Tuesday, February 1

Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee Review

I played on: Switch
I paid: £35 from CEX
Available on: Switch
Notes: N/A

Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee, or as I’m going to refer to it from now on, Let’s Go, is the second remake of Pokémon’s first generation. Let’s begin with a little background on this first generation. It started with Red and Green, released in 1996 only in Japan. Then the West got slightly polished versions of these games called Red and Blue in 1998. After this, the Pokémon anime blew up. Pokémon Yellow was released a year after Red and Blue and followed the same rough story but also featured characters from the Anime. Red and Blue got direct remakes on the Gameboy Advance with Fire Red and Leaf Green during 2004. Let’s Go is still a remake of the first generation but not Red and Blue, instead, it’s a remake of Pokémon Yellow.

The story here is a wonderful, nostalgic, mess. Similar to Red and Blue you start as a young child in Pallet town. Before long you meet up with either a Pikachu or Eevee that takes an instant liking to you much to Professor Oak’s surprise. Your friend and rival will take whichever titular Pokémon you didn’t. Then Oak will give you his new invention, the digital Pokédex. He sends you out into the world to attempt to capture all Pokémon found in the Kanto region. Similar to Red, Blue and Yellow you will fight all 8 Gym leaders, take on the Elite 4 and bring down Team Rocket.

The biggest change to the story from the original games are the extra characters you meet along the way. Jessie, James and Meowth from the anime make a welcome appearance. These characters are my favourite part of the anime so seeing them here is great. That being said, they don’t really live up to their anime counterparts. The lack of voice acting, and subpar writing sucks the majority of the character from this wonderful trio. Meowth doesn’t even talk for goodness’ sake! On a brighter note, you have Blue from the original games showing up to help you out along the way. His addition to the story is great! Honestly having Blue in this story feels so natural that it feels odd not having him in the older remakes.

Blue isn’t the only change to the status quo as the gameplay has had a few tweaks. The basic core is the same as always. You have a team of up to 6 Pokémon. Each one can learn up to 4 moves. You can use TM’s or HM’s to teach them new moves or just wait until they level up. Battles with trainers are still turn-based fights that rely on a Rock, Paper, Scissors system. Every Pokémon has a type, such as fire which has strengths against other types such as grass, ice, bug and steel but is weak against water, ground and rock. Learning these types is the key to getting really good at combat.

What’s changed here are the wild Pokémon encounters. You can now see Pokémon in the world. If you bump into one, then you begin a wild encounter. This makes moving around far less tedious as the action is no longer broken up with random encounters. Each encounter is either your own mistake or a conscious choice. You no longer fight these Pokémon. You now attempt to catch them in Pokéballs. Using a berry will make them easier to catch as will using more advanced Pokéballs. This system is taken wholesale from the popular mobile phone game Pokémon Go. This influence is seen throughout Let’s Go. 

The safari zone in Fuchsia city is now gone, replaced instead with the Go Park. This park lets you connect to your Pokémon Go account then import your Pokémon into the park. From there you can pet your Pokémon or even attempt to catch them bringing them fully into your Let’s Go Team. I like this idea in theory but in reality, it’s a nightmare of connection issues and error messages. The truth is, I never got it to work despite my best efforts and plenty of Googling. If you have the extra Pokéball Plus accessory, then you can move a Pokémon from your Let’s Go team into the gizmo and take it for a walk. This works well and is a fun gimmick but at the end of the day, it’s nothing more than a gimmick.

Unlike every other version of this generation, you no longer get a bicycle. This isn’t a big deal in itself, but it also means the Route 17 cycle path is missing. This is replaced with Pokémon Road, a wide-open stretch of land with plenty of trainers waiting for a battle. It just feels lacking next to the original cycle path. Then you have HM’s that are no longer used outside of combat. Instead, your Pikachu or Eevee will learn ‘Secret techniques’ that amount to pretty much the same thing. You now ride on a surfboard with Eevee or Pikachu instead of on the back of one of your water Pokémon. It’s the same gameplay effect but it makes the rest of your team feel less useful outside of combat. EXP is shared between your entire team so all 6 Pokémon level up together. I love this change. It removes the need for repetitive grinding as well as allows for more freedom when making or switching up your team.

The graphics are fully 3D unlike Red, Blue, Yellow or even Fire Red and Leaf Green. Sadly, they lack a lot of animation. For example, when using the move ‘dig’ your Pokémon won’t begin to dig itself underground with its paws, instead, it will stand completely still and descend below the ground by sheer force of will. While this works with 2D sprites it just feels lazy with 3D models. This leaves Let’s Go feeling unfinished when it comes to its presentation. Graphically a game on the Switch should have a clear advantage over one on the Gameboy Advance yet Let’s Go is ugly in comparison to Fire Red and Leaf Green. 

Ultimately while I enjoyed my time with Let’s Go, I’m not sure it’s the best way to enjoy this generation. I prefer the addition of Blue in the story but miss cycling around Kanto and exploring the Safari zones. I think some people that loved Pokémon Go might really enjoy this game. But I came into this as a remake first and foremost and on that front, it’s sadly disappointing. I’m not saying it’s bad, because it’s not. Over the 20 to 30-hour adventure, I grew attached to my Pocket Monsters. I also plan on returning to catch the legendary birds at some point. Similar to my time with Red, Yellow and Fire Red, I had a lot of fun. It’s just that there are 20 years between Red/Blue and Let’s Go and things still feel the same! Let’s Go should have been a chance to show how far the series has come but instead, it just reminds us all how stale it feels.

Recommendation Rating: 6 out of 10.

1 comment:

  1. The original Pokémon game for the Nintendo Game Boy was released about two decades ago. Must you check this concrete driveways auckland and learn more new ways about buildings material. So, if you weren't around twenty years ago and already a fan of the franchise, there's a good chance you might not be familiar with Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee. In short, as you can probably imagine by the name "Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee," it is a remake of some previous releases in the Pokémon console game series that came out for the Nintendo Game Boy and other consoles from back when I was just a little kid.