Pokemon Let’s Go is Pokemon for the Next Generation – PAX West 2018
As the most hard-core Pokémon fan at OK Beast, I was very nervous going into my demo with the upcoming Pokémon games Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. I had heard fans of the previous installments online saying that the game was “watered down” and “simplified” and was worried about how the demo was going to feel. I’m happy to say that after spending time playing the upcoming Nintendo Switch game, longtime fans of the Pokémon series have nothing to fear because Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee & Pikachu are some of the best looking and most fun games in the series.
Visually, this iteration of the series carries the flair from previous titles like Pokémon: Heart Gold and Soul Silver, as Pikachu or Eevee ride along inside of your hat and a secondary Pokémon follows behind. There are special animations associated with the primary partner Pokémon during which they jump off your character’s shoulders and jump into battle. The demo level featured the famous opening area, Viridian Forest. The largely wooded space looks and feels exactly how I remembered it, albeit with an improved art style and lighting system more befitting of the Nintendo Switch. Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee is vibrant and full of volumetric light, which ultimately results in a warm and inviting experience – like Pokémon is supposed to be.
If you’ve seen footage of Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee or Pikachu, then you know that the series no longer features random encounters in the overworld. Nintendo has added auras to the Pokémon in the game, a new feature that highlights the titular creatures with various colors according to their stats. A light blue hue denotes that the Pokémon are tiny, which means that they’re faster, but have less health. Heavy Pokémon glow red, which means that they have more health but are much slower than usual. Finally, the ever illusive shiny type Pokémon that we all know and love possess a rainbow aura, however I’m not sure yet if their overall appearance will be affected by the auras.
Another small change implemented in Pokémon Let’s Go is how the berry items are utilized. Normally different berries have the same effect with varying levels of strength, but in Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee one berry has changed in a big way – and that’s the Pinap Berry. The berry now increases the likelihood of receiving items after catching a Pokémon which is pretty neat.
I played Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee with the new Pokéball peripheral. With each iteration of Pokémon it seems like a new gimmick peripheral is released in conjunction, however this time around it feels like the accessory was designed to appease the very tactile video game player. The pokeball’s haptic feedback enhances most moments of the game, like when you successfully catch a Pokémon or as a battle starts. The pokeball peripheral also has multiple buttons that can be used while you play. So instead of using a normal controller players can just use the pokeball during their game time. The pokeball also has a speaker that features the popular sounds from the previous games and anime. When you catch a Pokémon you hear the sound of the ball closing and letting out its super satisfying tone.
For fans that are wary of Pokémon Let’s Go being a watered-down experience, don’t fret. The series still has all the features that hardcore fans are looking for, albeit with streamlined mechanics for new fans. I think that the features in this new installment have the potential to allow Pokémon to reach an even bigger audience. Be on the lookout for Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee & Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu as they release on Nintendo Switch on November 16, 2018.
Follow all of OK Beast’s PAX West 2018 coverage here.