Released on: November 16 2018
Available Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Price: 79.99$ CDN (59.99$ US)
___I have been a pretty big fan of Pokemon since I first discovered it through the anime series at the age of eight. The appeal to its video game iteration is noticeable; with one hundred and fifty different creatures to collect, train and battle, it was more than enough to attract Young Sergie to the series. Twenty-two years later, Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, a home console, high definition remake of Pokemon Yellow, hits the scene. Since the game has more of a focus on catching Pokemon, my strategic, battle-hungry self was skeptical. After seeing reviews online saying it was better than expected, my girlfriend and I decided to give it a shot. For transparency’s sake, we played the Eevee version of Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee.
___The story to Let’s Go Eevee is the same as Pokemon Yellow, save for the different main characters. The player takes control of a Pokemon Trainer, a person who strives to catch and train the strongest Pokemon and win the coveted title of Pokemon Champion. To do this, they need to travel to different towns and cities and defeat eight gym leaders to earn their badge. The plot was simple twenty two years ago, and it is just as basic now. Let’s Go Eevee does introduce cutscenes to emphasize certain events. I am usually impatient when it comes to cutscenes, but these feel natural and does help bring the nostalgic world of Pokemon to life.
___Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee’s graphics, while not being genre-defining, are pleasant. The way the light hits the in-game models make them feel new, even though Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee uses recycled Pokemon models. The cutscenes mentioned above show off the best of Let’s Go Eevee’s graphical prowess. What impressed me the most is that Pokemon are scaled appropriately. The best example of this is with Onix (a thirty-foot rock snake). When the player first sees it, it towers over them. This detail makes the creatures feel more formidable. Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee also allows the player to have a Pokemon of their choice to follow them. The player can even ride bigger Pokemon. Having your Pokemon with you makes the adventure feel special.
___The gameplay of Let’s Go Eevee is where it differentiates itself the most from its twenty-two-year-old original. A myriad of Pokemon appears in the wild. The main difference is, where Pokemon Yellow had random encounters with wild Pokemon, Let’s Go Eevee’s wild Pokemon are visible at all times, eliminating randomized encounters. When encountering wild Pokemon, the player no longer battles it to catch it. Instead, they either use the Joycon controller to simulate throwing the Pokeball or use the Nintendo Switch in portable mode to aim at the Pokemon in a mechanic reminiscent of the mobile game Pokemon Go. This change is refreshing, as every Pokemon has a different strategy to catch them due to how each of them moves and how big they are.
___Speaking of Pokemon Go, if the player does play Pokemon Go, they can transfer the Pokemon caught in Pokemon Go to Let’s Go Eevee, helping with the arduous task of catching every Pokemon (more on that later). There is a catch to transferring Pokemon in this manner; once a Pokemon is transferred from Pokemon Go to Let’s Go Eevee, it cannot return to Pokemon Go.
___My favorite aspect of Let’s Go Eevee is the cooperative option. At any time, another player can join in by grabbing an additional Joycon and shaking it, summoning a second trainer to catch and battle Pokemon alongside them, making Let’s Go Eevee that much more enjoyable. If the second player wants to take a break, they can shake the Joycon to remove themselves from the game.
___One criticism I have with Let’s Go Eevee is that one cannot catch every Pokemon when they only have one version. What sets Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee apart from each other is what Pokemon appear in the wild. I have always had a problem with this concept as this means one can get frustratingly close to catching every Pokemon, only to realize they need to ask a friend who has the other version, request an online trade, or have two consoles with each version of Let’s Go. All for that glorious certificate (that does nothing) and a charm that increases the chances of finding rare color variants of Pokemon encountered in the wild.
___Another gripe I have with Let’s Go is its low difficulty. Despite focusing on catching wild Pokemon, Let’s Go Eevee does have the player(s) battle with other computer-controlled trainers to advance in the story. The issue is that every trainer is a pushover, especially when playing cooperatively as every battle becomes a two versus one in the player’s favor, causing battles to feel trivial and makes me want to go back to catching Pokemon instead.
___My final major point of contention for Let’s go Eevee is that after the main story is complete, there is not much else to do. Sure one can try to catch every Pokemon (although as previously stated, this is difficult to do without external help), and they can battle against master trainers, who have Pokemon that have abilities no regular Pokemon of that species has, and that’s it.
___Even though Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee is far from a perfect game, the catching mechanics, the world-building, and the ability to have two players play at the same time make it a great game to enjoy with a friend or loved one. Let’s Go Eevee was a surprisingly good time. I would recommend it to those looking for a casual Pokemon game to play with either their kids or their friends.