinkatuff / Tinkaton = Ehhhhh I could see a ton of people having this as their favorite Pokemon ever. I liked Tinkatink for a bit, but I moved on.
  • Wiglettt / Wugtrio = Why is this not a regional Diglett?
  • Finizen / Palafin = Finally a dolphin. Palafin is dumb.
  • Varoom / Revavroom = Ehhhhhh I don't know.
  • Cyclizar = I don't like that this isn't a pre-evolution to the legendaries in proper form. But it's kind of neat.
  • Orthworm = Ugly and dumb. That face looks like it is a design from another game.
  • Glimmet / Glimmora = What is this thing?
  • Greavard / Houndstone = I've been wanting a Rock/Ghost tombstone Pokemon. Why is this not part Rock type? I like it a lot, though.
  • Flamigo = Instead of the amigo route with Fighting/Flying, I would have gone with FLAMEigo and made this a Fire type. Horribly dumb generic design, but it has a special place in my heart now for being my top guy for this playthrough.
  • Cetoddle / Cetitan = Ugly. They could have had better narwhal designs.
  • Veluza = I like it, but I can't help but to think Water/Psychic doesn't fit it. It looks more Steel type. And it seems like it should be stronger than what I keep coming across.
  • Dondozo = I kind of like this big dope.
  • Tatsugiri = Cute. Stop offing yourself with memento.
  • Annihilape = Bad ass!!! Taking the idea of Primeape getting so angry it dies off and turning it into a Fighting/Ghost type is awesome, and the name is so sweet.
  • Clodsire = What a dopey looking good boy. I love it.
  • Farigiraf = Every Pokemon should have its full three-stage evolution. Doing this with Girafarig isn't exactly the design I would have gone with, but I appreciate the name, at least.
  • Dudunsparce = Screw you. This thing is dumb.
  • Kingambit = Very cool looking.
  • Great Tusk = Dumb name. Why isn't this a true evolution of Donphan? Decent design, albeit I'm still left wanting.
  • Scream Tail = Dumb name. What's wrong with this Jigglypuff?
  • Brute Bonnet = Dumb name. I don't even like Amoongus as is. Awful design.
  • Flutter Mane = Dumb name. The design is barely even there, too. It just looks like Misdreavus.
  • Slither Wing = Dumb name. Why is it part Fighting type?
  • Sandy Shocks = Dumb name. Dumb design.
  • Iron Treads = Dumb name. Again, why isn't this a true evolution of Donphan? And why is it not right next to Great Tusk in the dex? I like the design, though.
  • Iron Bundle = Dumb name. Why is this not Steel type? Ice/Steel or Water/Steel? I love Delibird, but this shouldn't exist.
  • Iron Hands = Dumb name. It's just a different colored Hariyama. Also, IRON hands. Fighting/Steel instead of Fighting/Electric. C'mon.
  • Iron Jugulis = Dumb name. I love Hydreigon, but they didn't try with this design. It should have become more of a tank.
  • Iron Moth = Dumb name. Cool design, though. Not sure why its Fire/Poison instead of Bug/Steel or Fire/Steel.
  • Iron Thorns = Dumb name. Should just be a regional variant. Obviously, this should be Steel/Electric or Rock/Steel or something, not Rock/Electric.
  • Frigibax / Arctibax / Baxcalibur = One of the lamer pseudo-legendaries. I'm not a fan of the design.
  • Gimmighoul / Gholdengo = Interesting concept, but not what I would have gone with for #1000. As stated, Gholdengo looks like a noodle from Kraft macaroni and cheese.
  • Wo-Chien / Chien-Pao / Ting-Lu / Chi-Yu = I'd be fine with these not even being in the game and just having the shrines be something else. I don't like any of the designs, names or anything.
  • Roaring Moon = Dumb name.
  • Iron Valiant = Dumb name.
  • Koraidon = Cool.
  • Miraidon = Very cool. I dig this a lot, I like the typing, and I chose to start with Violet primarily because of it.
Review of Pokemon Violet Edition

What do you think are the best and worst parts of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet?Drop your thoughts in the comments below!


Tony Mango is the founder, editor-in-chief, head writer and podcast host of Fanboys Anonymous as well as all other A Mango Tree branches including Smark Out Moment. He is a pundit, creative director/consultant, fiction writer and more. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.