[Review] Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee – Nintendo Switch

Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee

  • Developer : GAME FREAK Inc.
  • Publisher : Nintendo
  • Release Date : 16/11/2018
  • Review Code provided by Nintendo
  • Price: £49.99 / $59.99

Much like the humble Snorlax – my spirit Pokémon on so many levels, I enjoy getting as much sleep as I possibly can. As a nintendad, this can often be a challenge in its own right. Since receiving a code for the purpose of review for Pokémon Let’s Go on Nintendo Switch however, I’ve not needed a pokeflute to wake me from my deep slumber. Mainly because sleep has become a distant and oh so fleeting memory. Why sleep, when I can play more of this beautiful and nostalgic near-masterpiece.

When Pokémon Red and Green released back in the late 90’s (Red and Blue in Europe and the America’s) nobody at Nintendo, let alone Gamefreak could have foreseen just how much these little titles would blow up.

In much the same vein, when Pokémon Go released in the summer of 2016, surely nobody saw it becoming quite the behemoth that it is today, especially with the oversaturated nature of the mobile market and its reliance on paying to progress.

Now here we are, years later, with these 2 unique titles coming together for a crossover quite unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

The realms of this reimagined title aren’t quite bordering on make believe, but if you’d told me after I had spun my 1st pokestop that the 1st Pokémon title on Nintendo’s next console would use aspects from this game, I’d have likely called you a damned lunatic and screamed ‘heresy’ from the rooftops.

Yet, here we are, ready to embark on a somewhat familiar, brand new Pokémon adventure.

I Kanto quite believe it?

Kanto is an absolute schizophrenic play mate. Since we last visited all those years ago; even if you’ve since revisited it in Fire Red and Leaf Green or as end game content in Soul Silver and Heart Gold, it’s never looked like this. From the very early moments of walking through Viridian forest, the sunlight above flickering through the trees, it quickly becomes apparent that the level of care put into the presentation is staggering. This isn’t a remake, a rehash or even a remaster, this is in every way its own beast.

In the very same forest, I stumbled upon my first ‘oh wow’ moment. As I rustled through the grass, fighting against the somewhat struggling framerate (more on that later), a wild Bulbasaur appeared from the long grass and started wandering around on screeen, along with the plethora of bug types that adorned my field of vision. Anybody who knows me will be more than aware of how much I appreciate a good frog boi with a bulb on its back.

Hours later, as the end credits rolled, the Elite Four vanquished with consummate ease, my Bulbasaur was still by my side, having spent the past 25 hours running around alongside me. If ever a game called out for the inclusion of an everstone, it was this one. And if there is one, my apologies, its location has escaped my somewhat extensive play through.

It’s late in the Eevee-ning [..] You look wonderful tonight

Visually, Pokemon Let’s Go is a sheer delight, albeit not without the odd grumble. Kanto looks exactly as I remember it, despite ithe complete overhaul in graphical nuance. The visual style takes a lot from the Sun and Moon games, the swan song of the 3DS’s extravaganza of Pokémon releases, and renders them in a fine coat of delicious High Definition.

The colours jump from the screen, like an explosion of popping candy on the back of your palette and the little touches scattered through out combine to make this one of the finest looking title that the Nintendo Switch has to offer. Words cannot do justice to the sheer delight of Pokémon freely roaming the screen and behaving in their own unique way. If Gen 8 rolls around and I have to go back to the dark ages, the days of random wild encounters whilst trudging through fields of grass, well, it wil certaily be a case of 1 step forward 2 steps back.

The flip side to this utterly endearing game mechanic however is the impact that it has on the Nintendo Switch’s resources. At times the slowdown, whilst not game breaking is hugely frustrating and indeed takes away from the enjoyment. This one gripe aside, the way in which the game has been built, and on to that, presented, is full of inimitable charm and some of the most beautiful moments that the evergreen series has offered.
The synergy with the anime series adds infinite layers of awesomeness to this delightful little romp, and hearing all of the 8 bit music brought to life in a brand new imagining is the sauce that brings the entire plate together.

Let’s Go back to the start

It feels like; in much the same way that Wind Walker HD was a result of the Zelda team playing around with the artistic direction in preperation for Breath of the Wild, that this title is laying the groundwork for Pokémon Gen 8, which is due to release next year.

This particular reimagining of the OG Pokemon experience does essentially follow the exact formula and story set out in Yellow; the definitive version of the aforementioned Red and Blue, albeit with some slight alterations. For example when approaching the cycle road just to the West of Celadon City, I found that the cycle road was quite literally just a distant memory.

Without going into spoiler territory, it’s metioned by an NPC that there used to be a cycle road here, and then you just get to go HAM with one of the most  gratifying moments in Let’s Go, soaring high above everybody else on your Pokémonof choice.

Aside from that, a lot of moments throghout the game will play out almost like you remember them to have done, whilst offering enough difference in their familiriarity not to breed contempt.

Pokeball plus all the other options

Let’s GO has a unique controller in the form of the Pokeball Plus. I haven’t had an oppurtunity to test mine as of yet due to being abroad, but will update this section accordingly once I have spent some time with the unit.

Aside from that, there are a few ways to play. In docked mode you can play with a single Joy Con, which also offers the ability to play in co-op mode, simply by sharing the Joy.

In handheld, you play with the Joy Cons attached to the dock, but somewhat surprisingly, you dont use the touch screen to spin your pokeball and catch Pokémon, as you would in Pokémon GO.

Speaking of which….

Where do all the Pokemon Go when they’re in their ball?

One of the main selling points of Let’s Go is the connectivity with Pokémon Go, the free to play mobile title brought to the palms of our grubby little mitts by Niantic. So, how does it all perform?

The short answer is trouble free .

Once you arrive at what we once knew as the Safari Zone, you have the option to connect to your mobile phone via Bluetooth and trade Pokemon FROM Go TO Let’s Go ONLY. This is the only way to get the unnoficial 152nd Pokemon, Meltan – or as I like to call him, Insane Ditto (I’ll wait….)

When a Pokemon is transferred it is sent to a Go Park where it can then be caught and brought into game. The whole process isn’t nearly as convoluted as I’m making it sound right now, it really is a seamless experience.

For more information in general, I’d recommend checking out some of the helpful guides that Friends of Nintendad and all around nice guys Miketendo64 have put together.

Aside from Go connectivity, Let’s Go has been created with the idea of being accesible to newcomers, whilst the nostlgia of a gloriously remastered Kanto region appeals to veterans alike. It certainly delivers on both counts. I’ve waxed lyrical more than enough about Kanto, so on to the accessibility aspect of it.

As the name of this very site might suggest, I am a parent. As such, I decided, as my parental right dictates, that if ever there was a title to introduce my daughter into the whimsical world of Nintendo, it was this. From the very first moment she set eyes on the eclectic cast of cutesy characters, she was certainly engaged. While the story might have been lost on her tender years, she was without captivated by the array of bright and bodacious colours on show.

That being said, she enjoyed the touch screen  aspect of the game, so much so that when I was later playing docked, she was poking ‘Mons on the TV screen.

Conclusion

Pokemon Let’s Go for Nintendo Switch is the perfect entry point for the franchise to make its long awaited debut on a home, albeit hybrid in nature, console.

Every moment, every single one, from setting off in Pallet town to emerging from the final battle with the Elite Four is completely charming, engrossing and enthralling in equal measure. The presentation is phenomenal, and brings Kanto to life in a way I never, in even my most vivacious of dreams could have imagined.

You’ll find yourself humming along to the medley of melodies that have evolved so much since their Game Boy days, and if you don’t, well you’re proabably a robot.

A few technical hiccups, the framerate being the main one, stop this adventure from receiving a perfect score.

Verdict – Outstanding.
Nostalgia at its finest
4.5/5
Fifield

 

 

Pick up a physical copy (UK links only)

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