Ok, it is time to review Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. Prior to these games’ release, there was a negative reaction from some of the fan base to certain features that were announced ahead of time. While I was fairly skeptical myself, I was prepared to be cautiously optimistic, as these games were presented as a remake of Pokemon Yellow Version, which was among my favorites growing up.
So, what features were causing this kind of reaction, and was this reaction justified? Let’s take a look at these features, and at the end of the review, my score will tell you what I think of the game, and will give you an idea if there was any exaggeration or not.
The first feature that had caused the negative press from fans was the fact that the game has replaced the wild Pokemon battles with the Pokemon Go style capture system. Now, while I wasn’t too impressed with Pokemon Go at its inception, I lack a smart phone, and can’t play that game. As a result, I had no frame of reference as to how well it would work in something that resembled a main series Pokemon game.
To Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee’s credit, the Pokemon Go style system works fairly well. This worked well enough that I could see how Pokemon Go took off. You get to swing the Joy-con controller towards your TV to simulate throwing your Pokeball. Your success is based on timing and a little bit of luck. Alternately, you can play with the Switch in handheld mode and simply hit the A button to throw the Pokeball. Of note, you can adjust your aim using the gyro controls, or use the left joystick. Most of the time, the gyro controls are steady, assuming your grip is too, though I’ve had some occasions where it shifts on its own. It may even be wise to switch between your controller types based on the Pokemon you are trying to catch. I would stress trying both methods out to find your preference.
While I can see the advantages of battling wild Pokemon in the older games, they were mostly just trying out a new catch. However, catching was either a more of a chore, or alternately too simple if you knew what you were doing. The main difference is that the Let’s Go games test your reflexes and timing, while the older games test your strategy skills. Both of these types of Pokemon games do count on a luck factor. It is a little weird having to catch duplicates to get more experience points, but the game is sure to reward you with items, particularly candies that can power up your collection of Pokemon.
I would like to mention that your excess Pokemon are managed in a bag in your inventory. This is a big adjustment for me, but it can make it easier to manage and try out other Pokemon on the fly, and focus more on strategy and good team compositions. Alternately, you can cycle through which parts of your collection gain experience points, so at the very least, it can be convenient.
The other feature that fans panned before release was that the first gym required you to have a Pokemon that had a type advantage to enter. Many fans assumed that all gyms required a type advantage to enter, making the game too easy. The reality was that each gym has a different requirement to enter, some being different from the original game, others being the same. If anything, this feature was more a barrier and a (albeit simple) challenge to overcome to progress. In the end, I found it was a non-issue, just a difference.
As for challenge level, I will admit the difficulty curve was odd. Early on, there were fewer trainers to battle, with smaller party sizes and lower levels. Later on, some trainers were tougher and more plentiful. There were even some challenges that seemed tougher than what Pokemon games usually had to offer, and these weren’t major fights. Please note, I didn’t go on as many catching sprees as the game may have intended, so my Pokemon might not have been as tough as they should have. Your experience may be different based on how you play.
Now, while I rarely find the aesthetics of a game to be the most important factor of a game’s quality, I do want to mention that this game looks beautiful. On top of that the sound direction is a wonderful remix of orchestral instruments, and blends both excitement and nostalgia for long time fans. The level design is either faithfully replicated or re-imagined for the better. There aren’t many surprises here for the long time fans, but there are a few that should delight, and make the game feel fairly fresh.
Now the Let’s Go games do feature Pokemon Go connectivity. Again, I don’t have a smart phone, so I couldn’t try it out. They do allow you to transfer Pokemon captured in Pokemon Go that also appear Let’s Go, and also can trigger a mini game for more items. I did, however, get a chance to try out the online functionality. While not perfect, once you get a battle or trade, the game runs smoothly. You do have to enter a pass-code that is represented by three Pokemon to determine who you play with. Luckily, if you type in three of the same Pokemon, you usually get a random player, which is what most players want unless they choose to connect with a friend. I would recommend three different Pokemon in the pass-code to connect with a faraway friend, assuming you can communicate with them through some other means (via phone, internet, etc.) It is a little sloppy, but seems to be functional.
All in all, Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee aren’t quite the masterpiece longtime fans are looking for, but it is still a good game. It is best to approach the game with an open mind, and to try it out for yourself and form your own opinion about it.
Here’s my play recommendations:
- Pick either version: I played the Eevee version, and was amused by the starting Eevee’s relative strength for roughly half the game.
- Be prepared to catch extra Pokemon for more experience points, you might need it.
- Try both control schemes until you adjust to them, and use your preference. One controller may be easier based on the Pokemon you are hunting.
- Finish the story and try out some of the post game content. If you aren’t bored with the game, try challenging the master trainers, which can be a time-consuming endeavor.
- Try out online connectivity. If battling, start with standard rules so you don’t need to do too much prep work to stand a chance out there.
- If obsessed with online battling, you may want to explore the new candy system so you can try the unrestricted battle rules. Be warned, getting any Pokemon to full power is time-consuming.
Now for the Pro’s and Con’s:
- Stunning graphics and Music.
- A good blend of nostalgic game play and Pokemon Go features.
- Some of the game simplifications are good for newcomers.
- Some changes keep things fresh for old fans too.
- Online seems to be stable so far, though matchmaking is strange.
- Has a good amount of post game content in comparison to the original games they are based on.
- Wild Pokemon showing up in the game world is a handy change.
- Stat system is simplified, but could take a lot of time.
- The controls for catching Pokemon take some getting used to.
- Game difficulty varies based on how many Pokemon you catch (possible con).
- Game might be too familiar to veterans of the series (possible con).
- Stat system featuring candy is time-consuming, but can be ignored.
So what is the final verdict?
8.1/10 A Great and fairly fresh take on the series.
I feel that different players might get somewhat more or somewhat less out of this game. This game could be anywhere from a 7.5 to an 8.5, which is consistent with most Pokemon games to date. It is best to try it out and to decide for yourself to determine how good it actually is.
And that is what I thought of Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. What did you make of the game? Had your opinion changed after playing it? What features did you like or dislike in these games? What control scheme did you prefer? Let me know in the comments below!