Playing With Imagination is a series where I talk about video game stories and plots. Many video games have incredible stories and are often overlooked in our society. Today, I talk about Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s go Eevee! from Nintendo and Game Freak.
As most might know, I’m a huge Pokemon fan. In fact, if I remember right, Yellow was the first game I got in the series due to the anime. Since then, I’ve been a huge fan ever since, exploring the whole Pokemon world trying to catch them all. A few weeks ago, a few Nintendo Switch games based on Yellow came out called Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s Go Eevee! Since these were announced, they’ve been met with both excitement and skepticism, likely due to some of the changed being implemented (especially with catching, mirroring Pokemon GO). Since I’ve played them (and got all eight badges) I figured I throw my thoughts on this game. As a note: I’m referencing Let’s Go Eevee since that’s the copy I got. Sorry, Pikachu, Eevee’s the superior starter >:3
Let’s Go Eevee!
If you’re familiar at all with Pokemon, then it’s self explanatory. Basically, you catch Pokemon, battle gyms, battle trainers, and above all, be the best trainer possible. Normally, the starters for Kanto are Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle. Here, it’s either Pikachu or Eevee depending on the version you own. This Pokemon, depending on your version, could put you at a disadvantage early on since the first Gym Leader is a rock type trainer named Brock. But worry not, since most Pokemon capable of beating him are one Poke Ball away.
Let’s talk about the positive aspects first. To start, it’s a fun adventure all the way through that any Pokemon fan will enjoy. From the first time you start the game, the version’s main Pokemon will greet you by going into the TV and seeing you in the world of Pokemon. As for the starter, these two are adorable. There’s a feature that allows you to play with them by either petting them or feeding them berries.
Eevee is a blast to play with. His mannerisms are cute and adorable and it makes me want one in real life. Also, I hope this becomes a thing in the future, because seeing the next starter Pokemon be your pal and petting them and what not brought our bond closer than what was possible in previous versions. This is a different take on X and Y’s Pokemon-Amie, which was befriending your Pokemon by petting them. This was all the Pokemon, however, but the bond between either Pikachu or Eevee was the main focus and they nailed it perfectly.
While Pikachu is limited with attacks, and Eevee moreso, the game does give special moves only they can learn that have an array of Pokemon types that make the gyms easier. I didn’t realize it until Cerulean City, but it made battling that gym cake after that and I’ve utilized it for each gym from that point on.
Speaking of which, guess it’s time to talk about my first issue with the game. The names of some of these moves seem a little too cutesy even if the mascots themselves are kid-friendly. For example we have the following moves:
There is a bit of alliteration at play, but they could have come up with more unique names rather than try and sound cutesy. Eevee is a bundle of cute and I want to hug him, but I don’t want to keep saying Buzzy Buzz all the time.
But let’s move on to the other things. The other issue is the gating mechanic. Basically, you’re barred from progressing until you complete certain requirements. Such examples include getting your Pokemon to a certain level or catching a number of Pokemon. It basically means extra work and basically tells the player that they’re too weak to progress.
While it would be fine for earlier gyms, the fact that this still goes on in later gyms is a bit tedious. If I know I’m outmatched by level, that’s my own problem and I’m sure kids would know how to adjust accordingly. Basically telling them what to do takes all the fun out of that. Plus, speedrunners would have a hard time getting anywhere because they’d be forced to rely on RNG to get the fastest time. A minor note, but one worth considering.
And finally, the biggest one. The catching. Likely my least favorite aspect. It borrows from Pokemon Go. You throw a Poke Ball and hope the RNG gods are in your favor. In Pokemon Go, the catching wasn’t bad since you could easily aim with your finger. Wherever you moved it, that’s where it went. Here, it relies on your Switch controller with motion controls.
I’m sure the anti-Wii purists are groaning from miles away, and let me say I still can’t get the hang of it. I do figure that curving the ball sends it in whichever side you throw it, but when the Pokemon move, it’s easy to lose them. Plus, The way I throw it, it’s either too hard or the game doesn’t sense that I want it to curve. I sometimes avoid Pokemon (I’ve always done that, but still) because I can’t figure out a good method for catching. Plus, you don’t battle them. You approach them and chuck a Poke Ball at it. I liked the older method more because it forced you to keep the Pokemon at a certain threshold to catch it. At least then you’d be able to catch it.
Having said all of that, while I did get rant-y those past few paragraphs, I do like this game. The interactions with Eevee are fun, the world is fun to explore, the characters are great and most of all, it’s still Pokemon. It’s a fun adventure that anyone can pick up and play. For diehard trainers such as myself, the changes might be a bit jarring, but if you know someone who’s new to Pokemon, but doesn’t know where to start, this would be it. I’m curious to know how the Eighth Generation will play out, but as long as they fix the catching mechanic and get rid of the gating, I’ll be a happy Pokefan.
That’s all for today. Take care, and remember, the inn is always open.