Video Game Review: Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!

Details: Played for about twenty hours. More information can be found at https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/pokemon-lets-go-pikachu-switch/

Score: 6/10

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! is a remake of the first generation of Pokemon games. It offers almost nothing new or progressive to the franchise, at least in any meaningful way.

Like all Pokemon games, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! is about a child about to embark on a journey to become the Pokemon champion. He must capture and train little monsters called Pokemon in order to battle against other Pokemon in order to be the best.

The most remarkable thing about this game is how unremarkable it is. It is basically a copy and paste of Pokemon Red, Blue or Yellow. The maps are the same, the available Pokemon are about the same. The story is about the same. There’s just nothing new here, which is disappointing because when I hear that a beloved game is getting a modernized remake, I expect new additions and progressive changes, like from the Final Fantasy VII Remake. This game didn’t do that.

But there are a few noteworthy changes. Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! attempts to attract players who are familiar with phone app Pokemon Go. The main way they do this is through connectivity between the games (you can trade Pokemon between the games, but you can’t trade them back). Also, catching Pokemon in this game is more like the app in that there is no battling. Like Pokemon Go, you just try to throw a Poke ball at the thing and hope it catches. Almost all other aspects of the gameplay are the same as in Pokemon Red, Blue or Yellow.

There is some stuff to do after you beat the game, but it is an uninteresting grind. After you beat the game, masters start showing up all over the world who specialize in one specific Pokemon. In order to battle these masters, you must have the same exact Pokemon and battle them in a one on one with that Pokemon. It’s an annoying grind to do these because if you want to battle the Krabby master, you must battle with a Krabby of your own. Further, all the master are about level seventy to one hundred, so you have to level your Krabby to a level that can match the master. The implication is that if you want to beat all the masters, you have to get around one hundred and fifty Pokemon to at least level seventy. It’s annoying and stupid and an immense waste of time.

The visual aspects of this game are the biggest changes and perhaps the best part of the game. I wouldn’t say this game looks like a “next generation” game. It looks more like they just added anti aliasing to Pokemon Sun and Moon textures. Even still, it’s nice to see a Pokemon game without blocky textures.

The music is also a highlight as they simply made orchestral versions of the music from Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow. It’s nice and hit a nostalgic note for me. Unfortunately, there’s no voice acting at all, which sucks.

Overall, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! is a game you can comfortably skip. It offers barely anything new and merely retreads old ground. I think the primary purpose of this game is to draw in people unfamiliar with the franchise, but who are familiar with Pokemon Go. It may also be meant to draw in long time Pokemon fans as they waited for Pokemon Sword and Shield. Now that Pokemon Sword and Shield are released, there is no reason for any long time Pokemon fan to purchase or play this game.

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