Pokemon Scarlet & Violet were released for the Nintendo Switch in November 2022, closing out the fifth year of the console. These games marked the start of Generation 9, with all sorts of brand-new Pokemon and areas to explore and find.
Before Scarlet & Violet, the previous mainline titles to be released on Switch were Pokemon Sword & Shield. Which pair of Pokemon titles are better for fans ready to jump in and experience a new adventure, and which titles represent the best that Pokemon has to offer on the Switch? From graphics to story and game design, which of these pairs of mainline titles are the best?
7/7 Graphics – Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet drastically improved the graphics and resolution found on the Nintendo Switch. In the previous titles, Sword & Shield, the world looked incredibly dull and also had a very low resolution to go with it. The textures overall are much sharper in Scarlet & Violet, with small details brought out much more without the jagged edges.
The overall graphics and details found in Scarlet & Violet are quite impressive and stand out as the best in the series thus far. Foliage is much improved from Sword & Shield, with numerous additions in the number of trees, plants, and bushes.
6/7 Performance – Pokemon Sword & Shield
Now changing to performance, Sword & Shield have Scarlet & Violet beat in this category. While there are some technical glitches and bugs here and there, Sword & Shield offers solid performance without many outlandish bugs.
The same cannot be said with Scarlet & Violet, however. These games are plagued with performance issues, some of which can be quite funny. There are plenty of times in battle when your character's Poke Ball will practically freeze on screen and show a frame-by-frame of the Pokemon being caught. Things like this are not found in Sword & Shield at all, which is why it wins this category.
5/7 World Design – Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
The world design of Pokemon Scarlet & Violet easily beats out Sword & Shield. The latter was the first to introduce the Wild Area, a concept where you could free-roam and choose which Pokemon they'd like to battle or run away from.
In Scarlet & Violet, the entire world adopts this concept and perfects it. You now have the ability to roam around the entirety of the map and make real-time decisions on whether you'd like to engage in battle with certain Pokemon or not. This concept drastically improves the Wild Area and makes Scarlet & Violet our clear winner in world design.
4/7 Characters – Pokemon Sword & Shield
Overall, the Pokemon Sword & Shield characters are much more memorable than those found in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet. Characters like Hop, Leon, Nessa, and more allowed the cast in Sword & Shield to shine and are some of the most popular Pokemon characters to date.
While Scarlet & Violet had some good characters, they did not live up to the characters found in Pokemon Sword & Shield.
3/7 Story – Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet offers a narrative that excels in spots its predecessors, Sword & Shield, did not. While the Pokemon titles have never really been praised for their storytelling or narratives, Scarlet & Violet create an exciting story to play through from start to finish.
Some of this is due to world design, with the open world allowing you to pick off anyone you choose from the get-go. This creative freedom means there is no set gym order you must play through to beat the game.
2/7 New Pokemon Designs – Pokemon Sword & Shield
The new Pokemon designs for Generation 8 and returning Pokemon found in Sword & Shield are the best new Pokemon. The designs were fresh and exciting, with all sorts of vibrant colors and interesting features. The exclusive variants were also neat, with new features and distinctions that aren't found in other Pokemon titles. Additionally, the Dynamax Pokemon were all great and had some fantastic designs.
Scarlet & Violet didn't hit the same highs that Sword & Shield did in this area, with some of the new Pokemon designs for Generation 9 being quite bland. While there are some underrated designs found in Scarlet & Violet, the highs of Sword & Shield beat them out. There are still some cool designs here and there, but it is nothing like what we had with Sword & Shield.
1/7 Verdict – Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
While Sword & Shield are fun Pokemon games, Scarlet & Violet wins as the better pair of games between the two. The gameplay improvements make the titles much more enjoyable than their predecessors, leading to hours of enjoyment past the credits rolling. Pokemon Sword & Shield have things that are better about them when compared to Scarlet & Violet; however, the newer mainline titles offer many new features and resources that are just not found in Sword & Shield.
With all sorts of raids and content being released over the next few months, there has never been a better time to hop in and experience Pokemon Scarlet & Violet.
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