The new installment into the Pokémon franchise is finally here! After a much-anticipated wait for Switch owners, a core Pokémon game has finally made it to the console. There has been a lot of speculation about these two new installments. Referring to Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu, and Pokémon Lets Go Evee. Today I am writing a review on the Let’s Go Pikachu version and I will explain why.

Since Nintendo’s E3 this past year, Switch owners have been highly anticipating a core Pokémon game to be released. During E3, an announcement that a core Pokémon game was to be released in 2019, as well as another Pokémon RPG in the second half of 2018. On November 16th the release of these two Pokémon games finally hit the shelves. Being a fan of the Pokémon franchise, I couldn’t help but pick the game up upon release.

After doing some research I found that Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu was the best choice for me, because after listening to a few sources, Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu was a harder version of the two, due to Pokémon Let’s Go Evee, having multiple evolution routes to choose from when leveling up Evee. 

Both of these Pokémon installments start you off in a familiar region to all Pokémon fans. You start your adventure off in the Kantos region, this being the 13th time we have grinded our way through this area. These two new Pokemon games are both basically remakes of the original Pokémon Yellow.

Although this was basically a remastered version of Pokémon Yellow, there were a few major changes in this franchise that had a lot of us Poke fanatics a bit worried about purchasing this game, myself included. These games incorporated the play style of the mobile version Pokémon Go. The major change that had a lot of us worried, was the decision to steer away from the battling and grinding of leveling our Pokémon through random battles.

After playing through Pokémon Let’s Go, I can honestly say that the new catch system, in place of the random battles, really did not faze me as much as I thought. Personally,  I still prefer the random battle mechanic, but the new catch system comes with some pros itself. When playing the old games, the chance roll of running into a random Pokémon to battle got to a point where it was almost annoying.

In Pokémon Let’s Go, the Pokémon are now visible in the grass or within the caves, which actually makes it nice to decide whether or not you would like to blow right by them or engage them,  to catch a Pokémon that you have not acquired yet. Also, for capturing the Pokémon, you gain experience for the Pokémon that are in your party. This helps them level up.

When you run into a wild Pokémon and plan on trying to catch them, they can tend to be a sort of a challenge. They will jump, or float all over the screen, and when throwing your poke ball to catch them, it bases it on certain throw timing mechanics. An outer ring starts around the Pokémon and slowly begins to shrink. You need to throw your Pokeball at the right time to try and get the Pokeball within the circle. The smaller the circle the better chances you have to catch the Pokémon, and you’ll also receive more experience points.

They have also added a catch combo to the game. This involves catching the same Pokémon, repeatedly. For each one you catch, you increase your catch combo. The reason for these catch combos is to farm better Pokémon with better IV’s. The catch combo can be quite repetitive and feel like a waste of time, but these combos can pay off big – chaining catches can also spawn rare pokemon.

Wild Pokemon spawns

Another reason I was not bothered by the new catching mechanic is because there are tons of trainer battles that you will run into to get your fix of checking out your Pokémon’s abilities. These trainer battles, as well as the gym battles, will also help you gain experience points to level up your Pokémon. Another new feature, which I loved, was instead of having to find a Poke Center, where you’re able to swap out your Pokémon to add to your party, you’re now able to go into your menu no matter where you are in the world and swap out whatever Pokémon you would like in your party.

Trainer battle

Another addition to this new Pokémon game is the ability to have your starter Pokémon lounging on your shoulder as you venture through Kantos. Also, the ability to dress them in clothes. I cant say I’m a huge fan of this new feature. I do not like that you have to stop every so often to pet, or feed your partner Pokémon to keep them happy. You also have the ability to ride a Pokémon in your party, instead of receiving the bike.

Attempting to make Pikachu happy

I can say I was really worried about spending $60 on this game. With all the changes I thought it was going to be a train wreck. I also thought that these new changes would start to be incorporated into future titles of this franchise and would change something that was already perfected, and ruin this title for a lot of us fans. But after getting a chance to play, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the changes they made weren’t drastic enough to make me step away from the franchise altogether.

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