Alola PokeNerds! Welcome to the first Straight Outta Kanto blog post of 2019. Straight Outta Kanto – your brand new number one blog for nerd culture, nostalgia, nonsense and… more!
So, first and foremost, I wish you all a (belated!) wonderful New Year. May 2019 be the year we finally get our Gen 4 remake – it is the tenth anniversary of Pokemon Platinum‘s release after all so fingers crossed…!
Also, exciting news, Straight Outta Kanto has just been recruited by the fantastic Valkyrie Con to host a Pokemon Panel at this year’s Valkyrie Con convention in Dublin, more news on that sooooon!
Right, down to business. I got Pokemon: Let’s Go Eevee for Christmas 2018 and needless to say I crawled into a vat of gooey Switch based nerdness and did not climb out for several days. (I’m receiving Let’s Go: Pikachu for my birthday later this month!)
Let’s Go Eevee is literally a direct re-make of 1998’s Pokemon Yellow. Pokemon Yellow was the Gen 1 game created entirely as a T.V. franchise tie-in but captured the hearts of fans better than a Master Ball primarily due to the upgraded addition of being able to obtain all three starter Pokemon and a heavy dose of Kawaii As Feck-ness smeared all over it by mascot Pikachu. (And the inclusion of Jesse and James… JOY!!!)
When the news first broke last Spring that the first main Pokemon excursion on the Switch would be a Pokemon Yellow/Pokemon GO mash-up, the feedback was divided. I’ve been championing a Pokemon Yellow remake for years now but don’t play GO myself so was excited but also apprehensive about how skewered a traditional gaming format we were going to get. Thankfully the game was almost completely playable as a standard Pokemon game, the Pokemon GO elements were more light touches and nods than heavily integrated features.
The main things I loved about Let’s Go Eevee are mostly superficial upgrades such as improved and and updated graphics and soundtrack – with each game and console we’re getting a more and more life-like Pokemon gaming experience which I don’t know about you but I am totally okay with. The more immersion in the Pokemon World the better if you ask me.
Sadly there was little or not plot development beyond the basic Pokemon Yellow story line. Game Freak surpassed themselves in 2014 with the Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire remakes and have set a standard of rebooting that sadly Let’s Go falls far short of meeting. Don’t get me wrong, there are the odd tweaks and turns in the story that make an enjoyable and engaging time for old and new players alike but nothing that deviates too far from the original format.
There were also moments in the plot that felt like wasted opportunities – such as: Lorelei from the Elite 4 swimming down the lake by Rock Tunnel on her Lapras like a BOSS and helping you tackle Team Rocket. I thought that this meant the game was going to draw influence from the original Pokemon manga series (out at the time that Yellow was released) and have the Gym Leaders and Elite 4 members take a more invested interest in wiping out Team Rocket, but alas! Lorelei’s appearance was the one and only time the Elite 4 showed up in the fight against crime. This was a sore disappointment as all signs pointed to an increase in story development.
Another high-point/disappointment was the fantastic show down in Team Rocket’s Celadon City Game Corner hide-out. There the game play became more like a Pokemon Ranger/Detective Pikachu game where Pokemon Eevee herself becomes more hands-on in the adventure. A really cool function I thought, but sadly this was the only instance in the game of this happening. If Game Freak were just testing this out this time around, I sincerely hope they’ll include it in future games.
Another controversial point was the method of catching Pokemon in Let’s Go. Instead of carefully battling the wild Pokemon you’d mimic GO‘s capture method of lobbing balls at the Pokemon instead. While I did feel a lack of emotional connection to my party Pokemon because I wasn’t grinding them and using moves in battle, I did enjoy this method of capture as it emulates how I primarily capture my own Pokemon in other games. Yes. I’m lazy.
The complete lack of HMs was a godsend! Eevee learning all the cutsie techniques such as “Chop Down” and “Sky Dash” and “Sea Skim” was a welcome addition and also Kawaii as Feck pottering about the sky in a balloon machine with my Eevee. Eevee travelling with you outside the PokeBall and getting all dressed up in sweet little outfits was an adorable (yet superficial) part of the game. Also having the option to have an extra party Pokemon travel outside the ball with you and in some instance become a method of transport (flying over Kanto on Aerodactyl and leaving cool-as-hell Game of Thrones style dragon shadows over the buildings was an amazing feeling…!)
The Gym Leaders posed relatively no major competition, the stats of Pokemon grow considerably fast in Let’s Go, thankfully so getting to whup the old gang’s ass in beautifully renovated gyms was a pleasure! The option to re-battle all eight Gym Leaders once a day post Championship is also a new addition that is most welcome. Gary Oak taking over from Giovanni is also a great touch that, correct me if I’m wrong, could also hint at a Let’s Go: Gold & Silver version in the future, which I would dearly welcome.
Beyond battling a terrifyingly hyper-powered MewTwo in Cerulean Cave, re-battling Gym Leaders and the Elite 4 and fighting with Alolan Fairy Trial Captain Mina every day in Vermillion City there’s not a whole heap of post-game content. Also, the PokeBall Plus console that I paid nearly as much as the game for was a disappointing and malfunctioning waste of money – it was nice to get the free Mew inside it, but oh my Jigglypuffs, what a fiasco, stay away from it!
Look, as a non-main RPG Pokemon game this was a light and entertaining bit of fluff with really intriguing new elements that I hope they integrate into future Pokemon Switch games. I would give this game 7/10 for lack of plot development but for Eevee based cuteness it gets full marks. Wait till it comes down in price in the January sales and give it at least one decent play through, it’s worth that alone!
There we have it nerdlings! Keep watching the skeys, I mean skies!
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