Today, reviews have begun to drop for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, the latest mainlines entries in the franchise from Game Freak and The Pokémon Company. As of the time of writing, the game is currently sitting on a 77 Metacritic score, which is lower than that of previous major releases Pokémon Sword and Shield and Pokémon Legends: Arceus. One of the reasons for the slightly cooler reception to Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is their technical performance — or lack thereof. The games are kind of ugly, just like Sword and Shield were. And as a short clip from Twitter user @Cherrim demonstrates, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet technical performance can occasionally suffer from severe pop-in and frame rate drops.
This clip from Cherrim is spreading around because it’s just stunning to witness such performance from a major Nintendo Switch release. Of course, it’s not necessarily representative of how the entire game performs, but its mere existence is cause for concern. Cherrim explained that this footage was taken in handheld mode on an original Switch from a copy of the game bought from the Japanese Switch eShop. The user described this clip as “the worst of the stutter so far” but that the game suffers from “LOTS of frame dips all over.” However, the user also later described performance as “totally fine” while playing docked, which is an important distinction.
— 🌸 Cherrim 🌸 (@Cherrim) November 17, 2022
Nonetheless, with this clip and amid other reports, there is a growing consensus among fans that Game Freak is not being allotted enough time to take full advantage of the hardware power of Nintendo Switch to develop games like Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, especially when similarly open-world games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Xenoblade Chronicles 3 have significantly better graphics and often better technical performance. However, if Scarlet and Violet sell as well as they have the potential to sell, The Pokémon Company and Nintendo probably won’t be worrying themselves about it.