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Why You Should – Or Shouldn’t – Be Excited For Pokemon Let’s Go!

The Pokemon Company

Tuesday night, the Pokemon Company confirmed the longtime rumors of a game titled Pokemon Let’s Go!: Pikachu & Eevee with a brand new trailer. And while the hype was certainly real, there’s also a lot of information that people seem to be getting wrong – or at least ‘assuming’. Whereas it’s certainly okay to be excited for this game, it’s important to point out that for many this isn’t about simply ‘buying a new game’ but rather ‘buying a new game and system’ since this might be their reason for buying a Switch. After all, this will be the first core Pokemon game for the Switch… right?

The status of the game, the game mechanics and the Pokemon you’d expect to find in these games might surprise you. So put aside the hype for a few minutes and let’s discuss what this game actually is and then you can decide if you’re still excited or not.

Let’s “GO” – Core Game or Pokemon Go Expansion?:

Last year, we heard that Pokemon would be leaving the 3DS, and the Switch would be receiving a “core Pokemon game”. Sadly, this is NOT that game. The next Core entry into the series (Generation 8) will actually arrive in 2019 and this is actually part Spin-off and part reimagining of Pokemon Yellow. To further clarify, this is not a remake of Pokemon Yellow along the lines of Fire Red, Soul Silver, Omega Ruby, etc. This game will take place in Kanto and is inspired by Pokemon Yellow, but will not be a remake. If anything, this game is better described as Pokemon Go retelling of Pokemon Yellow with some core-game mechanics.

As the trailer makes abundantly clear, this game will work a lot with Pokemon Go – I mean it literally has GO in the title. In fact the ‘special Pokemon’ teased in the trailer isn’t actually for Pokemon Let’s Go!, but actually is a gift you receive in Pokemon Go after transferring a lot of Pokemon over to the Switch. About midway through the game, you will be able to transfer Generation 1 Pokemon captured in Pokemon Go over to your Pokemon Let’s Go, which as you can imagine, would give faithful Pokemon Go players a HUGE advantage since they’ve had over 3 years to build their team. Imagine having a Dragonite or even Zapdos before you face Sabrina? That is what this game could cause.

The Pokemon Company

Similarly, catching Pokemon is vastly different as you no longer battle them, but rather just throw a Pokeball while trying to get certain bonuses to improve capture rates. In other words, you capture Pokemon exactly as you do in Pokemon Go. This was confirmed in the trailer and in an IGN interview with Pokemon director, producer, and composer Junichi Masuda who worked on both this game and Pokemon Go. In fact,this game also uses the CP system to gauge a Pokemon’s strength (see screenshot above). This will certainly lead to drastic changes in how you level up and train your Pokemon, which was also confirmed in the same interview where Masuda said that the team wanted to make things more simple. This simplicity also applies to the Pokemon included in the game, which stop at 151. Alolan forms of Kanto Pokemon are included as well, but any evolutions or baby forms past #151 (ie: Umbreon, Pichu, Blissey) are not included.

Do You Play For Difficulty or Fun? – “Your First Step Into The Pokemon Franchise?”

Elvin Gee, marketing manager of The Pokemon Company International remarked to IGN that  “Everything about [Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee], from the controls, to the design, the art, is made so that it’s ideal to be your first step into [the Pokemon] franchise.” Though for many people playing this game – and reading this article – this most likely isn’t the case. As I discussed earlier, from catching to training, many aspects of the game have been “simplified” and as you look deeper into the trailer, it seems like that’s not all that’s become easier. The new Co-Op mode allows a friend to come along the adventure with you. And whereas it seems as though that trainer will share your 6 Pokemon, it still results in 2 v 1 battles.

The Pokemon Company

Another big twist for this game is news that there is no “Box/ PC” in the usual sense. You can apparently access your Box anywhere you go and don’t need to be in a Pokemon Center to do it, which will undoubtedly save time but also might lessen the idea of ‘party’. Then again, with you most likely transferring high level Pokemon into the game from Pokemon Go, this makes a lot of sense. After all, Pokemon Go doesn’t have a ‘Box’ or party, but rather stores all your Pokemon together. Again, even the 2 v 1 battles can be traced back to Pokemon Go, where you need Co-Op to take down gyms and Raid Bosses. Does the simplified on-the-go Pokemon Go system work on a console? That’s up to you!

Over-world/ Partner Pokemon – NOW The Hype Is Real!

In many ways, Pokemon Let’s Go seems to be a culmination of everything Pokemon has tried in the past. Whether it’s a time tested staple like ‘Trading’ or the purchasable accessories that you can use to ‘take your Pokemon for a walk’ (ie: Pokemon Pikachu, PokeWalker, etc), this game has some implementation of it. Except HMs, which many will be happy to hear don’t return – but at the same time, Ride Pokemon have yet to be confirmed. Perhaps certain Pokemon will just intrinsically know ‘moves’ to help in the overworld? Though while we’re on the subject of the over world – and things that may or may not return – having your Pokemon follow you is INDEED RETURNING!

There are many aspects of this game that I question, but the return of having Pokemon following you around – something we haven’t seen in almost 10 years – is something I’m seriously excited for. In fact, not all Pokemon follow you, but rather some will act as a mount – such as Onix, Lapras and Charizard. Now these could be Ride Pokemon, but due to the places they’re being used/ how they appear on screen, it think these are genuinely your partner Pokemon. In addition to your partner Pokemon, you will also carry around Pikachu/ Eevee depending on which game you get. Now whereas you can’t evolve these Pokemon, you can dress them up for added cuteness. So I guess your dream of playing a game as Lt Surge and his Raichu will have to wait….

The Pokemon Company

So what’s the verdict? Are you more excited for Pokemon Lets’ Go? Less excited? Will you wait for more details? Are you still wondering why you got so hyped even though almost all of this information was rumored for months?

Well whatever side of the Pokeball you end up on, I’m happy I could give you a bit more information on this title because this is really a big step. It might not be a “core series” Pokemon game, but it’s still pretty close and – for many – will be a deciding factor into purchasing the Switch when the qame releases November 16th. So stay tuned for more updates as they become available!

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Joe Pellicone
Joe is the Creator & Editor of TheInsightfulPanda.com and also an illustrator/ cosplayer.