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"Pokémon Let’s Go" Review

Jennifer Wilber holds a B.A. in English and an Associate's in Computer Game and Simulation Design. She is a life-long gamer.

Pokemon Let's Go Review

Pokemon Let's Go Review

Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee and Let’s Go Pikachu

Many fans were apprehensive of the new Pokémon titles for the Nintendo Switch when they were first announced. Most fans were eagerly awaiting a new main series Pokémon game when these remakes of Pokémon Yellow were announced. Further, these new games seem to add Pokémon Go game mechanics to the Pokémon Kanto storyline, a radical departure from the main series games.

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! were criticized for being too easy, catering too much to casual fans who first got into the series with the mobile app game, Pokémon Go. These games, some long-time hardcore fans claimed, were simply trying to cash in on the Pokémon Go craze. They had nothing to offer real fans of the series.

Despite these criticisms, I was excited for this new take on the Kanto region storyline. This is the first Pokémon experience for Nintendo Switch (aside from the Pokken re-release for Switch and the Switch port of the free mobile spin-off game Pokémon Quest, whatever the heck that’s supposed to be). I was excited to start capturing Pokémon and collecting gym badges on the Nintendo Switch, even if it is a watered-down version of the series. Plus, the Poké Ball Plus controller looked like a lot of fun. I couldn’t wait to return to finally return to Kanto after so many years.

My Eevee, Freyr

My Eevee, Freyr

Let’s Go, Eevee!

I chose the Eevee version of the game. I already had a Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow, so I thought Eevee would be a nice change of pace. I loved the interactive features that were added to this game to allow me to play with my Eevee, whom I named Freyr (I originally named him Freyja, after my cat, but it turned out to be a boy. Luckily renaming Pokémon is simple in this game). I loved being able to pet Freyr and dress him up in cute outfits throughout my adventure.

The exclusive special moves that Freyr could learn from the move tutors in certain Pokémon Centers were a nice bonus as well. These moves were extremely useful throughout my adventure.

Capturing Pokemon is quick and simple in Let's Go.

Capturing Pokemon is quick and simple in Let's Go.

Gotta Catch ‘em All

Even with my excitement for the game, I wasn’t completely sold on the new Pokémon capturing mechanic. Capturing Pokémon without even needing to battle first seemed too simplistic to be fun.

It turns out, however, that this change in the way you capture Pokémon wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. This streamlined method of capturing Pokémon made the game more fast-paced and less tedious. Whereas I used to have to return to Pokémon Centers frequently while catching Pokémon, I could now focus on capturing the monsters I wanted and moving on in my journey. Using the new Poké Ball Plus controller also greatly adds to the excitement of Pokémon Let’s Go.

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Pokémon can also be renamed at any time, so there is no need to waste time thinking of the perfect nickname for your new Pokémon as soon as you capture them (if you’re like me, you spend way too much time thinking of nicknames for Pokémon while playing the main series games).

Another notable change in the way you capture wild Pokémon is that in Let’s Go, you can see every wild Pokémon on screen, just like in the Pokémon Go mobile app. This is a nice change, as there are no surprise wild encounters. You can focus on only approaching Pokémon that you want to capture and ignoring the multitudes of Pidgey and Rattata. After years of playing the traditional Pokémon games, I still found myself hesitant to enter tall grasses when I wasn’t in the mood to encounter wild Pokémon. Some habits are just difficult to break.

Overall, I found myself not hating the new system for capturing Pokémon as much as I thought I would. There are still plenty of trainer battles throughout the journey to get your fill of battling, so the battles with wild Pokémon aren’t really missed. It was also a nice change to be able to see the Pokémon on the field. This makes the game feel more immersive, as well as taking out the guesswork when looking for a specific Pokémon.

In addition to streamlining the way you capture Pokémon, Let’s Go also makes it much easier to swap out Pokémon for your party. You no longer need to visit a Pokémon center to access your PC storage box. You now have access to your entire Pokémon collection at all times. This can easily be exploited to make certain parts of the game much, much easier, such as while taking on the Elite Four.

Team Rocket returns in Let's Go.

Team Rocket returns in Let's Go.

Favorite Characters Return

My rival wasn’t nearly as much of a jerk as Professor Oak’s grandson, Blue (who is a separate character from your rival in this version). I almost felt bad about naming him Fartface. Almost.

In addition to Professor Oak and his grandson, plenty of other beloved characters return. You will face off against all eight Kanto gym leaders that you remember from your youth, including everyone’s favorites Brock and Misty. Personally, I was most excited to be reunited with my favorites, Sabrina and Erika.

Jessie, James, and Meowth also make plenty of appearances throughout the game. They attempt to recruit you to Team Rocket. As much as you may want to join them, the game won’t let you, however.

Capture all your favorite Gen 1 Pokemon in Let's Go Eevee and Pikachu.

Capture all your favorite Gen 1 Pokemon in Let's Go Eevee and Pikachu.

What’s Next?

Overall, Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! was an immensely enjoyable experience. It was a very fun and nostalgic experience to return to Kanto on the Nintendo Switch. Let’s Go was everything I could want in a Generation 1 remake. The changes to the traditional Pokémon format weren’t nearly as terrible as some fans thought they would be.

In addition to a main series Pokémon game on the Nintendo Switch, I am really hoping they continue with a Johto remake in the same format. I would love nothing more that to reliving the Gen 2 games, Gold and Silver, the same way. I would be extra happy if Johto was released as an add on to Let’s Go, to simply continue my journey with the same character and Pokémon. I would be content with a sequel as well, however. I want my Chikorita, Bellossom, and Espeon!

© 2018 Jennifer Wilber

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