Performance analysis agrees: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are ugly and run like crap

Pokemon Scarlet Violet Koraidon Miraidon abilities path legends surf fly glide climb sprint jump
(Image credit: Nintendo)

An in-depth performance analysis of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet has confirmed that, yes, these games actually do look dated and run Crysis on a Tiger Electronics handheld.

Reviews for the last Pokemon installments are generally favorable, but there's been near universal criticism for how the games look and run. GamesRadar's 3/5-star Pokemon Scarlet and Violet review called the graphics and performance "bad, often painfully so" and noted frequent crashes, bad frame rates, lag, pop-in, long loading times, unimpressive textures, and sprites not appearing.

In a technical breakdown from Digital Foundry (opens in new tab), these issues are explored in greater detail. I'd recommend watching the whole thing if you're thinking of picking up Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, but the analysis determines that the games' biggest flaw is their "poor visual design and asset quality." It also finds that "textures in general ar pretty bad, both in terms of artwork and asset quality."

As for performance, DG notes some of the same issues we had in our review, determining that Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have "severe problems and should not be sold in this state."

Of the many examples of inexcusably shoddy performance, the video highlights something you might've noticed in Pokemon Legends Arceus (although that game compares favorably to the more recent Scarlet and Violet): the frame rates of objects in the distance lowers the further the object is from the camera. As an example, DF looks at a windmill up close and notes that it's updating at 30 FPS, but standing further away from it, the frame rate drops to 7.5 FPS, and then to 3 FPS, and all the way to 2 FPS at a considerable distance.

Astonishingly, despite it all, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet just had the best launch of any console exclusive game ever.

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.