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Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu

Posted by GG Goblin On November - 29 - 2018

Back to Kanto.

From the first announcement of the Nintendo Switch console, players started clamouring about getting a full size, proper Pokémon game. Maybe this time around Pokémon trainers would be able to play a full, mainstream Pokémon RPG on the bis screen. Well, we are not quite there yet. But instead, we have a very close compromise in the new Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee games. These two titles are basically a re-imagining of the original Pokémon games, specifically Pokémon Yellow, created to appeal to the new raft of Pokémon players that have discovered the joys of capturing monsters and stuffing them into balls through the Pokémon Go game. Where does that leave the hardcore Pokémon players, those who have been following the game for years and years? Well, with a healthy dose of nostalgia and a pretty good experience actually.

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I would love to be able to experience this game as someone who has only played Pokémon Go, but short of any mind-altering injury, that is not going to happen. So, as someone who has played every mainstream Pokémon game over the years, and most of the spin offs for that matter, I can only compare. The Let’s Go games are based on the original Pokémon Yellow in which players were, for the first time, able to have their Pokémon partner follow their on screen character around, rather than stuffing them back in their Pokéball. Depending on which version of the Let’s Go game the player buys, they will either be able to have Pikachu or Eevee as their partner Pokémon, which means all the fun of petting their Pokémon, dressing them up and building a bond, while missing out on the chance to evolve them. For fans of Eevee’s excellent evolution paths, not being able to evolve will be a slight disappointment, but there you go.

Anyway, play takes place in the Kanto region and will see players, once they have collected their first Pokémon, head off to explore the region, do battle at gyms to collect badges, and eventually take on the Elite Four. So far, so familiar for the more veteran players. But leaving the starting location of Pallet Town is where these players will come across the first of the concessions to the Pokémon Go players. Wild Pokémon can be seen wandering through the long grass, and players are able to choose whether they want to catch them. Rather than doing battle until they are weak enough to catch, players now simply have to throw a Pokéball in a similar way to the system in Pokémon Go. Sure, there is some timing involved, and more difficult Pokémon may require the use of an item or even a more powerful Pokéball. But at the end of the day, the process really is that simple. Members of your Pokémon team will get experience for each Pokémon caught, but there is no battling and very little risk of failure.

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There are some other quirks to the Pokémon catching, such as being able to catch multiples of the same type of Pokémon over and over to increase a catch combo that will lead to a higher chance of a rare Pokémon turning up. It takes a lot of the randomness out of cat5ching Pokémon, streamlining the game for the new players.

When it comes to doing battle, which will be against the huge number of trainers that are standing around, or those in gyms, things go more or less back to normal. Players get to send out a Pokémon and then take turns to choose moves until one passes out. There are still plenty of battles to be had, but levelling up and evolving Pokémon may take a little longer now that a lot of the random encounters have been removed.

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There are other concessions made to make the game less random for the Pokémon Go generation, such as replacing the Hidden Moves with much easier to obtain Special Techniques. The main difference between the two different versions of the game, besides the starting Pokémon, is that they each have a slightly different list of Pokémon available to catch in the game. This means players will have to trade with other players using the other version of the game to complete their Pokédex. This is nice and easy thanks to online and local play. Also, as a big appeal to the Pokémon Go players, the Safari Zone has been replaced with Go Park and here players are able to catch Pokémon that have been transferred from Pokémon Go. Word of warning though, there is currently no way to transfer the Pokémon back to Go though, so once they are swapped over, that is it.

It all works very smoothly and very well. However, the control systems in place all have their little quirks. On the big screen, the game can be played with a single Joy-Con or using the new Pokéball controller. The second Joy-Con is reserved for another player to drop in and help. There is no way to use a Pro controller or even the two Joy-Cons combined, which can make for awkward controls. I don’t really get why it is this way, but there you go.

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Pokémon Let’s Go is not the game that Pokémon fans were waiting for. However, it is a great nostalgia hit for the older fans, and it does a really good job of introducing the Pokémon Go players to the mainstream game. GameFreak and Nintendo know they are onto something good, I already know of people who have rushed out and bought a Switch just for this game, and I am sure it will be very successful. It’s a little on the simple side, but the Pokémon Let’s Go games are very easy to enjoy, both for veterans and newcomers alike.




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