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Pokemon: Is It Time for a New Switch?

With another Pokemon game releasing to mixed reviews because of technical issues, it’s time for Nintendo to ask whether enough is enough for the Switch.

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I mean, the issues are either coming from Pokemon Team themselves – in which case there needs to be a discussion there – or from the now dated Nintendo flagship device. And I suspect it’s a bit of both.

It’s not a good excuse to say you’re not really competing with PlayStation and Xbox, or that you’re still selling a billion units a second or whatever the current extravagance is. The second the games start to actively suffer because limitations of your device is the time when the device needs to go.

We’re not talking about Shadow of the Tomb Raider only running at 30fps and having two minute loading times, although those things were annoying. We’re not talking about Final Fantasy VII Remake having long passageways either. The issues in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet that have taken the internet by storm overnight are clearly a deeper issue than designing around slow hard-drives, or making compromises for slower hardware. These are things that PC players have been successfully putting up with for years.

Let’s take a look at some of the issues people have been facing. Part of it is probably down to a lack of polish. These days, a lack of polish isn’t the thing it would’ve been twenty years ago. You release the game, you fix the game, and if you’re lucky nobody minds too much. The GTA Trilogy still isn’t entirely fixed and it sold more than 10m copies. I fully expect Pokemon to top it.

But might some of it be about aging hardware too?

Brokemon – Pokemon Scarlet and Violet on Nintendo Switch

Here’s a video compilation of some of the glitches facing players of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet:

It’s fair to say many of these glitches exist despite of the hardware. Hell, some of the problems could have been straight out of the GTA Trilogy, which released on absolutely everything.

But there’s no doubt issues with the graphics. There’s no doubt issues with doing this kind of open-world Pokemon on a device with as little power as the Nintendo Switch.

But this once again leads us to the question of what exactly Pokemon Team would be capable of if they could release on regular consoles, or on a high-end PC. Would we still end up with the same issues? At the very least, it’d be the same issues with higher processing and graphical power.

What compromises are going to be made to fix all these issues now? Time will tell.

And the really frustrating thing in all of this? I’m sure these would be fantastic games – and I look forward to seeing the GamesReviews review for them – if the technical side stood up to it. There will be a lot of people, mostly children, who will enjoy every second of their time here. But they deserve better. They deserve a fantastic experience.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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