Game,  Nintendo,  Nintendo Switch,  Nintendo Switch Online,  Rapid Reviews,  Reviews

Pokémon: Let’s Go

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Title: Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! / Let’s Go, Eevee!
Developer: GAME FREAK
Publisher: Nintendo
Websitehttps://pokemonletsgo.pokemon.com/en-gb/
Genre: RPG
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: 7
Release Date: 16/11/18
Price: £49.999

What the Developers say

  • Become the best Pokémon Trainer on an adventure with Pikachu!
  • Encounter Pokémon™ in the Kanto region and beloved characters like Brock and Misty as you foil the plans of Jesse, James, Meowth, and the rest of Team Rocket
  • Play the entire game in Handheld Mode, with a single Joy-Con™ controller, or the Poké Ball™ Plus accessory which will light up, vibrate, and make sounds to bring your adventure to life
  • Take your Pokémon for a stroll in Poké Ball™ Plus to level them up, and to receive in-game rewards after returning them to the game.
  • Gently shake Poké Ball™ Plus to hear a Pokémon that has been put inside from Pokémon™: Let’s Go, Pikachu! or Pokémon™: Let’s Go, Eevee!
  • Every Poké Ball™ Plus contains your very own Mythical Pokémon Mew!
  • Share a Pokémon adventure together anytime, anywhere on one system by using another Joy-Con™ controller or Poké Ball™ Plus accessory (sold separately) to catch and battle alongside another player!
  • Connect with the Pokémon™ GO* app on compatible smartphones to transfer caught Kanto-region Pokémon, including Alolan and Shiny forms, as well as the newly discovered Pokémon, Meltan!
  • Connect Poké Ball™ Plus to the Pokémon™ GO* app to catch Pokémon in the real world and gather items from Poké Stops without viewing your smartphone screen—while carrying a Pokémon from the Pokémon™: Let’s Go, Pikachu! or Pokémon™: Let’s Go, Eevee! gamesBattle and trade with other players who own the game via local wireless or online
  • Other online features include Mystery Gifts

Introduction

Pokémon Go was a cultural phenomenon when it first released back in 2016. People will remember how crazy that first month was, with a stampede of people flooding an area to catch a rare Pokémon like a Dragonite when they showed up in the AR mobile game. Although the crowds have died down, the game has continued to be successful, actually having more active users now than it did back when it launched.

It would make sense then, that Nintendo and Game Freak would try to capitalise on that success and try to migrate some of that audience into their main series of games. That is where Pokémon Let’s Go comes in. A smart remake of the original games, namely Pokémon Yellow, with the original 150 Pokémon to attract both those who may have left the Pokémon series in their childhood, as well as those only familiar with the juggernaut that is Pokémon Go.

Looks and Sounds

Pokémon Let’s Go takes the beautiful designs of the Pokémon from Pokémon Go, and adds it to a beautifully cartoonish 3D world that resembles something between the anime and what I remember Pokémon looking like as a child. This remake is lovingly crafted to his its nostalgic beats, from the way the characters look, to the way they move. Even the NPC’s dialogue is word for word in most cases to the original games.

The environments are also faithful to the original, from locations of buildings and trees to the whereabouts of each NPC and findable item. There are some differences here and there to fit in the integration with Pokémon Go, as well as accommodate some of the changes the series has undertaken over the years, but overall, if you played the originals, then this game will mostly be how you remember it.

NPC’s still don’t talk, which I didn’t find to be a big deal, as voice acting is usually left out in Pokémon games, and those with it are generally done to a sub-par level (looking at you Pokkén Tournament). Menu selections, item pickups and other sounds are perfectly preserved, which is really neat. The big plus though is the soundtrack. All the songs are made up of remakes of the original soundtrack, and in this regard, they hit it out of the park. Every track is beautiful, and succeeds in both tugging at the nostalgic heartstrings, as well as being modern enough to delight a new audience with its music.


Gameplay and Replayability

Pokémon has always been the most basic of monster capture style JRPG. Essentially you catch your pocket monsters, level up the creatures you want to use in battle, and proceed through a game primarily based around having the strongest monsters in the region. There is also an emphasis on catching every Pokémon in the game, which you get some cool perks for if you manage to achieve this feat.

What has changed this time around though is that random encounters are a thing of the past. Instead of walking through the tall grass, only to be stopped by a weedle every few steps, you now get a world where Pokémon roam the world. Sure, they still spawn from the tall grass, but you can pick and choose what Pokémon you engage with. If you don’t want to run into a weedle, then just walk around all the weedles you see. After this change, there is no way I can go back to random encounters in a Pokémon game. This truly is a game changer.

Another significant change is that wild Pokémon encounters no longer initiate a battle. Instead, wandering across a wild Pokémon puts you straight into a catching minigame that closely resembles Pokémon Go. Instead of swiping up on a touch screen though, you must use your Joy-Con to make a throwing motion, which will throw the Pokéball you have selected. You can also give the wild Pokémon berries to help up its catch rate or stop it from jumping around.

In handheld mode, things are a little different. You must use motion to aim at the Pokémon, then press the A button to throw a ball. This was quite awkward, and if you were to play this game on say public transport, you might end up looking like an insane person. I feel handheld is the lesser experience due to this, which is unfortunate considering the games handheld roots.

Some may be put off by the lack of wild Pokémon battles, and I did miss it in the beginning, though that quickly changed as the game becomes hugely battle focused in its second act. Having wild battles replaced with a catching minigame served to break up the gameplay in a way I eventually would come to welcome with open arms.

Some other notable changes are the fact that bicycles are no longer a thing in this game. Instead, there are certain Pokémon you can ride to get around the world faster. HM’s are no more, with your starter Pokémon learning all the necessary techniques without taking up a move slot. There is a multiplayer mode, though this adds a second trainer to the screen, and allows them to use some of your Pokémon in battles, as well as help with catching Pokémon. Also, the Safari Zone is no more, now replaced with Pokémon Go Park. This is where you can import Pokémon you have captured from Pokémon Go into your game.

Pokémon has always been a somewhat replayable experience. The end game in this version is slightly different to the originals, though I won’t outline exactly what is different, as that will be a neat surprise for those who haven’t had that spoilt for them yet. There will continue to be trainers to battle, and if you have friends, then the fun will indeed continue, as you can advance to level up teams to battle one another endlessly, as well as battle those online. You also have the allure of trying to catch them all.

Even choosing to start over is a valid way to continue playing Pokémon. The story is never a draw with these games, so it is the solid gameplay that carries you through. Because of this, knowing how the game ends doesn’t detract from the experience at all, and adds a lot of appeal to replaying the game.

Conclusion

Pokémon Let’s Go is a great entry point for those who have either never played a Pokémon game before, or are returning to the series after a long layoff. There is also a lot here for longtime fans as well. Yes, this is a Pokémon Go styled entry, and can easily be regarded as a side game, but overall the game is more than solid and should please both the casual and hardcore audience. The only people who may want to steer clear of this one are those right into the competitive scene, as this game does shy away from some of the more competitive elements of the mainline series.

Rapid Reviews UK Rating

4 out of 5

You can purchase Pokémon Let’s Go on the Nintendo eShop at the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch/Pokemon-Let-s-Go-Pikachu–1382836.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: