It has been roughly two decades since Game Freak first introduced us to the fascinating world of Pokemon. At that time, Pokemon Red and Blue released to almost universal praise, leading to one of the most popular gaming franchises around. With nostalgia in full force, Game Freak has decided to bring back some of the best moments of the original journey for new generation of gamers to enjoy. With Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee being the first Pokemon-RPG games on Switch, is it where Game Freak wants to take the franchise? If so, is it something veterans will appreciate?
The majority of what Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee is all about when it comes to story is very similar or close to the same as Pokemon Yellow. The journey towards becoming a Pokemon Master in the Kanto region remains the same. The familiar Gym Leaders that veteran Pokemon Masters have beaten before are all back in the Kanto region giving them another chance to take them down. If there are things that are unique in Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee, that would be some neat side things such as the ability to take a Pokemon out from a PokeBall to follow you around and being able to do a lot of things after becoming a Pokemon Master – which I will discuss later on.
With the success of the Pokemon Go on mobile phones, Game Freak was inspired to implement a feature when it comes to catching a Pokemon. Before, players had to battle the Pokemon and weaken them in order to catch it. Now in Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee, the same mechanic in catching Pokemon found in Pokemon Go is now in Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee. At first it was awkward as it doesn’t pose a challenge at all, but giving the fact that the Pokemon Go catching mechanic can be challenging at times, it just takes time to get used to the new mechanics.
In line with Pokemon Go, there’s also a new accessory that players can avail which is the PokeBall Plus. With the new accessory, you can somewhat mimic how to catch a Pokemon with a Pokeball and it also can be used to navigate through the game if you are playing on docked mode. One of the gripes I have with this game are the controls as when you are in docked mode, you can only use one JoyCon itself or with the PokeBall Plus. Sure, it provides innovation in playing the game but in reality, it could take some time to get used to and would rather use my Pro controller – sadly there’s no option for that.
For players who are new to Pokemon, definitely consider playing Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee as it will introduce you to the world of Pokemon and will also teach you the basics about the series. In general, Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee is an RPG game where you are tasked to catch Pokemon to fill up the PokeDex given to you, use it in battle as you raise them and also become the best trainer in the region which can be done by defeating the eight Gym Leaders.
Once you have become the Pokemon Master and have beaten the game, it doesn’t end there. There are master trainers scattered throughout Kanto that you can challenge, rechallenge the gym leaders you have defeated, and continue your quest in filling up that PokeDex by hunting rare Pokemon that can only be seen by doing certain things – these pretty much are some of the big stuff featured that are new to the game.
There are also little things that are added in the game that is unique such as there is no more Bill’s PC that you have to use to store your Pokemon. Wherever you are, you are now able to store or withdraw Pokemon from your bag. Also, those who are playing Pokemon Go will have an opportunity to catch a rare and new Pokemon called Meltan by doing certain things. Sadly, there is no option for breeding as literally it’s not featured until in Pokemon Gold and Silver.
Another cool feature that I find to be awesome in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee is being able to use a Pokemon as a mount. Any Pokemon that you have catch can be used as your mount to travel through Kanto. Also, if you have a water Pokemon and would like to use surf to travel via sea, you can use that Pokemon, rather than the generic Pokemon that is being used in the older games.
Multiplayer wise, players are able to battle Pokemon with one another or trade via WiFi. One downside though is that there’s no Global Network where you have to travel from one area to another to trade. Instead, the way online multiplayer is set in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee is basic.
As far as visuals go, Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee looks fantastic. The graphics have been completely remade and it’s really great to see Pallet Town and other towns in brand new graphics. Pokemon-wise, Game Freak did a phenomenal job as they feel more like the anime as they are scaled perfectly in-game. It’s the same with the environments which are designed beautifully and gives life to the game. Those who have watched the anime will notice that Gym battles are now somewhat close to the original. Pretty much, veterans will love all the nostalgia this game will give.
Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee is the console game Pokemon fans have been asking for. While it might have limited hardcore appeal, it’s still a great experience for anyone looking to experience some of the first great moments in the series. Considering how nice these games look, there is certainly hope for a mainline entry, which will include all the depth players have some to expect from the franchise. For now, this is a solid title to hold you over, especially if you want to experience everything that made Kanto so special.
[Editor’s Note: Let’s Go, Pikachu was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch. The game was provided to us for the review.]