Rarely do I find myself intrigued and surprised by games that I consider to be aimed towards a more casual gaming audience. Initially I wasn’t even planning to buy this entry in the Pokemon series however I did end up getting it and I am so glad I did. Pokemon Let’s Go (I got the Eevee edition) is most certainly a casual game but it may very well be the best entry in the series for people who haven’t played a Pokemon game to start on.
The story is a more or less complete remake of the original Pokemon Yellow with a few changes made to make the game more accessible and cohesive. If you haven’t (somehow) played a Pokemon game before then essentially you are travelling around the world with monsters known as Pokemon. You must capture them and battle against other trainers in order to become the very best in the world by defeating the gym leaders of the region and toppling the champion. There are several differences in this remake that make travelling around and figuring out where to go much easier such as important characters hinting to you specifically that you should travel to a certain city to advance the plot. This is very much a by the numbers Pokemon game when it comes to the story and while Kanto does indeed look wonderful being transported to full 3D if you’re looking for a more involved story such as the likes of Pokemon Black/White then you will be dissapointed.
The presentation however is absolutely gorgeous. While many of the Pokemon models are versions shared from the previous entry in the series (Pokemon Sun/Moon) and some are also shared with their appearances in the mobile game Pokemon Go seeing them on the switch makes them look amazing. The world is incredibly bright and colourful with a huge emphasis on the cartoon-like aesthetic that Pokemon suits greatly. The music too is remixes of the original Pokemon game’s soundtrack and everything sounds just as great as it did then. It is a shame that there are no real new pieces of music so if you have heard the original games then you have heard all the tracks here however as a fan of Pokemon Red/Blue I could hum along to every new piece of music I heard remixed and it all sounded amazing to me. I do find it strange that the new partner Pokemon you start with in the game is so widely voiced (chirping, making noises by saying it’s name, expressing emotions etc) and yet the rest of the Pokemon still just have their original cry for when they battle or interact with you. I am impressed with the extreme amounts of expression that they give to your partner but I simply wished that they extended this to the rest of the cast.
The gameplay is where a lot of this game is mixed for some people. This is most certainly a simplified and easier Pokemon game than the rest of the series with your entire team getting experience all of the time and being able to increase their stats far beyond what they could in the normal games with new candy items. They also removed wild Pokemon battles (except in certain cases) which I am not a fan of as part of the original charm of the games was the struggle to weaken and catch a Pokemon. What this game leads to then is mass catching of Pokemon in the world to fill up your pokedex and gain experience which I am not a fan of. However there are also new elements into the game that I would actually love to see carried on to the rest of the series. While the battle system is exactly the same that the series is known for catching Pokemon in this game takes the system from Pokemon Go where it’s more about skill-based throwing and timing. It’s not perfect and the motion controls are certainly quite troublesome at times however I still found enjoyment from using it. When encountering wild Pokemon this time instead of simply being randomly ambushed while walking in grass or caves they instead actually physically appear in the world while you are walking around. This allows you to see the Pokemon that you might actually be looking for and you can pick your battles rather than being thrown into you. This is a system that I hope they continue in the series as I really enjoyed being able to find specific Pokemon and not feel stressed every time I travel through a random cave. Another feature I really enjoyed was being able to access my Pokemon PC Box at any time via an item in my inventory. Not only did it thematically make sense (like having a smartphone in your pocket) but also it helped out immensely with checking out brand new Pokemon I captured, swapping them in and out of my party and even just using certain Pokemon depending on the area I was travelling in.
The other main feature this game has is co-op which I did for the entirety of this game alongside my girlfriend. She is not a gamer so this was a perfect entry into the series for her. While it did make the game very easy as every battle was done as a two on one I was able to help her understand the mechanics of the game easily and she very much enjoyed the capturing mechanics alongside me. I hope they keep this type of system for future games as this was very clearly designed for children and their parents as the second players can drop in and out at any time and can help immensely when at a difficult part of the game. All of these features make for a much easier game but several features just help to make them more streamlined than previous entries which I am very pleased about.
Overall I enjoyed my time with this game. It never really challenged me or truly tested my skills as a Pokemon trainer however it was clear from the get go that this wasn’t made for people of my skill level. it’s an easy, cute and fun romp back through familiar territory which was made for younger and less adept gamers however I could still enjoy it for what it was. If you have children or are wanting to figure out what all this Pokemon business is about then I highly recommend this game to you. However even if you’re a veteran of the series there is still a lot to be enjoyed here. Now if you don’t mind I need to go find a shiny magikarp.