The Actual News:
(I decided to split my “Thoughts and Review” post into two. Read “Part 1” if you want to read my opinions on why I’m not worried for the future of the Pokémon series.)
As mentioned in Part 1, a lot of the arguments against this game are mostly done out of fear and not with a level head. But that said, I won’t deny that some of the dumps against this game are warranted… especially given all the information said about this game, meaning those issues really have no excuse. However, in the end, I think Let’s Go a fun interpretation of the classic Pokémon format, and although it could do a few things better, I’d rather have it than not. I look forward to more games in this format, and I also feel that the haters are focusing too much of their energy on a baseless fear of the potential future.
Let’s get to the actual finer details, shall we?
- This game is definitely a “catcher’s” game; like, it caters more for those who want to “Catch ’em All!” over those who, well, don’t. Honestly though, I’m glad for the switch, as I’m honestly tired of the tedium of having to fight a Pokémon just to whittle down it’s HP close to death but WITHOUT knocking it out just to be able to catch it. They had to make moves like “False Swipe” just to make catching easier in previous games. LGPE instead lets me catch Pokémon straight away without any hassle.
- However I’m split on whether this system should be included in with the mainline Pokémon games or not. Like, I don’t like the tedium of regular catching, but then how much about regular catching is part of Pokémon’s overall identity?
- I also enjoy the fact that battles aren’t randomized, but rather done at my own choosing. It’s the “Chrono Trigger” method of seeing who you get to battle against versus the “Final Fantasy 6” method where your battles are randomized. Being able to breeze through Mt. Moon is soooooo much better now.
- The addition of a Lure item (the reverse of Repel) is a welcome change as well, especially given the updated catching mechanics.
- No more Name Rater needed to change your Pokémon’s name; it can be changed right away. Which is preferable, because not only do I never have to worry about going to someone specific in order to change a Pokémon’s name (only to temporarily forget what city they’re located in), but the “Name Rater” doesn’t even rate their names to begin with!
- This is more of a Nintendo Switch thing, but it’s the first Pokémon game that allows you to have multiple save files with a single game card. Well, I mean, without having to shuffle memory cards or extract save files. Here, all you need to do is play the game using a different user account on your Switch.
- I’m especially happy that they brought back Pokémon which can follow you from HGSS.
- Although it breaks immersion a bit, I do like the ability to be able to access all of my caught Pokémon any time I want, instead of having to go to a Pokémon Center and using the PC there.
- Some of the key features from Pokémon GO have been ported over, such as the method for catching Pokémon (the shrinking colored circle), the changed berries, varying height and weight, and the concept of “Combat Power”.
- The Item Bag is different; it behaves like a folder on a computer. So key item exist at the base level.of the bag, and everything else are separated into their own folders. The order of everything can be changed as well. They’ve kinda mixed this up on the regular with every new release, for better or worse, so it’s whatever for me.
- So far every battle with someone, other than Brock, has only used one Pokémon. Except for a lone Hiker in Mt. Moon, who happened to have TWO Pokémon (two Geodudes). I mean, I guess this should be expected, because it has been like this for some time now, but hopefully this was something that Game Freak did for beginners playing those previous games, and so this will be something that they cease doing in Gen 8 onwards.
- The story seems to start from scratch as well. Like, your Rival still lives next door, but they’re no longer Professor Oak’s grandson. Yet, Oak’s grandson DOES exist, as Blue reveals himself after you beat the first gym… but he straight up mentions that he didn’t use anything like a PokéDex during his adventures. So I guess this is the THIRD revision of the Pokémon story: the Gens 1&2 Universe, then the Gens 3-7 Reality, and now Gen 8+ Timeline.
- For comparison, this kinda reminds me of how Grand Theft Auto has a similar system: there’s the “2D Universe” (covering GTA1&2), the “3D Universe” (covering GTA3, Vice City, San Andreas, and the “Stories” games), and the “HD Universe” (with GTA4, GTA5, Online, and Chinatown Wars), with each Universe with their own interpretations of “Liberty City”, “Vice City”, “Los Santos”, etc.
- As a side note, Blue has a blue shirt when you first meet him. But since he’s “Green” in Japan and Korea (at least), I wonder if he’ll still have a blue shirt in those versions as well, or if he’ll be renamed “Blue” instead. I guess I’ll keep an eye out when I’m playing the Korean version…
- The graphics on an individual basis look great, but there is just so much pointless amd inexcusable nonsense involved with them. Like the slow turning animations for NPCs, or that NPC thats on the phone but isn’t, or how the Pokémon following you GOES BACK INSIDE THEIR BALL when you jump off a ledge only for it to pop back out again after you land. Holy crackers so much of that is stupid, especially since there are so many examples of Game Freak doing it right in the past (like HGSS had Pokémon follow you off the ledge!). Game Freak is better than to let these kinds of things happen, especially since apparently they had 100 people working on this game; it’s almost like they put all their energy on the models and shaders, but when they handed them off to the animators, they basically phoned their work in.
- I also dislike the lack of Pokémon from Johto (Gen 2) onwards. I want to trade ALL of my Pokémon GO Pokémon over, dagnabbit!
- The $60 price tag is unnecessarily steep, to say nothing about the additional $50 Pokéball device. This game should’ve been $40, and the Pokéball accessory should’ve been $30.
- There is also absolutely no excuse for the lack of touchscreen support for things other than playing with Pikachu or Eevee. Because even if this game was aimed at newcomers to Pokémon, they all know how to use touchscreens, so using the Switch’s touchscreen to navigate menus, etc, would’ve been perfectly fine.
- Despite the easier access to your Pokémon, there doesn’t seem to be any way to organize them into their own boxes. They’re all just lumped together in a single box. That is unless this changes at a later point.
- I remember hearing about a THREE attack limit instead of the standard FOUR attacks. That’s not the case; you can have four attacks.
- Another concern was the fact that you were forced to only attack Gym Leaders with a specific type of Pokémon, but again that’s not the case… you simply need to show the “Yo! Champ in the Making!” guy a Pokémon of a type strong against the Gym Leader… you don’t actually have to use them. Well, I’ll admit that’s sort of an unnecessary extra step, but whatever, I won’t lose any sleep over that.
- Combat is also largely the same as the classic system, at least in principle. Yeah they got rid of held items and not all the moves are available, but the core combat mechanics work in the way it should. In fact the system is basically no different than if you played a match in the regular games with specific rules attached (such as “no items”, etc).
- I equate this to be similar to when the Beginners-tier Portal sets were released for Magic: the Gathering. As in, the cards were fully compatible with the actual rules for Magic, but the set itself left out certain card types in order to control how first-timers played the game. This included the removal of Instant cards, which could be played during the opponent’s turn, along with other card types which the designers felt might make the game needlessly complex for new players.
COMPARISON BETWEEN PAST AND PRESENT:
This game reminds me of when Ruby/Sapphire (Gen 3) was released, which had removed a TON of features that was introduced in Gen 2, the most obvious being the night/day cycle and the lack of a calendar and all that was associated with them, like different capture rates due to time of day, weekly events like the Bug Hunting Contest, etc… but ESPECIALLY the removal of the ability to transfer Pokémon up from the previous generation. The latter was a major problem because for about a year or so it basically locked out half of the possible Pokémon from Ruby/Sapphire. Of course NOW I know why backwards trading was removed… long story short, Game Freak revised the Pokémon ID system, which is basically still in effect today and is very different from the system used in Gen 1 and 2… but I didn’t know that back then, and that “not knowing” really had left a bad taste in my mouth.
I feel like the same thing is happening here: Let’s Go! represents the same sort of “backwards leap” that Ruby/Sapphire represented, due to all of the things removed from from LGPE that really has no right to be removed. Such as the night/day cycle (again), removal and inaccessibility of other Pokémon (again), etc. And so I totally understand why so many people are upset over its existence.
But the key difference for me between Ruby/Sapphire and Let’s Go! is that… none of my fears I had about the bad omens that Ruby/Sapphire represented panned out. None of them came true. It took a while, but Gen 4 brought the night/day cycle and backwards trading back, FireRed/LeafGreen brought previous Pokémon back to Gen 3… basically all the problems I felt that Ruby/Sapphire added were eventually mitigated. So while some people have similar fears about Let’s Go!, there is nothing about it that leads me to believe that these will be permanent changes to the franchise. Frankly, I’ll bet good money that, just like with Ruby/Sapphire, all of the problems with LGPE will be limited to these games, or at least the overall Let’s Go! series, leaving the main series untouched. So I have nothing to worry about in the end.
FINAL SUMMARY & SCORE:
So with that said, what do I think about LGPE? As long as you know what you’re getting into, then it’s a fun, casual game. And honestly, Pokémon has always been about just enjoying yourself and having fun with it. That’s why I gravitated towards Pokémon in the first place, because most players realize they’re playing a kid’s game and don’t take themselves too seriously, versus with something like Magic: the Gathering, where players treated the game as SERIOUS BUSINESS. This is why LGPE ultimately doesn’t bother me as a whole, even if I feel that Game Freak is better than to have allowed certain elements within LGPE to exist… it’s just meant to be enjoyed for what it is. The only reason why anyone would NOT enjoy this game is if they expected it to be something it isn’t, or are upset that it isn’t what it is SUPPOSED to be in their eyes. But I personally don’t feel there is any good reason to feel this way, because, again, this has happened before and Game Freak fixed their errors.
But that said, I also don’t feel that this game is perfect… because even if I am to accept LGPE to be what it’s supposed to be, there are still some things that it STILL should’ve done, but ultimately didn’t. A major one is the lack of significant touch-screen support, despite it’s intended audience being modern children who grew up using touch-screen mobile devices.
So with all that in mind, I’d give this game a 7/10… plus or minus 0.5 points. It’s slightly above average, but not much better than Ruby/Sapphire. Its score could then go either way depending on how things change as I continue to play. I may be surprised about something that I didn’t realize, or maybe a problem with it will only get more annoying as I play. Maybe when I beat the game I’ll come back to do a Part 3 as a final review and discussion of my hope for the future.