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Pokémon Scarlet and Violet review: Growth and growing pains

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Every Pokémon generation brings a new region to discover. But with the open-world design of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, instead of simply getting an updated map with a linear path from start to finish, it feels like there's a vast countryside to explore.

Then you add a deeper story with three branching paths, along with a bunch of quality-of-life improvements and tweaks to the traditional Pokémon format, and you have a game that's a blast to get lost in — even with the title's unfortunate performance issues.As always, the goal in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is to become the very best.

However, the twist for this generation is that you're also a student at a nearby academy (Naranja in scarlet, Uva in Violet), which is where you'll meet the other important characters in your story, or in this case stories.

Nemona is a big-sister type who serves as both your rival and your guide as you try to become a Pokémon League champion. She's a helluva lot more likable than Hop from Sword and Shield, and she helps teach you some of the basics of battling, which is helpful because you don't actually spend a lot of time in classes.Then there's Team Star, which is sort of this generation's Team Rocket equivalent, except that this time the gang is more like an afterschool club with a bad reputation and way too much funding.

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