A delightfully fun title that combines both old and new to create an experience that everyone can truly enjoy.
Developer:Game Freak/Pokemon Company
Release Date: November 16, 2018
Genre: Adventure, RPG
Players: Single Player, Multiplayer [Local/Online]
Official Website: http://pokemonletsgo.pokemon.com/en-us/
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! - Overview Trailer - Nintendo Switch
Who it Caters to
Ahh, the 90’s. An era where flashy colors were the trend and fanny packs were considered cool fashionable accessories to flaunt in front of your friends at school. It was also the time when Nintendo was on a hot streak, releasing a plethora of incredible titles and hardware that even today still leave an impressionable mark on the industry as a whole (and our hearts too). Little did we know that one of their internal second party teams would go on to create arguably one of the world’s biggest and most successful franchises of all time: Pokémon.
1996 was the year when Pokémon Red and Blue made its way to western shores and since its inception, has managed to capture the hearts of many and is now a staple household name for not only those who grew up in that wondrous era, but now the children of those very same gamers of the 90’s. Fast forward to today and we have Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!, games that combines both old and new to create an experience that everyone can truly enjoy. Whether you’re a devoted Gen 1 enthusiast, a Pokémon GO freak, or simply just someone looking for a brand new experience on the Switch, Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee!/Pikachu! is the quintessential Pokémon title that you can cherish for hours on end.
What to Expect
For the sake of this review, we’ll be referring to the game as Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! since that was the title we received from Nintendo. From the get-go, the game looks and feels like its more modern brethren from the 3DS such as Ultra Sun and Moon, with added mechanics from the popular Pokémon GO! title but focusing primarily on the Gen 1 pokémon rather than the next-gen that most people were anticipating. While this might seem like a bummer to many, this in fact is a smart move by Nintendo and Game Freak for a variety of reasons. For starters, many of the fans who are now in their early-to-mid 30’s are the ones who literally grew up with the Pokémon franchise, and so their familiarity with the older generation of pokémon is more apparent than anything. Another reason is that Pokémon GO! is a title that’s currently making waves all across the world with a brand new audience, and so you have two generations coming together as one to create a truly unique, yet satisfying experience. So, what are you to expect in this culmination of old-school and new-school mechanics?
The Nintendo Switch takes advantage of its motion controls, and so players who opt to use their Joy-Cons can truly experience the game at its finest, being able to “throw” a pokéball (much like you would in Pokémon GO!) to catch pokémon. Those who invested a little extra in the Pokémon Plus pokéball can take their experience even further, since now you can use the pokéball-shaped controller to not only move around your characters in-game, but really feel like handling a pokéball too. And let’s not forget that it includes a free Mew! You can also use it to transfer pokémon from your Pokémon GO! app and take some of your already caught pokémon into the game for trading and gift receiving!
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! takes place in the classic Kanto region where it all began, and so old-school players will get to relive their childhood memories while the newer generation will get a much more updated look at the region, with all of the adorable pokémon waiting for you in the wild! This version of the game is the revamped version of the classic Pokémon Yellow which came out in 1998, where your companion Pikachu would accompany you outside of its pokéball, and in this brand new titles both Eevee and Pikachu continue that trend. Now that you know what to expect, let’s hop into more of the gameplay.
As we mentioned previously, Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! is a revamped version of Pokémon Yellow, with its visuals vastly improved to suit the modern audience. The Nintendo Switch really helps to bring the game to life in a remarkable way, more so than those classic Game Boy days when much of the animations were quite rigid and of course, in black and white. All of the wonderful colors that made the 3DS titles shine brightly were implemented into Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! beautifully, giving players who’ve played the current generation of titles a welcoming feeling. The game also takes visual cues from Pokémon GO! during battles, especially when you’re trying to catch a pokémon and the circle pulsates around them for you to time your throw. The whole game in general is just a beautiful redesign of the classic Kanto region which stands out incredibly well, and looks pleasing to the eye in every possible way. From the swift and fluid animations during battles to the overall UI overhaul, Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! looks and feels the way it should, and doesn’t disappoint in this area.
Our hearts were racing once the game kicked off in Pallet Town, the good old stomping grounds from the classic Pokémon titles, since that’s where our memories resided in. Hearing the classic melody as you trot around the area in search for starting pokémon (which gave us goosebumps), along with the iconic battle melody that you hear when encountering a pokémon in the wild, is something unforgettable. We like how the game strikes a nice balance between using the classic melodies alongside the more familiar tunes that most current-gen players will notice, which only adds a lot more lasting appeal to the overall gameplay. All of the pokémon retain their patented squeals and yelps too, which only adds to the authenticity and richness of the experience, with Eevee and Pikachu receiving a little extra care since you know, it’s their game and all.
Here’s the major selling point of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! and where we find ourselves at crossroads with it; for the most part, while the game is an incredibly exciting and fun title which pays homage to the classics, the game feels more like an entry-level title than anything. Now believe us when we say this in that the experience overall was very satisfying and is a must-have for nostalgia freaks, or for those who are looking to transition from Pokemon GO! to a more traditional title. However, what sadly plagues the game is its difficulty, or rather lack thereof. We’ll get to that in a moment but for now, we’d like to shed some light on the more positive aspects of the game, giving you a more concrete look at everything in this delightful package. Much like in Pokémon Yellow, depending on the version you purchased your starting pokémon will follow you around outside of its pokéball. Another positive is that other pokémon you catch can also follow you around, and you can even ride them too depending on the pokémon size. That’s a new experience for those old-school junkies who never had a chance to experience riding around on your very own Charizard around town, pretty much leaving the classic bicycle behind.
Catching pokémon in the wild has never been so much fun, especially now that you have motion controls which only add to the realism and immersion of the experience. You can actually feel like a real pokémon trainer running around in the wild catching your favorite pokémon, and training them up for gym battles. Unlike in the classic titles, where you had to choose a starter pokémon, the new games throw all of that out of the window as you can now catch your favorite starter pokémon in the wild! Now you can have a starting team consisting of Pikachu (or Eevee), Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander, which is unheard of but is now all possible! Gone are the days of having to guess which starter pokémon you’ll get, which makes getting through the starting gyms a lot easier... maybe too easy.
This is where we’re going to shed some light on perhaps the crux of the title, and why it may be a turn off for some coming into the game. Now of course, if you’re a newcomer to Pokémon and want to develop a strong bond with the brand then sure, the simplicity of the game is sure to win you over. Veterans of the franchise, however, may find the ease of gameplay to be a little disheartening as leveling up your pokémon is so much easier, since catching pokémon alone levels you up significantly, and items that you’d typically find later in the game to buff your team are just given to you in the earlier areas of the game. This makes running through the game less of a grind and more of just you running around trying to catch as many pokémon as possible, to quickly level up your team to dispose of any gym leader that stands in your way. Speaking of gym battles, and the point we brought up earlier about starter pokémon being available to catch in the wild, the first half of the game is a cakewalk since you pretty much have the dream team right off the bat, giving you an immediate advantage.
One of the shining factors that made the original Pokémon titles so enriching to play was their grind factor, throwing you into the trenches of the wild to level up the pokémon you had, and use whatever was in your disposal to take down the gym leaders. All of that seemingly has been thrown out the window to cater more to the newer audience, which alienates the veterans in some ways. You’re stuck on the cusp of it all, and while the post-game is jam-packed full of fun activities, such as searching for shiny types or duking it out with other trainers online, the single player campaign seems to just breeze by before you know it without some significant feeling of accomplishment.
If you still find the game a little challenging, or if you want to play with a friend, you can use a second trainer to play with you and help you in battles! This is great for old Pokémon fans now playing with their children, maybe teaching them the basics or helping them with the advantages system. If you hate random encounters then you’ll love the new games, since now you can actually see where the pokémon are, either avoiding them or going straight to them in order to grind some levels.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Be that as it may, we still had a lot of fun playing Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! because well, we’re still Pokémon fans at heart, and you truly can’t go wrong with a brand new Pokémon title. The game took us about close to 15 hours to complete without losing any gym battles, and disposing of the Elite Four without much fuss. You could most likely finish it even faster if you just skip all dialogue and avoid all the extra knick knacks that lie around, but that’s entirely your prerogative. Now of course there were some moments where the game tested us, but not to the point where we felt like it could spell the end for us. It was more of “Oh damn, we almost lost there Eevee, but not to worry, here are some extremely powerful buffs you can use and never lose!”
All jokes aside, Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! is a must have for anyone looking to rediscover their childhood memories, or simply to just experience something entirely new from a lasting franchise that continues to evolve in its gameplay department. Whether you’re a hardcore fan or just a simple casual, this game will serve its purpose no matter how long it takes you in the end. What’s important is the fun factor and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! certainly delivers in that area tenfold. Now that we know what the Switch is capable of, we’re looking forward to the classic RPG Pokémon coming next year!
It’s a new Pokémon game, come on!
It caters to both the old-school and new-school Pokémon fans.
Animations are fluid, while the overall soundtrack melts your heart with its nostalgic presence.
The game felt way too easy and didn’t really provide any significant challenges, since everything felt spoonfed to you.
The motion controls at times felt a little stiff, and so throwing your pokéball accurately was a little troublesome.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We hope that you found our full review of Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! to be a worthwhile read, and that you take the opportunity to leave your thoughts below! Let us know what you think of the game now that it’s out, and share some of your finer moments. Be sure to hit us up on Twitch when we go live with the titles we’ve reviewed and just maybe we’ll shout you out on stream!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!