Review: Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu!
The gaming world is ever-changing, but some things will never go away. Skyrim ports, weird Nintendo controls, yearly Call of Duty games and of course the first generation of Pokémon. In the newest titles of the Pokémon franchise, Let’s Go, Eevee/Pikachu!, Nintendo tries to combine the hype that was/is Pokémon Go and the nostalgic Red, Blue and Yellow games. Does the combination make for an unholy pair or the perfect duo? You can read it right here.
For Let’s Go we are returning to the Kanto region, the place where it all began. Not much has changed since we first walked through it when we were kids and we have some mixed feelings about that. The nostalgia levels were off the charts when we returned to Pallet Town and had the familiar tunes return to our ears. The whole game does a good job at keeping your inner child as happy as ever, but it does give Let’s Go a been-there-done-that feeling. If you are experiencing the first generation of Pokémon games, you’re in for a treat, but if you are a veteran, don’t be expecting too many surprises.
The changes that do come with the first ever Pokémon game on the switch make us really excited about where the franchise will be going next. Instead of the random encounters that are used to when walking around in caves or fields of grass, you are now able to see all the Pokémon that are roaming around you. This makes catching them or looking for a specific team member much easier. Another change is the fighting being restricted to trainer battles. Catching pokémon can now be done in a Pokémon Go kind of way, complete with different kinds of candy and the throwing motion. Catching pokémon is now rewarded with xp for your team as well. Remember how we started with the consistency of Nintendo choosing for weird controls? Yeah we aren’t too much of a fan of this one either. Your pokéball more often than not goes the completely other way of where you tried to throw it, which often makes for frustrating encounters.
We chose to try out Pokémon, Let’s Go, Pikachu! out of nostalgia of Pokémon Yellow, but to be fair, the difference between the two new games is slim. There are some version exclusives like Sandshrew, Growlithe and Meowth, but this isn’t too much of an obstacle. You are now able to transfer pokémon from your Pokémon Go game to your switch-exclusive, which means you are easily able to set up your dream team. A word of advice, do not transfer your strongest pocketmonsters to the switch game, seen as though there is no way of returning them to your smart phone. Nevertheless it’s a cool feature and we are happy to see it in there.
The art style developer Game Freak went for with Let’s Go is really appealing and something to keep using (given some improvements) in the future. This carries over into the actual battles themselves as well and they are as pretty as they have ever been. We do however hope the battle system will see some changes in the installment coming next year, because it doesn’t hold up perfectly in this day and age. Sometimes the combination of animations and the turn-based-system makes the game a little too slow. There has already been an upgrade since the last title, but there is room for improvement still.
In the end, Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! has been a blast to play and we are very happy to be able to explore Kanto on our Nintendo Switch console. Walking around Viridian City riding on an onix with Pikachu on our shoulder, wearing matching outfits, genually feels great. It’s a perfect title for new players, but veterans might become tired with it before being able to complete it. We like the new encounters system and the link with Pokémon Go, but we hope to see more of an overhaul to the battle system in the next installment and the return of the original way to catch poketmonsters themselves.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo, The Pokémon Company