Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee & Let’s Go, Pikachu Review – Written by Jose Vega
Purchased product for review.
After 20 years of being the flagship of Nintendo’s many handhelds, Game Freak brings the Pokémon franchise onto Nintendo’s most popular console, the Switch. They announced that the newest generation of the series will come in 2019 but for 2018, it would be a return to Kanto, where everything began but with a twist. The twist is that players would relive the experience of Generation I in the form of two games: Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee & Let’s Go, Pikachu. With a return trip to a familiar place, do these two games hold players off until the inevitable Generation 8?
The game’s story is as easy and straightforward as you’d expect. You play as either a Boy or Girl and afterwards, you start your journey as a Pokémon Trainer. Unlike previous games, you either start with an Eevee or a Pikachu, depending on the version played. With partner Pokémon by your side, you travel through Kanto catching Pokémon, battling Gym Leaders and collecting their badges and stopping a criminal organization from using Pokémon to take over the world. It’s the story in a nutshell. Pretty simple at best with some liberties being changed around such as having a new rival and characters we know having supporting roles.
Gameplay in this game is similar to previous entries in the franchise, with a twist. Most of it is the same where you travel to areas and catch Pokémon, raise them to get stronger and use them to take on trainers and gym leaders in hopes of becoming Pokémon League Champion. Game Freak however decided to simplify the grinding aspect of the games. They incorporate mechanics from Pokémon Go, a mobile game with a devoted fan base. You don’t encounter Pokémon randomly in the wild. Instead they appear and running into one triggers a capture section. Using either a JoyCon or a Poke Ball Plus, you use it to capture Pokémon. Succeeding it will net rewards like experience points. They’re used to level up all your Pokémon, not just one. It’s as if the Exp. Share has been replaced with this method. Honestly it’s a better alternative as it makes the grinding less of a hassle. In addition any Pokémon you catch is placed in a capture case and you can you’re your party out at anytime with a few button presses. It’s better than Bill’s PC in previous iterations and plus you can be able to catch all 3 Kanto starters too. Also you can’t weaken the Pokémon before capturing them. You have to capture them and be lucky if it succeeds or not. There are exceptions. Legendary Pokémon is where you have to battle them first before capturing them. Plus you are on a 5-minute time limit too. Fortunately you can be able to stock plenty of Poke Balls since they made them cheaper.
The rest of the game is the same where you do battle trainers, explore areas, find items, etc. but some things have changed. One of them is the Secret Techniques. They replace HMs and allow your partner Pokémon Eevee or Pikachu to learn them and they don’t take up a move slot either. They both can also access special moves offering them some versatility. Another change being the Go Park, replacing the Safari Zone. Go Park allows players to transfer Pokémon they caught in the Pokémon Go Mobile game into this game where you can catch them to fill up the Pokedex. However only Pokémon that existed in Generation 1 are allowed with the exception of Meltan and it’s evolved form Melmetal. Other additions include mega stones, double battles, new trainers and various tweaks that make the battles like they were when the series began. The trainer and their partner can be customized as well with various outfits, giving them a cosmetic feel. It’s a plus and it’s more of a plus to see your partner looking spiffy as you are. The game isn’t a long one, taking roughly 20-25 hours to complete and 10 hours more if they want to catch all the Pokémon and complete everything. There’s post-game content in the form of the Master Trainers, legendaries like the three birds of Kanto and Mewtwo and rematches with the gym leaders. And like every other Pokémon game, you can also trade and battle with players online. So for anyone that wants to challenge others or trade with people to complete the Pokedex, there you go.
Now I wish to say that the presentation is pretty good. The game is great to look at. It only runs at 30fps and personally it’s for the best. The character models look good whether it be the trainers or even the Pokémon. Music is nostalgic. It’s as if Game Freak took the original Generation I and gave it a needed facelift. It’s pretty good. Not only that but the game has co-op. You and a friend can work together to catch Pokémon, battle trainers, etc. It offers a new experience to the game and a step in the right direction. All of this is just a taste of what Generation 8 will be like when it does come.
But although I praise the game for its positives, there are some issues. The difficulty is one of them and yes, this is done because they want to make the game accessible to newcomers who never played a Pokémon Game. There is some enjoyment for those that played the originals but it’s a different sort of game. Not that there’s anything wrong with it as it can be challenging if you wish it to be. This game does provide players the opportunity to play the game however they want. Another issue, and it’s one that has divided everyone is the capture sections. Incorporating mechanics from Pokémon Go does make it easier to catch Pokémon, however some people are worried that this would be in Generation 8 and that the series would go downhill. The good news is that Game Freak has said that Gen 8 will be as it should be. Being that Let’s Go Eevee/Pikachu is a spin-off and not main game shows. One last issue is the Poke Ball Plus. Players who purchase it get access to the legendary Pokémon, Mew. But if the save file that has Mew is lost, then you are screwed. Though the Poke Ball Plus is a nice little add-on that doubles as both as a controller and something to hold Pokémon inside. There’s that.
Let’s Go Eevee/Pikachu is an interesting pair. Taking players back to where the series began while offering something different is a nice touch. It may not be as hard as other games but it gives new players a chance to experience what old-school players have played many years ago. The game has a lot to do and it will get you busy until the inevitable Generation 8. The games are really fun to play though. Let’s only hope that Nintendo and Game Freak can make good in providing something that hopefully serves as a jump from handheld to console. Let’s pray they don’t disappoint.
I give Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee & Let’s Go Pikachu an 8.5 out of 10.