Power Up Your Pokemon Like Never Before!
Now that we’ve had time to play Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!, we’re ready to give our reaction. The new addition to the Pokemon lineup has some issues but they are far outweighed by the good.
Nintendo boasted the idea that Pokemon: Let’s Go could be enjoyed by both older fans and those who have never played a Pokemon game, and it’s evident from the very beginning.
The thing you’ll have to get used to most is the Nintendo Switch controls. There are three ways to play the game: Handheld Mode, Joy-Con Mode and Pro Controller Mode.
Handheld Mode is the easiest to pick up and play, no pun intended. It’s nice to be able to take the game on the road just like the old days, and thankfully the Switch allows you to do so. The only problem with it is battery life and the strange motion controls when catching Pokemon. However, since Pokemon, Let’s Go adopts the catching method from Pokemon Go, the detached Joy-Con controls will give you the best accuracy when throwing your Pokeballs out of the three modes for some reason.
Most concepts remain the same such as story, gaining experience and fighting battles. The biggest change is the Pokemon catching system. Like I previously mentioned, it adopts the Pokemon Go method of throwing Pokeballs over and over again until you successfully catch one. You will no longer battle wild Pokemon in order to make your success rate easier.
Many diehard fans are turned off by this concept but I thoroughly enjoyed it. You will waste tons of Pokeballs during your journey, but you will gain many by winning battles. Yes, not only will trainers reward you with money for beating them in battle, they will also gift you a few Pokeballs on top of it.
How will your team gain experience of there are no battles? Easy! Your whole team gains experience for each Pokemon you catch. On top of that, the amount of experience gained is multiplied when you catch the same Pokemon consecutively. Try to continue the streak for more experience and to increase your chance at encountering a Shiny!
Pokemon: Let’s Go also gets rid of important HM/TM non-battle abilities such as Fly, Surf, Flash and more. They are now replaced by Special Techniques which are taught to your Pikachu or Eevee, depending on which version of the game you have. These techniques don’t take a spot in your Pokemon’s move list, which was a huge annoyance in past games, and they each have a cute animation such as Pikachu soaring into the air with balloons when using Sky Dash to fly to different cities.
I was amazed by the level of detail in the character designs. I mean, Pokemon obviously aren’t real, but you can actually see texture on their bodies in close-up camera angles during battle that just seems so realistic!
On top of the level of detail, you are able to customize your character’s appearance as well as your Pikachu’s or Eevee’s. Much like Pokemon Go, you can change hats, pants, shirts, bags and glasses. It adds a nice touch of personality to your character so when you begin online battling or trading, you aren’t just a generic person.
Aside from your Eevee or Pikachu riding on your shoulder or head, you are also allowed to have another Pokemon follow you throughout your journey. You can switch your buddy Pokemon at any time and each one looks hilarious as they are running/flying behind you. These buddies will periodically react to their surroundings and sometimes find useful items in bushes and trees. You can even unlock the ability to ride certain Pokemon to get around faster!
Talking to your Pokemon and having it travel alongside you will improve its mood and this makes a big difference during battle. Sometimes your Pokemon will grasp onto 1hp after being dealt a devastating blow, just because it wants to make you happy. It’ll even sometimes heal itself from status wounds if your friendship level is high enough. This feature makes battles more exciting and unpredictable.
Training your Pokemon is just as addicting as it has always been, but some new elements have been added to this latest generation. Like always, your Pokemon will gain experience by fighting in battle as well as being part of your team.
A new feature was brought over from Pokemon Go in the form of Candies. Just like in Pokemon Go, candies will boost your Pokemon’s overall strength. They also take the place of the Vitamins we had in older versions of the game such as Iron and Zinc.
For example, Smart Candies will boost a selected Pokemon’s Sp. Atk by 1 pt. and Tough Candies will boost their Defense by 1 pt. This results in having incredibly powerful Pokemon throughout your journey. In fact, I felt overpowered throughout the entire game. I was plowing through battles like I was dropped into the game already as a Pokemon Master.
Pokemon Candies are found by catching Pokemon who are sometimes carrying them along with various berries. You can also get Candies by transferring Pokemon in your Pokemon Box to Professor Oak, much like in Pokemon Go. However, instead of candies specific to a certain Pokemon, he will reward you with various stat-focused candies. Only sometimes will you receive Candies that are specific to a certain Pokemon, usually when you transfer a high amount of the same type to the Professor. These specific candies are the best, as they increase all the specific Pokemon’s stats at once.
If you’ve been a fan since the beginning then you are already familiar with this particular storyline. Pokemon: Let’s Go is essentially a remake of Pokemon Yellow Version.
Unlike the originals, Red and Blue, Pokemon Yellow follows a story more in line with the anime. You will encounter Team Rocket’s Jesse, James and Meowth throughout your journey as well as have access to the original starter Pokemon- Charmander, Bulbasaur and Squirtle.
Pokemon: Let’s Go does a great job at fleshing out characters by having certain Gym Leaders and members of the Elite 4 appear during the course of your journey at various points. This gives you a better idea of who they are and what they can do.
Team Rocket is still an important part of the entire game, even if the Rocket Grunts are embarrassingly easy to defeat in battle. However, Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket, is still as intimidating and difficult to deal with as ever.
Pokemon: Let’s Go offers so much that it’s hard to put the game down. After you complete your journey by collecting 8 Gym Badges, beat the Elite 4 and become the Champion, the game is not over!
Upon completion of the main story, you will unlock a couple of things. One of them is the ability to ride certain flying Pokemon and gain access to the skies above the towns, where you will encounter various flying-type Pokemon. You will also notice that suddenly Master Trainers will begin pop up all over Kanto.
These Master Trainers are incredibly tough! They are the masters of one specific Pokemon and in order to battle them, you will need to use the same exact Pokemon in order to determine who is indeed the Master Trainer of that Pokemon. You will also be prohibited from using items during these battles.
Even after coasting through the battles in the main story, I was grossly outmatched by the Pikachu Master Trainer. I was defeated after about two turns!
What We Liked Most
One of the aspects that I enjoyed most was the inclusion of Coach Trainers and Master Trainers. Throughout your journey you will encounter Coach Trainers who are much stronger than your average Pokemon Trainer. They are littered throughout Kanto and will even reward you with nice items upon beating them in battle. They were also a nice step up from the otherwise easy normal Trainer battles.
The Candy system was very useful and gives you an extra way to pinpoint areas to improve in your Pokemon’s stats. Earning candies is also a nice incentive to catching Pokemon over and over again.
Lastly, I really enjoyed the fact that even though I was familiar with the story, there were added elements that were a surprise to me. This includes the addition of Special Techniques and also the left out story elements like bikes and fishing rods.
What We Didn’t Like
Although we enjoyed Pokemon: Let’s Go very much, it wasn’t without its flaws. The berries that aid you in catching Pokemon are incredibly scarce and don’t show up too often.
Your Pokemon Box has now been moved from the computers at Pokemon Centers to your bag, which is extremely convenient. The bummer is that the organization aspect of the box is a bit confusing and hard to get used to.
Multiplayer, although a nice feature, is sort of boring. Yes, you can have a friend pick up the second Joy-Con and drop in join you to aid in battles and catching Pokemon, but it wasn’t what I expected. The co-op mode is similar to playing as Tails in Sonic the Hedgehog games where you can control him, but he can’t do anything particularly important.
Speaking of the Joy-Cons, they are extremely frustrating to utilize when not in Handheld Mode. The calibration doesn’t accurately register side-throws and the ease of Excellent Throws seems a little too easy.
Lastly, one of the funnest and most exhilarating experiences that come from playing a Pokemon game is trying to find Shiny Pokemon. I don’t know what Game Freak did, but catching Shinies is much easier and sort of takes the fun out of the encounters. Unpopular Opinion Alert!!
Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! is an extremely addicting game that will make old and new players very happy. The graphics are great and the new gameplay features are a welcome change. There is much more to do after completing the main story, which took just under 40 hrs to complete, so it’s well worth the time and money. I thoroughly enjoyed Pokemon: Let’s Go and will be working for quite some time to become the Master Trainer of my main Pokemon.
Aaron has been playing Pokemon games since the very beginning and always has to have a Pikachu on his team. Snorlax is his spirit Pokemon but in reality, he’s probably more of a Psyduck. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.