A revolutionary game at the heart of the 1990s is drawn into the present with Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee.
This redesigned adventure provides veteran gamers with nostalgic memories while welcoming the next generation of trainers into the Pokémon world.
Game Freak has harnessed the success of Pokémon Go and blended it neatly into their remake of Pokémon’s opening universe, the Kanto region. The remakes of the 20-year-old originals use the Nintendo Switch to showcase beautiful graphics and immersive character animations. A fitting replacement for the black and white pixels of the 1990s.
Pokémon Let’s Go is likely to be the first experience of the franchise for some. With redesigned in-game systems for catching and battling, fun and accessibility are at the forefront of the player experience, while at the cost of oversimplification.
Catching Them All
Catching all 151 original species of Pokémon has always been on the bucket list of every gamer. The shift to a Pokémon Go style catching system works successfully for the Let’s Go series, honouring the game’s objective to provide an easily accessible play-style for newcomers.
Instead of aimlessly running around patches of empty grass, you can see your favourite Pokémon wandering around in real-time. This offers a fresh sense of freedom, allowing you to prioritise and engage with the creatures you actually want to catch.
The catching system is a brilliant way of earning experience points for your team as opposed to battling. Players are rewarded for continuously catching Pokémon of the same species, quickly levelling-up your team to continue your adventure through Kanto.
While more seasoned players can find the simplified catching system very repetitive, the mission statement behind the Pokémon: Let’s Go series is unique to the originals.
These remakes prioritise fun – creating an immersive experience for curious youngsters and presenting a nostalgic childhood tribute to adults.
Becoming The Very Best
Of course, for every Pokémon collector there are those who train to become the best in a Pokémon battle.
The region is littered with trainers to triumph over and the addition of ‘coach trainers’ are a useful way of making sure your Pokémon are ready to face new challenges.
Character design and animations play a subtle, yet integral part in making the virtual world feel alive – from the blissful bird-keepers to the bug-catching youngsters.
However, in certain areas such as caves, the plethora of battle-ready trainers can be frustrating and perhaps overwhelming to younger players.
When you are progressing through an area, being repeatedly stopped by various characters can leave you wanting to avoid battling entirely for that period.
The traditional Gym Leaders and Pokémon League system of progression has carried over brilliantly from past titles. Improvements of hardware and design create a great sense of importance around these areas and the key characters within.
Walking with Old Friends
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee has you sharing your adventure with some familiar faces, both old and new.
Being able to travel alongside your favourite Pokémon along with their own unique character animations present a new layer of customisation to your game. Coupling this with a new organisational system for Pokémon and items, travelling the region is easier than ever before.
Switching to a two-player experience is seamless. When your console is connected to the television, activating a second controller drops in a second player without hesitation. However, when going solo, playing handheld is by far the best way to go.
When ‘docked’ (playing on the TV), the player experience suffers – simple tasks like catching Pokémon and navigating the world feel far less comfortable. The traditional handheld style is much more supportive of in-game features such as motion controls, with the added bonus of portability.
A New Adventure
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu or Eevee presents a fresh and heart-warming return to the Kanto region. It’s new-player philosophy, mechanics and colourful designs reach out to a new generation of gamers while delighting its dedicated veterans.
While issues around simplified systems, trainer encounters and TV playability can impact your experience, the addictive nature of the game’s new features and fun factor are the backbone of its success.