Game: Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Rating: E for Everyone
Price: $59.99 for the standard edition or $99.00 for the special edition with Pokeball controller.
It is still crystal clear; the memory hasn’t faded one bit. It was my ninth birthday, on which I received a Gameboy color, a copy of Pokémon Blue, and a plushie Pikachu. At that time, I was an avid fan of the morning television show of the same name and had been hoping to get my much smaller hands on a copy of the game for months and months. While watching an episode of the famous kid’s show, my mom presented me with the aforementioned gifts. I was so excited, I couldn’t finish the cartoon before booting up my brand-new handheld console. I was astounded, it was better than I ever thought it would be and still holds a special place in my heart. Now, all these years later, I get to relive it all over again in Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee.
I am sure most people are familiar with Pokémon by now—a world inhabited by animals with special powers called Pokémon. It is the player’s job to catch, battle, and train these adorable creatures in this latest adventure, which is a remake of Pokémon Yellow, the sequel to Pokémon Blue and Red. The objective is the same as it was all those years ago: traverse the Kanto region, defeat gym leaders, earn badges, and face off against the elite four, but there is some-thing that is different—the graphics. The visuals are stunning, appearing just like they had in the late 1990’s cartoon, complete with characters from the show such as Professor Oak, and Jessie and James of Team Rocket. People who grew up with the older games and TV shows will be hit with a tidal wave of nostalgia. However, the gameplay has changed quite a bit.
To catch Pokémon in the main series you must use your captured critters to whittle away at the health of the wild monsters until they are weak enough to be cap-tured within a Pokeball. However, this is no longer the case. Now you don’t battle wild Pokémon, instead you must simply throw your Poke-balls their way. This is a much more simplistic system, replacing the monotony of the old. Initially, I presumed this would ruin the experience, yet it has actually stream-lined it. Each time you capture a new little friend, every Pokémon in your party gains experience points, which in turn levels them up, also making the game easier than ever before. Not only that, for the first time we can see Pokémon flocking in the wild in real-time instead of just running headlong into a patch of grass only for the screen to randomly turn black, initiating an encounter. As a fan of these games for so long, it is a dream come true to see these guys playing in the meadows and burrowing in caves. Some gamers may not like this new style, yet there is no arguing that it works well.
Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee is also compatible with the world-wide phenomenon known as Pokémon Go. Pokémon caught on your cell-phone can be transferred to your game and used therein, another aspect that has made the game easier to play and more user friendly.
Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee have made an already family friendly game series that much easier to pick up and play, which is by no means a bad thing. And while certain game-play aspects, like catching Pokémon, has been dramatically altered, the core gameplay remains as addicting and as fun as ever. This combined with a graphical overhaul ensures these two games place as some of the best the series has to offer. As a lifelong fan who harbors a giddy nine-year-old boy on the inside of his body, I can’t wait to see where the developers take Pokémon next.