As someone who’s played a lot of Pokemon console games and also spent far too much time and money on Pokemon Go, I looked forward to Pokemon Let’s Go, immensely.
Contains potential spoilers.
– Graphics are pretty. The models are the same as the ones used in Pokemon Colosseum, but sleeker and the movesets more vibrant.
– The gimmicks are cute, like riding Arcanine or Onix, with some of your transports making your progress a lot quicker — in lieu of a bike. No bikes in this game.
– Dressing up Eevee / Pikachu and giving them funny hairstyles is so much fun. You can use your fingers to style their hair so it’s a bowl-cut or spiked-up or choppy.
– The spawns are actual spawns and run around in the tall grass or swim in the water. It makes the whole wild spawn aspect so much more life-like (and hilarious when you see a Magikarp flopping its way across the surface of a lake) when you can watch wild spawns wander around instead of bumbling around in the tall grass until a wild encounter kicks you in the face.
But there’s a LOT of dumbing down, which took away the intricacies and actual brain activity needed to play the game well in the previous generations.
– No Pokemon abilities. Your earthquake can hit that Koffing. Your fire attack won’t power up the enemy’s Vulpix.
– You won’t get access to certain gyms until you’re at a certain level or have a type of Pokemon that’s advantageous against the gym leader — and you get told what those are. No chance of challenging yourself to see what’s the lowest level you could have to get through the game. The game sets the rules.
– No Pokemon PC. You literally walk around with the Pokemon PC in your bag. With all the Pokemon you’ve ever caught, to switch at your convenience. 5 of your 6 Pokemons KO’d? No worries, just bring out a new batch, no medicines needed!
– Maps cannot be assigned to a shortcut. You have to get it from the menu.
– A downside to riding a Pokemon: if you’re riding one that flies sky high, like Charizard or Aerodactyl, and you want to go into a building — to go through to the next route, for example — you can’t. You have to go to menu > team > that flying Pokemon > put it back in the damn ball. Then walk through the building. Then go through the same thing again to get back on the Pokemon. No shortcut. This is one of the most cumbersome and surprisingly backward aspects of the game.
– No breeding. No eggs. No planning offspring movesets.
– No battling wild Pokemons and whittling at their HPs to catchable levels, keeping them on the brink of death but not killing them, or you’d have to restart. No, you just keep throwing ball after ball in hopes of a catch. For legendaries, you just have to KO them to then get to throw balls at them.
– Your Pokemon can heal their own status ailments without meds and dodge attacks that have 100% accuracy through the power of “friendship”. I’m told this is actually since Sun and Moon, rather than a new thing in Let’s Go. Either way, it’s bizarre to see my Eevee put to sleep or frozen, unable to attack — but can dodge the enemy’s attack from the shout of my voice (???)
– You have a permanent EXP. Share across your team, meaning there’s not much need to grind for levels. Everyone gets levelled up anyway. (Also apparently since Sun and Moon.)
– HMs no longer take up a permanent move slot in a Pokemon. It’s default automatically available to use once you acquire it, meaning you don’t need to consider which Pokemon should be saddled with which HM. TMs are, as with recent games, reusable.
I mean, overall, I like it because it’s a Pokemon game. As a standalone, it’s pretty good. As a game to bridge the gap between the mobile Pokemon Go and the console of Pokemon, it’s pretty good. For newcomers new to the rules and the world of the RPG Pokemonk, it’s pretty good.
For me, who’s played most of the RPG games, it feels super dumbed down. The loss of intricacies make it less fun, less intricate, and leaves less room for creativity. I still finished the game and will make sure I complete the Pokedex before I stop it, but I’d be lying if I don’t say I’m a little disappointed, to be honest.
Verdict: 3 stars. Disappointing in the wake of its predecessors. Pretty decent on its own.