Pokemon infiltrated so many avenues of our childhood, and it continues doing so even in the technology-riddled world of 2018.
Nintendo showcased gameplay of Pokemon: Let's Go, its exciting new take on the original ‘Pokemon Yellow’ for the Nintendo Switch at E3 2018. The Kanto region and original 150 Pokemon is bound to have struck the nostalgic chords in OG fans.
Pokemon fans were treated to an astounding 45-minute gameplay of Nintendo’s newest offering, Pokemon: Lets Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! developed by Game Freak. Pokemon director, producer and composer, Junichi Masuda, during Nintendo’s Treehouse Live Stream at E3, highlighted his vision behind the nostalgia-inducing reboot and how they brought into fruition, the primary objective of Pokemon: Let’s Go, catching ‘em all.
The RPG-style game, in line with the previous games, is aimed at ushering in a new, young audience that could be as invested in the franchise as the OG fans, by integrating the smash hit, Pokemon Go, into the core aesthetic and gameplay.
Pokemon: Let’s Go overall Gameplay
The extensive gameplay revealed a bunch of awe-striking features, some of which were already known and have been explained in greater detail while some were entirely unknown. The gameplay of Pokemon: Let’s Go kickstarted in the all-too-familiar, Viridian Forest, while the layout was largely unchanged, everything else, pretty much received a complete overhaul. The player enters the forest, with Pikachu (or Eevee) propped on their shoulder/head and a Pokemon from the team following you around (like the lovely, loyal Pocket Monsters they are!), who you can turn around and interact with as well.
Sprawled ahead of you, is the vast Viridian Forest that inhabits an array of wild Pokemon in the grass. Except, you can actually see the Pokemon running around the grass, ready to be encountered by a potential trainer. It is truly a glorious sight and gives the user a jolt when they realise how much these games have transformed since their 16-bit graphics predecessors.
Pokemon, once encountered in Pokemon: Let’s Go, no longer fight you, like the traditional Pokemon wild battles, instead the player catches them with a Poke ball in a very Pokemon Go-esque style. You either flick the Joy-Con to throw a Poke ball if you’re playing connected to the television, or you will need to line-up the Poke ball in a predetermined spot to ensure you snag the Pokemon inside you Poke ball if you’re playing on the Switch’s screen with the Joy-Cons attached.
They’ve even added berries to the mix, very much like Pokemon Go, where a Razz Berry, for instance, makes it easier to catch the Pocket Monster you are vying for. Catching a Pokemon successfully in Pokemon: Let’s Go will distribute experience among your entire party (team) and will allow them to level up much like defeating a wild Pokemon did, in the OG games.
Stats and Aura
The same species of Pokemon have different typings in size, where a red aura around the Pokemon indicate a larger than usual size and a blue aura indicates a smaller Pokemon in the very same species. The larger the size of your new team member, the higher the experience points distributed.
Players can also view the Pokemon’s stats prior to catching them in Pokemon: Let’s Go, which is a handy little feature for a Trainer who is searching for more specific stats in their Pokemon. Another interesting feature Masuda mentioned was that your partner Pokemon (Pikachu or Eevee) will wag its tail when it senses an item nearby. Gone are the days of Item Finders, your Pokemon are the new instinctive, treasure hunters!
Pokemon Battles with a friend
Pokemon battles, on the other hand, have stuck to the traditional route, with a list of four moves you can choose from to decimate your unsuspecting opponent. There’s a kicker here too, you can fight Trainers and even Gyms, with a partner player. Yes, that’s right! With a slight shake of the second Joy-Con, you can add a teammate into your Pokemon: Let’s Go universe.
Your friend can now play the game themselves, although you continue to remain the protagonist, and accompany you in your battles against all kinds of Trainers and wild Pokemon. Hell, you can even catch the same Pokemon together and get bonus when you successfully synchronize your Poke balls to catch the wild being.
Candies and Go Park
The regular Pokemon stats remain in Pokemon: Let’s Go, however, they are amalgamated by a newly added stat, straight from the Pokemon Go universe, CP or Combat Points. To further encourage the Trainer to catch a plethora of Pokemon, Pokemon: Let’s Go has candies which will allow powering up your Pokemon’s stats that you receive from Professor Oak when you transfer any Pokemon to him. Speaking of Pokemon Go, do you have a mega-powerful Dragonite lying somewhere in your Go collection? Well, go right ahead and transfer it to Pokemon Let’s Go and stomp your unsuspicious opponents.
You can do this at the GO Park, which replaces the Safari Zone present in Pokemon Yellow. You can transfer any Kanto region Pokemon from your Pokemon Go collection to Let’s Go through a process mediated by the Go Park. Enter the Go Park and you will see all your Kanto Pokemon running around the stretch of land. Simply approach the one you’d like as your teammate and catch them. If successfully caught, they will join your Pokemon Let’s Go collection and leave Pokemon Go, with a few candies of course!
A new rival Trace, replaces Gary or Blue from the OG games in Pokemon: Let’s Go. Which is an absolute bummer, because he is kind to the player character. It is fairly obvious that we will not get the absolute satisfaction of defeating him in battle like we did with Gary, who was an absolute douche. In addition to battling your rival throughout the game, you can also battle and trade with your real life rivals (friends), locally through Wi-Fi or online in Single or Double battles. However, players will be required to have a Switch Online subscription to battle or trade with their friends in Pokemon: Let’s Go.
The gameplay of Pokemon: Let’s Go also showcased the familiar Pewter City Gym with popular anime-character, Brock as the Gym Reader just like in the OG Kanto region games. The gym did not get a huge design makeover and stuck to the original aesthetics, except in 3D. Game Freak were clever enough to even let some of the old dialogues from Gym Trainer like, “You’re ten-thousand light-years from facing Brock!” remain, to induce an extra layer of nostalgia in players who have probably memorised all the dialogues from the original games, having played it countless number of times.
Poke Ball Plus Controller and Bundle
Masuda also revealed further details about the Poke Ball Plus controller, which first and foremost, will contain a few Mew inside it. Give it a shake and you can hear Mew’s cry. It is a fully functional controller that can be used to play Pokemon: Let’s Go instead of the Joy-Con. This controller also doubles as a Go Plus which can be used with your Pokemon Go account. The controller features a joystick to move around, an A button and a second button to cancel moves, that’s it. However, it is the feedback given by the adorable little controller that makes it exciting.
The ball vibrates, and gives active motion feedback for attacks, encounters and catches. The Joy-Con also does the same, however, it is more pronounced on the Poke ball Plus controller. Masuda announced that the bundle, containing the Let’s Go game and the Poke ball Plus Controller are priced at $99.99, while the controller is priced at $49.99 separately. Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! definitely highlight catching Pokemon in almost every aspect of the game, and truly instigate Pokemon Trainers to catch ‘em all.