Have to hand it to Nintendo, nobody capitalizes on nostalgia better than them. This year they’re pulling out all the stops with Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee, a re-imagining of Pokemon Yellow, one of the first generation Pokemon games. Using the classic formula and slightly tweaking it with aspects of the immensely popular Pokemon GO, Let’s Go a very different experience compared to its predecessors.
When the Nintendo Switch was revealed I was ecstatic since we would finally be getting a console level Pokemon title after so long. Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness and Pokemon Colosseum were my jam back in the day and I couldn’t wait for the next Pokemon generation to come to a proper console. Things didn’t go as planned as developers Game Freak explained earlier this year that Generation 8 would come out in 2019 and for 2018 we would be getting Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee. First impressions of the games weren’t good as the hardcore Pokemon fans were expecting something different. The game looked like a dumbed down version of the Generation 1 games, but boy were we wrong.
Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee are modern remakes of Pokemon Yellow with certain aspects inspired by Pokemon GO, the game feels familiar but surprises you here and then. The setting of the game is as expected, Kanto, with the player starting off in Pallet Town. The game starts off with Professor Oak asking you what you look like, which is different from previous games where the professor asks you if you’re a boy or a girl, a nice touch really. After that, we set out to get our first Pokemon, which depending on the version of the game you bought is either Pikachu or Eevee. I have to admit, both of them serve as perfect mascots for the Let’s Go games, and since they can’t evolve throughout the game, you can easily get attached to your little friend.
Your relationship with your Pokemon is really important here, Nintendo went all Nintendogs with this game and baked that into the game. A well cared for Pokemon will get bonuses in battle like avoiding status effects, which is incredibly satisfying when your smug Pokemon heals itself in the heat of battle. So caring and playing for your Pokemon is really important, especially your starter, who you can dress up and stylize to your heart’s content.
Artistically Let’s Go is a great evolution over the last few 3DS games and looks absolutely gorgeous in docked mode. Luckily unlike some other games, Let’s Go performs really well in portable mode as well, which I’m sure most of us will be playing the game in. The game performs well too and is really well optimized, there wasn’t a single instance when the game would drop frames in my experience. The game looks really clean and polished and was a great improved over the jagged character models from previous games, the game clearly takes advantages of the Switch’s extra power compared to the 3DS. The musical score in the game is once again excellent, with Junichi Masuda returning as a composer in addition to directing the game.
In terms of gameplay the biggest change in Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee is battling random wild Pokemon. Game Freak changes the system so much you can’t even call it random or battles anymore. Pokemon now appear in the overworld, popping out of water or grass, bumping into them now starts the encounter. In Let’s Go you catch Pokemon just like how you do it in Pokemon GO, by throwing Poke Balls by timing them as the circle surrounding the Pokemon gets smaller. You can also calm Pokemon down with berries to make them easier to catch. Unlike other mainline games, Let’s Go encourages you to catch as many Pokemon as you can, giving you Exp bonuses for each catch as well as multipliers if catch multiple of the same species in a row. The system is really rewarding and depending on your playstyle you could easily level up your party without participating in battles, but instead just choosing to catch hundreds of Pokemon. You can send your caught Pokemon to the professor, extra Pokemon sent will get you rewards likes candies which increase your Pokemon’s stats. Honestly, I’m not the biggest Pokemon Go fan, but in Let’s Go the catching mechanic is actually fun and totally won me over. You can also use a Poke Ball Plus controller to play the game, but I wouldn’t recommend it as it’s not the most comfortable way to play the game
Everything else is mostly the same, you go around battling other trainers, winning Gym badges and fighting the Elite 4. Don’t expect much of a challenge though, this is not Black and White 2, oh how I miss that game. Maybe Generation 8 can fulfill my want for more challenging trainers, please Game Freak?
Remaking Pokemon Yellow was a great decision on Nintendo’s part since the proper mainline title wasn’t ready for this year, however, the game feels relatively safe. The game is definitely fun but it’ll be just one of the games I played this year, nothing memorable. The game does feature some great quality of life changes like would Game Freak should definitely consider for next year’s game. Pokemon fans will not be disappointed with Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee and should also prove to be a good starting point for players wanting to get into the series.
Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee Review
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! are role-playing video games developed by Game Freak and published by The Pokémon Company and Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch.
Final Score - 8/108/10
Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu & Eevee is the perfect nostalgia fix for the veteran Pokemon fan and an excellent gateway for players wanting to get into the series.