gaming Reviews

‘Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu & Let’s Go Eevee’ Review: A Stunning Remaster, and a True Nostalgia Trip

Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu! & Let’s Go Eevee! are the subjects of much controversy, a reoccurring theme for Pokemon games as of late. I understand why, and the reasoning will be discussed, but the negatives hardly detract from what is a great nostalgia trip for Pokemon veterans like me, but will also serve as a great entry point for newer Pokemon fans. Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu! & Let’s Go Eevee! are a lot of fun to play through, and bring back so many memories of Pokemon FireRed & LeafGreen, the second Pokemon game I ever played.

Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu! & Let’s Go Eevee! take place, for I think the fourth time in the main Pokemon franchise, in the Kanto region, the very first Pokemon region, which first appeared in Pokemon Red, Blue (in Japan), Green (in North America), & Yellow. This game is most based on Pokemon Yellow, the special edition of Red & Blue where you would get Pikachu as a starter Pokemon. Let’s Go Pikachu! & Let’s Go Eevee! do the same thing, but add Eevee as an option as well.

The Kanto region is meticulously reimagined in a 3D space which may look simple, but that’s only because the Kanto region is so perfectly recreated, bit by bit, and being the first Pokemon region and a release on the Gameboy, it’s certainly not a visually striking region, and no effort is made to turn it into anything more than simply the Kanto region in a limited 3D space. This is not a problem, however, as its simplicity is what gives Kanto so much of its charm and what triggers so many nostalgic memories of me playing FireRed & LeafGreen as a child.

The biggest subject of controversy in this game is the new catching mechanic. Instead of the usual Pokemon battle in every other main series game, you catch Pokemon in this game exactly how you would in Pokemon Go. The criticism is warranted, but I do think that it makes it much more accessible for novices of the series, which was perfect back before Sword & Shield were released. That said, I got into the series partaking in regular Pokemon battles and I had no issue with it, but I digress. It’s different, I’ll say that. Awful? Well, I wouldn’t say awful. It’s fun, especially when playing with someone else. But I still prefer the traditional catching method for Pokemon. It was a nice novelty, though.

Graphically, the game is a great warm-up for what was to come with Sword & Shield. A very simple region recreated square-for-square in HD on the Switch is nice to see. And the added cutscenes definitely add to the experience. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this game was made with a speedier development cycle and on a lower budget. It’s not the big, jaw-dropping, next generation of Pokemon, it’s simply a warm-up to it. And that’s fine, because the game is still a full-fledged Pokemon game and, thus, very fun to play nonetheless.

The music in this game is incredible. Pokemon games always nail the music, and Let’s Go is no exception. Classic tunes from the Kanto games have been beautifully remastered with an orchestra. The music perfectly complements the game and really adds to the experience. I haven’t heard Kanto so wonderfully composed since when I would watch the anime as a kid, so it was an absolute joy to hear such stunning compositions of familiar, nostalgic tunes.

There are also a lot of gameplay improvements that have been introduced in this game. For one thing, you can now access your Pokemon boxes from anywhere, which is very helpful. HMs are also now a thing of the past and have changed into special abilities which do the same things as the HMs without taking up a move slot. There is also an automatic Exp. Share which eliminates the need to grind to level up your Pokemon. I never liked grinding in Pokemon games and RPGs in general, so to me this is a welcome addition.

In terms of value for the game, the regular Switch game price is asking a bit much. If you’re not anxiously waiting to play these games, I’d recommend holding out and waiting for a sale. Personally, I used one of my Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers so I, thankfully, did not need to pay full price for it. The game is simply not expansive enough to warrant the price tag. It’s literally just Kanto in HD. There is no addition of the Johto region and only the Kanto region Pokemon can be caught. That said, things like shiny hunting, breeding, all those fun Pokemon mechanics are back to eat up hours of your life. So while you can easily pour well over 50 hours into this game, I’d still argue that the scope is too small to pay full price. In conclusion, wait for a sale.

The game also has a lot of connectivity features, including the basic trading and battling with others through online functionality and local multiplayer with others who have a copy of the game (unless you’re playing in couch co-op), but there is also some functionality with Pokemon Go which, if you’re reading his review, I’m certain is an app you’ve heard of. With this connectivity, in the form of the Go Park Complex, you can transfer any Kanto region Pokemon into the Let’s Go games, where they will frolic and play around. If you want to explore Kanto with these Pokemon, you will need to catch them again. It’s a cool feature, but is not built to be a seamless transfer process like Pokemon Home (which comes out in early 2020) will be. It’s more of a fun little feature. You can also transfer a new Pokemon into the game from Pokemon Go. Meltan and its evolutionary forms are completely new and look really cool as well.

Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu! & Let’s Go Eevee! are fun for players of all ages and a trip down memory lane for more seasoned Pokemon players. It doesn’t do much to expand upon Kanto, instead simply giving it a fresh coat of paint, but I don’t find too much issue in that, since it is still loads of fun, looks great and has a beautiful soundtrack to tie it all together.

Score: 8.5 out of 10

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