In the past five years or so, we’ve seen lots of remakes and remasters in both movies and video games. With nostalgia being the popular drive for content creation, Nintendo has jumped on the bandwagon with Pokemon: Let’s Go Eevee/Pikachu as their pseudo-remake of Pokemon Red/Blue. I say “pseudo” because this game is very close to being a full-on remake, but there are several changes and additions that lead to a “passing of the torch” feeling from this game. Since gaming has significantly advanced in both technology and narrative since the late 90’s, so let’s go aboard the nostalgia train and see the improvements made with Pokemon: Let’s Go!
Players of the original Pokemon games on Gameboy will feel right at home in this nostalgia-driven adventure through the Kanto Region. The original titles weren’t very impressive visually and were loaded with glitches (some to exploit,) but we all quickly caught onto the hype and why this franchise is popular. With this new installment, the hype is still there, and all the same memorable pokemon and characters are present.
Bearing this in mind, I was impressed to see people and places reimagined in 3D with much more to interact with. Familiar songs from the original are also remade to match the updated look. There is a significant degree of attention to detail in the reimagined world. For instance, the protagonist will kneel when speaking with children. However, this is the Nintendo Switch we’re talking about. The game looks good enough overall, but it looks like it could run on GameCube or a smartphone. They’re not really breaking new ground with these graphics, but it doesn’t detract from the fun.
Catching pokemon is similar to how Pokemon GO works now, which I think is actually a good idea. It was always frustrating to have to weaken a pokemon to near-faint, hoping you don’t knock it out. The new method simply focuses on throwing the pokeballs and lure. You’ll be rewarded with better aim and timing with additional XP for all the pokemon in your party at that time.
You also get a companion depending on which game you have, Pikachu or Eevee. I went with Eevee, because I never caught on to the Pikachu fandom. Also, Eevee is a cool companion but instead of saying it’s name, it just screams “BOYYY!” or something like “BOYYYO PE!” It’s really off-putting because it sounds like a ravenous K-Pop fan.
Strangely though all the other pokemons’ cries are a higher quality version of their Gameboy counterparts. This seems a bit lazy considering that we know pokemon like Chansey, Charmander, and Squirtle simply cry out their own name; where’s the consistency?
One of my favorite changes made was the shift in how the Hidden Machines (HM’s) are used. This time around, you won’t be required to use a pokemon to use HM abilities. Instead, your companion will do the technique for you. It’s kind of weird to have a Pikachu or Eevee fly you around town, but don’t question it, this is more convenient. Also, TM’s can be used multiple times, making it much easier to distribute those moves you sought out. This helps with the elite trainers in the end-game that show up after beating Pokemon League the first time.
Pokemon Let’s Go is an interesting stroll through the ever expanding pokemon universe, but when I went into this game I thought I was going to like it more than I actually did. Overall, it took me 18 hours of playtime to complete the game, and I enjoyed myself most of the way through. This is a cool remake, but it is lacking in many areas. Recently, Nintendo announced they would be doing something with the “Let’s Go” series, so hopefully more improvements will be made that make the games more appealing. And finally, with a price tag of 60 USD, the same price as Mario Odyssey and the FF7 Remake, Pokemon Let’s Go leaves much to be desired. It’s a good game, not a great game, and I recommend waiting until the price drops or it’s on sale.