Notes for the traditional players
Make no mistake: Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! are games that aim at those who played Pokémon via Pokémon GO for the first time, or haven’t interacted with the Pokémon series in a long time. The game makes plenty of concessions to accommodate for everyone — from wild Pokémon encounters to the way Pokémon battles work, to the necessary simplification of other mechanics such as finding Pokémon with the best stats. Previous games spent a lot of effort introducing changes that would entice all players, with some focus for new players and a lot of focus for more advanced players. Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, by comparison, focusses largely on the casual player. Make no mistake — these games aren’t an offline version of Pokémon GO by any means. Rather, the Let’s Go games make attempts to introduce the role-playing series to this audience. While beloved features end up not making the cut — some for seemingly strange reasons — it’s not going to matter so much to GO players making the step into the series proper. Much like GO, there’s plenty to enjoy beneath the surface. It’s not perfect — far from it — but it’s certainly a positive step there.
You’ll notice a pattern in our review of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, and it’s that the games stick very closely to the first-generation Pokémon games. Where this doesn’t hinder the games is all in the features, flourishes and details that Game Freak has thrown in.
Series director Junichi Masuda states that he considered it a “new challenge” to design Pokémon for the living room — to design a “Pokémon game that was for everyone”.
The Let’s Go games are a great, fulfilling experience and are a great fit in the Nintendo Switch library, wrinkles and all. The games are a treat to play through, exploring the lush Kanto region remastered through wonderful visuals and music. They make efforts to ensure almost every element is accessible — from catching Pokémon, to raising your Pokémon, to finding the best Pokémon. Players, particularly younger ones, should enjoy the interactions with your Pokémon, including your partner Pikachu or Eevee. Masuda’s aim with the games in the living room is to bring friends, parents, and children to be able to play together — and the co-op features allow for that. New to Pokémon, only played the first-generation games, or got in through GO? These games have you covered. For everyone else, you’ve heard of the flaws, but definitely consider giving the games a go. You may change your mind, if even a little.
Finally, to allow Masuda to explain the games:
Pokémon is many things, but Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! are the latest ways [to] experience what the Pokémon world has to offer.
- Beautiful graphics bring the Pokémon world to life.
- Pikachu and Eevee are the cutest partners to grace the games, and the interactivity options with them are especially cute.
- Beautifully redone music gives Kanto that fresh new feel again.
- Pokémon in this game have been fully fleshed in their interactions with you and the Pokémon world.
- With certain features like Catch Combos and presetting Natures available in the game, catching the perfect Pokémon — or shiny — is much easier.
- Screen and video capture! Finally!
- Poké Ball Plus support is a great way to exercise and give your Pokémon attention away from the game.
- Co-op is decent, if overpowered.
- For anyone who has already experienced the Kanto arc, it’s pretty much the same fare.
- Thrusting the Joy-Con as fast as Ash Ketchum throws a Poké Ball will score a home run rather than catch a Pokémon.
- Your coveted Pokémon can run, so you better make the most of your catch time.
- Some areas have so much going on that the game can lag. (The graphics are too beautiful.)
- The omission of anything other than the first 151 (plus 2) is one thing; removing certain evolutions like Crobat makes some Pokémon families less compelling to train and changes the game balance for those Pokémon.
- Avoid throwing the Nintendo Switch when your rare, coveted Pokémon decides to flee before your very eyes.
- You can sob if it’s a shiny.
Edited by Aldo, bobandbill, Caite-chan, LinearAxel, and Vol.
Once again, a huge thanks to Nintendo Australia for providing a copy for review purposes.