The act of returning to Kanto yet again was like the cathartic
stress-relieving experience that drives people to drop dozens upon dozens of hours into Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon, and the like, but with the added benefit to me personally that I knew exactly what to do and at what point I would be able to put it down and move on to something else.
And until I actually had it in my Switch and started catching Pokémon with the less intensive mechanics, largely borrowed from the casual-friendly Pokémon GO, I don’t even know if it had occurred to me how bad I needed an experience like that to come along.
Pokémon Let’s Go is for people like my boss, who haven’t played the series since the GameBoy Advance and needed a more casual environment to relearn the franchise’s mechanics and acquaint themselves a little better with what’s changed about it.
It’s for people who like Pokémon for how cute they are and who want to revisit the game with the monsters they’ve always loved the most, recreating events they remember to go along with the past few generations’ switch to 3D models that highlight the cuteness or badassery of their respective Pokémon — if the promise of a fully-realized 3D Charizard was never enough to convert former fans of the series, a recreation of playing the Poke Flute and waking up a sleeping Snorlax just might be.
And yet Pokémon Let’s Go can also be for the hardcore fans who have spent as many hours training up their competitive team in Ultra Sun and Moon as most of us have tossing Poke Balls on our phones the past couple years, assuming that they don’t feel betrayed by all the work they put into harvesting shinies over the years suddenly being made easier and accessible to those who can appreciate such a system.
Pokémon Let’s Go is essentially the second remake of the original generation of Pokémon titles, but done in a way that isn’t intended to be considered a proper main series title like FireRed and LeafGreen still were in their day.
Rather, it’s a step that Nintendo and The Pokémon Company are taking to ensure quite possibly the largest release of a Pokémon game to date when the eighth generation finally arrives for the Switch by taking the time to create a game that people who haven’t played the series in a long time or that at least haven’t followed the games intensely in that time frame will appreciate and be given an avenue back into being as excited for more Pokémon as everyone else is.
This starts with incorporating some, but not all, of the mechanics that make the mobile Pokémon GO game so accessible and successful, even if it may displease fans who are not interested in Pokémon GO or haven’t been in a while due to its simplicity.
Understanding what kind of Pokémon game Let’s Go is basically comes down to the fact that it uses Pokémon GO’s catch mechanics for wild Pokémon — being able to see what wild Pokémon are before you actually enter an encounter with them — while incorporating traditional Pokémon battles with other trainers (and with event Pokémon like Snorlax and the legendaries).
While the perceived accessibility of lifting these mechanics from the mobile game is likely the main reason for setting the game up this way, I would have to admit that I think setting up the game this way would even benefit the main series, as sacrilegious as that may sound — you’re not taking away battling entirely, as there are more than enough other trainers and, of course, gym battles to keep you busy, but it really relieves some of the grind that comes out of everything else in the game, as you’re not constantly running back to heal your Pokémon or recharge their moves from wild battles, and encounters largely go by much faster in a game that will still take a minimum of 50 hours or so to complete, and much longer even before you get to the Pokémon League if you pay all that much attention to stat building or farming or even just the enjoyment of catch-and-release Pokémon hunting.
In the interest of compounding nostalgia with accessibility.
The storyline remains largely unchanged from the original Kanto games
save for your characters being slightly different from the original silent Red and obnoxious Blue, this time with the latter being replaced by an admittedly wimpy and timid rival who still manages to become champ before you.
Other changes to the formula are numerous but none are so large as the mixture of the two encounter systems, which I would be surprised to see incorporated into the main series going forward, but not necessarily upset about.
The PC system has been removed entirely and players can simply switch out their party at will outside of battles.
The Safari Zone has been replaced by the Go Park
where players can import Pokémon from the mobile game and catch them again for essentially a stat re-roll.
Pokémon can get transferred like in Pokémon GO in exchange for candy, although this candy is a direct stat boost that can be applied to any Pokémon in your party.
Encounter rates in Let’s Go and the influence players have over them have been changed up to some degree in a way that admittedly affects the game in a fairly major way.
Sought-after Pokémon like Chansey appear earlier, event-only Pokémon like Bulbasaur can be found in the wild as well as given to you by certain NPCs, and the frequency with which such Pokémon appear can be boosted by utilizing catch combos (repeatedly catching the same species of Pokémon over and over without deviation, increasing the chances of spawning rare Pokémon, Pokémon with better stats and IVs, and, most importantly, shiny Pokémon), a system that is presented in a straightforward manner and much easier to utilize in Let’s Go, again as if to make more advanced techniques accessible to players that don’t see themselves as the diehard, competitive breed of trainer just yet.
Up until around the eighth gym and through to the end, when I was merely rushing so that I would finish the game before going out and getting Super Smash Bros.
Ultimate that night at midnight, Pokémon Let’s Go was a leisurely re-exploration of a world I literally knew inside and out.
And while I put an insane (by my standards) 50 hours into the game doing little else but following the main story for the umpteenth time (and a fruitless night of shiny farming) the majority of that time was pure enjoyment, relaxation, dare I say it, nostalgia.
Whether you see it as a holdover, a transition, an in-between thirst quencher of a release.
There’s more than enough content in Pokémon Let’s Go to justify its existence
and with a definitive focus on everything that people have always loved about Pokémon and will continue to love about it, it’s really only the fact that it’s not a full-on, no holds barred main series entry that anyone could really see as a shortcoming or a reason not to play it.
Note: I played the Pikachu version of the game, but as the majority of any review will apply to either one, .
Any reference to Let’s Go covers both but is based on my personal experience with Pikachu
The post Pokémon Let’s Go.
Review appeared first on Kulture Shocked