Name: Pokémon Let’s Go [Eevee / Pikachu]
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo / The Pokémon Company
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Acquired: A self-bought copy of this game
Is there really anyone who has NOT heard of Pokémon? Probably, but no gamer I’ve ever met. Pokémon Let’s Go is the first installment of a Pokémon game on the Nintendo Switch, and it differs slightly from previous games released, and I have tried it out. A lot.
The story in Pokémon Let’s Go is probably the best known of them all, with a slight twist. Once again you are back in Kanto, the area it all started more than 20 years ago. That’s right, we are back in Generation 1, the “original” bunch of Pokémon and let me tell you, it has never looked better.
You wake up and meet Professor Oak, to receive your very first Pokémon. This time though, you don’t REALLY get to choose the Pokémon, as it has already chosen you. Depending on what version of the game you have purchased, your very own Eevee or Pikachu will join your adventure and never leave your side.
During your adventure to become the greatest Pokémon Trainer of all time, you will encounter Team Rocket, countless other trainers and some memorable characters.
If you ever played Pokémon Red / Blue / Yellow, then you probably know the whole plot and Let’s Go follows the storyline of Pokémon Yellow, with a few modifications here and there.
Pokémon has never looked better than this. The graphics really utilize the power of the Nintendo Switch, while staying true to the feel of Pokémon. Everything from the areas you travel through, to the models of the Pokémon and special effects of the battles look really great, both in docked and handheld mode. It is charming, it is lovely, it is colorful and atmospheric. It is just absolutely freaking great and everything I have ever wanted or expected from a Pokémon game.
Even with this greatly upscaled version of Pokémon, everything runs as smooth as butter a hot summer day and feels authentic and fresh.
Now, this is where the biggest changes from the previous Pokémon games really show, and I will do my best to explain and expand on my personal views here.
The basic of Pokémon has not changed at all. Gotta catch ‘em all! You still have to catch Pokémon and get them to level up to evolve and get stronger and so on and so forth. Now, the biggest difference here is HOW you actually do this. In previous titles, you had to fight the Pokémon and lower it’s HP sufficiently that you could use pokeballs on it and catch it. Now, this is quite different.
In THIS game, they have decided to implement a motion-controlled catching system that is very similar to the system you encounter by playing Pokémon Go, the immensely popular mobile game launched a few years back. There is a circle around the Pokémon that slowly shrinks and the smaller the circle gets, the greater the chance is supposed to be to catch it – if you manage to throw the ball inside the circle. Now, before actually playing the game I thought this was a really bad move, as it took away a lot of the original joy of battling Pokémon. After playing 40+++ hours though, I must say I quite like the idea.
I will talk about the actual controls later, but the fact that the catch rate is radically different to what it used to be, bothers me quite a lot. I have NEVER used 10 pokeballs to catch a freaking Weedle in previous games (yes, I went back to yellow to check and never spent more than three pokeballs – even when the Pokémon was at 100% HP) Good thing you now get pokeballs in addition to money as a reward for beating most trainers, or this would have been even more annoying.
Another new thing is that Pokémon is now visible around you, so you can hunt down the ones you want and avoid the ones you do NOT want a lot easier. I quite like this to be honest, and it also gives you a better perspective on where the different Pokémon live and act. Let me tell you, Onix is HUGE!
Another big feature that has been implemented is the direct bond between Pokémon Let’s Go and Pokémon Go. I knew beforehand that you would be able to transfer Pokémon from Pokémon Go to the Switch, but there seem to be even more to it. Meltan. A generation 8 Pokémon that seem to be more or less dependent on using both Pokémon Let’s Go and Pokémon Go. Additional perks come if you own the Pokeball plus controller, but that’s another story.
They have removed some of the features that have been loved in the latest titles though, and that is such a shame. The Global Trade System is no longer here, making trading much harder than before, forcing you to actually know people (socializing… ugh…) That being said, this specific feature was not available in Pokémon Yellow, the game they based this game on, so I guess… I’ll have to accept it without deducting points.
Speaking of socializing and so on, the “two players” feature was a HUGE letdown. Yes, another person can join in and tag along and throw some balls and so on, but they are not really doing anything much. They can’t engage in battles, they can’t choose their own Pokémon setup, they are forced to follow you around like a small sibling on a leash.
I have to be fair and let you all know that Pokémon Let’s Go was the first title I ever played on Nintendo Switch, and yes… I did buy a Switch just to play this title. I know, I’m such a geek… ANYHOW! There are some major issues with the controls. I will NOT base any scores here on the Pokeball Plus since that is an optional accessory I know not everyone will have (but let me tell you, the game is MUCH better with one)
The Joy-Con is quite temperamental in Pokémon Let’s Go, and balls go all over the place at times, even when I know I was aiming perfectly at the TV. It does not help at all that some Pokémon find it extremely satisfying to jump around on the screen and refuse to stand still unless I drug them down with berries.
When using the handheld mode, you don’t actually throw anything, instead, you move the entire Switch to aim and this is a LOT easier, but ultimately does not feel as satisfying as actually throwing the ball “yourself”.
Another big setback is the lack of buttons, as you only use one of the Joy-Cons while playing. The result of this is a lack of shortcuts and a lot more menu-navigation than strictly necessary. It’s not a HUGE deal,
Replay Value has always been the strongest point of any Pokémon game and Pokémon Let’s Go is no different on this aspect. Have you ever played through a Pokémon game just once? Me neither. And this game is no exception. Even when finishing the game, there is always better Pokémon to catch, Pokémon to train, and in this game, they introduced Pokémon Masters.
Every single Pokémon in the game has a master trainer somewhere that you can battle – only using that one specific Pokémon. Trust me, if you want to beat them all this will make you spend countless hours in the game and I wish you the very best of luck.
Replay Value 10
While thinking that Pokémon Let’s Go would be quite average and basically just a “filler” while waiting for the next Pokémon game, I must admit that I really ended up liking, no loving, it much more than I ever expected I would. Sure, it has some quirks here and there and some of the motion controls could need some patching, this is a Pokémon title that people should not miss out.
User Review( votes)
- Beautiful graphics
- Authentic Pokémon feeling
- SO many hours of joy
- Slightly annoying controllers while docked
- Pokeball plus is quite expensive