TUCSON, Ariz. — Along with the simultaneously-released "Pokemon Scarlet," "Pokemon Violet" marks the franchise's coming of age on Nintendo's hybrid console.
The franchise's first entry into the open-world realm, "Pokemon Violet," sets the player loose in a majestic, lush land that pulses with intrigue, hidden challenges, and winking callbacks to the franchise's history.
The game bursts with the energetic earnestness of a Pokemon that emerges from a Poke Ball — eager to please and ready for action.
There is some sacrifice in the deviation from the more linear format. Instead of a tight, seamless adventure, the experience leans toward the sprawling and loose side. It works for those who don't mind grinding and a measure of backtracking — as well as some aimless wandering and trial-and-error — but may leave players hoping for a tighter experience feeling left behind.
As an up-and-coming Pokemon trainer, you venture across the rolling lands of Paldea, opening up more of the realm as you make a name for yourself by climbing up the ranks. You start your journey by shepherding and selecting one of three starting Pokemon — Sprigatito, Fuecoco, or Quaxly — with which to begin your rise to the top.
New in this outing is a glimmering/shining effect that various Pokemon take on. There's also the opportunity to track down Legendary Pokemon Miraidon.
While it's refreshing to take on a Pokemon adventure that is more than an enhanced remake of older games, a somewhat vacant feel in "Violet" pops up occasionally.
Although slowed by the repetitive — and also mildly therapeutic — nature of Pokemon collection, training, and battles, "Pokemon Violet" manages to scratch the Pokemon itch while nudging the franchise along a fresh path.
The publisher provided review code.