Here we are at Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, probably the pair of Pokémon games that got fans talking about the most. From the very first rumors about the logo, in fact, the two chapters that mark the debut of the series Game Freak su Nintendo Switch have raised doubts and discontent, like never before in the history of the brand. The reason? The presence of that "Go" in the title, of course, a clear reference to the mobile spin-off that made us hypothesize not only a simplification in the mechanics to mimic those of Pokémon GO, but also a free-to-play drift that could have had epochal repercussions on the competitive landscape. Fortunately, however, the reality turned out to be quite different and Let's Go, Pikachu! that arrived on our Nintendo Switch has shown an unconditional love for what are some of the key elements of the series. Although not everything was perfect.
The story: from Giallo to Let's Go
Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! e Pokémon Let's Go, Eevee! are in effect remakes of Pokémon Yellow. This means that in terms of setting, history and mechanics there are so many points of contact with the fourth version for Game Boy, starting with the return of the Kanto region as the undisputed protagonist of the adventure. However, there are also numerous elements of discontinuity with the original.
First of all, the protagonists are different and move on an alternative timeline, where Professor Oak managed to invent the Pokédex a few years later than what had happened in the first generation titles. This translates into a whole series of events and meetings that wink at historical fans, snatching more than a smile of complicity every time you manage to grasp one of the many references hidden in the lines of dialogue. However, the narrative remains in the background: it guides the various cities of the region through the main moments of the fight against Team Rocket (with the return of Jessie, James and a Meowth who does not seem able to speak), while each trainer builds your own story one battle and one capture after another.
L'character editor it is a novelty, but borrowed from the most recent chapters: just like on Nintendo 3DS it is kept quite simple, allowing you to choose only the gender and skin tone of the avatar. The choice of starter, or Pikachu or Eevee depending on the version purchased, then follows new modes, giving greater importance to the relationship with this exceptional Pokèmon. Pikachu and Eevee, in fact, do not limit their particularity to not wanting to stay in their Poké Balls, but they also have unique features, such as increased stats, perfect individual values and the ability to learn spectacular unique attacks and hidden techniques, which replace various moves to be used outside the fight, such as Slash or Fly. All this merges into a title with good longevity, which opens in a fairly rich end game made up of revenge, encounters with new formidable trainers (the so-called Master Trainers, but not only) and, of course, the completion of the Pokédex, through the trade and capture of what is considered to be the most powerful Pokémon in the world.
Some of the most common fears about Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon Let's Go, Eevee! are those related to gameplay and, in particular, the elimination of fights during encounters with wild Pokémon. A legitimate concern, but which proved to be inconsistent in the test of facts: the mechanics of capture The Pokémon GO proved to be fresh and fun with all the control systems, including the Poké Ball Plus: the monsters move with particular patterns and the need to make good throws so as not to miss the rarer ones adds that pinch of adrenaline. in addition, which in the previous chapters was given by the risk of knocking out the opponent. By the way, not all Pokémon can be captured without a fight. Some particular monsters attack as soon as you interact with them, triggering a challenging battle with a time limit, which recalls the raid battles of Pokémon GO and reverses the approach to legendary monsters: if before, in fact, we embarked on grueling battles to minimize the number of HP before throwing Ultra Ball at will, now you have to defeat the Pokémon quickly to access the capture, which at this point represents a real additional minigame. It could be argued that these mechanics could coexist in all encounters, but the fact that the battle is limited to certain Pokémon in a way increases its uniqueness: after all, the choice of developers may not have been as reckless as it seemed at first.
The real revolution, however, concerns the ways in which you get to the capture screen: for the first time in what is in effect a main chapter, or almost, the encounters with Pokémon they are not random. The monsters appear clearly visible on the screen, they are almost always easy to avoid and, above all, there is an immediate indication of the appearance of each. It is thus immediately understood, for example, if you are faced with a chromatic version, or a specimen with an anomalous size and therefore capable of giving more experience points. In fact, catching Pokémon also gains experience for all Pokémon in the team and in Let's Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! the amount of points received it is linked not only to the species, but also to the quality of the cast and, precisely, to the fact that the monster is particularly large or small compared to the average. Sharing the active experience even after the clashes does not affect the balance too much, leaving the difficulty level always in a pleasant middle ground that does not allow you to turn off the brain during the fights.
Returning, however, to the absence of random encounters, it should be noted that in this way the duration of the adventure becomes particularly variable: if until now it was necessary to spend a large part of one's budget on Repellents to move undisturbed, now it is theoretically possible to cross entire paths and forests without encountering a single Pokémon, thus drastically reducing exploration times compared to Yellow. However, it is difficult to consider this a negative point: for years now the meeting system has been required to renovate, which in this way guarantees an important change of pace and, above all, allows the player to give the adventure the pace he prefers.
First generation multiplayer
The mechanics of combat Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee, on the other hand, remained the classic ones of the series. The clashes take place in turns, with the order of attacks as always governed by the user's speed and the ability to alternate up to six Pokémon in each battle. Then there are some balance changes that affect the effectiveness of some shots and now you can access the box to change the composition of the team directly to the backpack.
However, what profoundly changes, and negatively, is the complexity and variety of the builds available for Pokèmon. The IV system (individual valuesed EV (training points which are assigned to each statistic after the clashes) fortunately remains, but their management through very rare caps and candies to be obtained with the catches is not completely convincing and is less immediate than the gimmicks seen in the last chapters for 3DS, such as the Super Training Virtual or the Buonalena Isolotto. Instead, the abilities and the possibility of laying eggs disappear completely: with a swipe of the sponge the whole competitive sector goes away, which remains the prerogative of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon on Nintendo 3DS and of the new chapter of Pokémon coming out in the 2019 on Nintendo Switch. Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! represent a reference to Pokémon Yellow also in this, but the choice is far from explainable with the need to remain faithful to the original mechanics, since the remakes of Game Boy Advance, that is Fire Red and Leaf Green, had already cleared all these elements. In addition, the presence of all the Alola versions and all the Mega Evolutions relating to the Pokémon of the first generation eliminates any justification, leaving only one possible evaluation open: Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! are titles with a trivialized management system, which reduces the possibilities of customizing your team and the effectiveness of many Pokémon.
Just think of a Koffing without Levitation that suddenly becomes vulnerable to all Earth-type attacks, or an Arcanine without Arrogance; but the list would be much longer. As questionable as it is, the developers nevertheless seem to have made this decision with awareness, given that the options online they are sparse and incredibly small: matchmaking for exchanges and fights, single or double, is absent, with the possibility of connecting to others limited by a rather anachronistic system of codes. If anyone thought that the new Pokémon could help push the paid online service, well ... they were simply wrong, because from the perspective of Let's Go online it represents not only a step backwards, but a true return to the age of stone.
On the other hand, there is no shortage of possibilities to have fun in local multiplayer. In addition to battles and exchanges with those who own another copy of the game on Switch, Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! & Eevee! in fact, they introduce an unprecedented Cooperative mode. This allows a second player to hold a Joy-Con or another controller and immediately enter the game, giving his contribution in battles, where he controls a second Pokémon of the team, or in the capture phase, where he can throw a Ball with the right timing to have more chances. Of course, the system is limited and the second player does not even have the power to interact with Pokémon, but it is a nice addition and capable of properly connecting several generations of trainers.
The connection with Pokémon GO
Unlike what the title suggests, the connection with Pokémon GO is very weak and linked only to a single structure in one of the last cities in history. It is therefore not possible transfer Pokémon from Pokémon GO before you already have your team at a higher level than the monsters in the mobile game. For all the features, however, we refer to a subsequent discussion, since at the time of the review it was not yet possible to connect the two games. A separate study will also be dedicated to the Poké Ball Plus, which really offers many secondary functions.
The most beautiful Kanto ever
The first impact with Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! & Eevee! it leaves a bit of a disappointment for the absence of dubbing, which is no longer attributable to space limitations as on a solely portable console. It would not have been bad to have at least the voices of the Japanese and English-speaking voice actor of the Professor, also by virtue of the declared references to the animated series. All in all, this is a secondary lack, but which is coupled with some inconsistencies of the whole audio compartment: an excellent soundtrack, which proposes modern versions of the original themes, is in fact still flanked by the repetitions of the 8-bit verses of practically all the Pokémon in the lot. In fact, therefore, Pikachu and Eevee are the only ones dubbed characters in the whole game: considering that one or two voice actors would have been enough to make various verses for all the monsters, this is a missed opportunity to give greater uniformity to the whole sound sector, especially given the importance that these effects play among the functions of the PokéBall Plus.
Returning instead to appearance graphic, Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! & Eevee! they mark a decisive step forward compared to what was seen on 3DS: the Pokémon models are well made, the numerous effects (some reminiscent of the attacks of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild) and the frame rate is finally stable in almost all circumstances. There Kanto map it is faithful to the original one in practically every little square of grass and returns a colorful and always pleasant glance, both on television and in portable mode. Of course, the textures are a bit flat, the scenarios not very animated and the shadows a bit too sharp, but on the whole we can be satisfied with the work done by Game Freak, even when the transitions between the environments and the attack turns are slower than it should.
Finally, all the customizations and aesthetic additions designed to delight fans deserve a separate mention. In Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! & Eevee! in fact you can choose between several outfits and accessories for the avatar, which can in turn be coordinated with those of the companion Pokémon, with this remaining perched on the player's shoulder for the duration of the adventure. You can then play with Pikachu or Eevee in a special screen, feed them with berries and, in portable mode, use your fingers to change their hairstyle. You can also make a second Pokémon come out of its sphere and, depending on the species, this can walk next to the protagonist, or carry it on its back to speed up travel by land or sea. Aside from extreme cases like Venusaur's controversial frog walk and some movement difficulties, it's always a pleasure to have a Pokémon with you, which also helps you find some hidden items.
CommentDigital Delivery Nintendo eShop Price 59,99 € Resources4Gaming.com
At the end of our review, Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! & Eevee! they appear in some ways experimental and far from perfect, but show the many potentialities that the series will be able to exploit on Nintendo Switch. Net of an orphaned title in the competitive sector, we are therefore faced with a real pair of Pokémon games, full of citations and capable of introducing new features that we would like to see come on a permanent basis in the next chapters. True, some elements seem to be made with a certain laziness, but these are ideal titles both to get closer to something more complex than Pokémon GO, and to keep busy in view of the arrival of the main course in 2019. And there Game Freak he can't really afford to be wrong.
- Excellent reinterpretation of Giallo
- New mechanics well introduced
- Good technical sector
- Few online options
- Absence of competitive elements
- Sound effects to update