Best: The endgame
Scarlet and Violet are vast games with all their open-world nonsense, but when the game scales down to its personal stories is when it’s at its best. The game has some of the best writing in the series, and it makes it all the more rewarding when all roads lead to the final quest in Area Zero. At the behest of Professor Sada or Toro (depending on which game you’re playing), the player and the friends they’ve made make their way down into the crater of Paldea, where dangerous Pokémon are known to wander. As the group descends to the lowest depths of the region, they uncover horrible truths that culminate in one of the darkest stories ever told in the franchise, complete with stellar music, an incredible final boss fight, and a cast dynamic the game never quite settled on before, it’s an unforgettable moment in the Pokémon game canon.
Worst: The performance
While the endgame is stellar, getting to Scarlet and Violet’s final moments can be a challenge just because the game is such a technical fiasco. As the series’ first fully open-world games, Scarlet and Violet are ambitious, but they’re also full of glitches, flimsy animation and traversal, and just feel like they’re on the verge of falling apart sometimes. Game Freak has been rolling out updates, but the game’s still not in the best state. Hopefully by the time all is said and done, Scarlet and Violet will have these things sorted out. Then I can update this article to switch this bullet point to its open-world clarity.