Enlarge / High-Five, Eevee!Earlier this year, I took the world's first "true" console Pokémon games for a press demo spin…
Earlier this year, I took the world’s first “true” console Pokémon games for a press demo spin , and I was almost instantly bored.
The new (optional) Poké Ball-shaped controller was uncomfortable. The waggle-loaded capturing system was simplistic. The E3 demo’s letter gameplay slice was repetitive. And the zone was one fans have played through a zillion times. Pokémon was coming to Nintendo Switch, alright, but this was not the “Generation 8” many fans had hoped for.
Yet something about that brief glimpse at Pokémon Let’s Go put a little worm into my brain . (Probably a Weedle.) Weeks later, I wondered: Is there something here? Was Nintendo breaking down the sincere tissue of age-old JRPGs in a way that seems boring in a crowded expo hall, but might prove perfect for a long, semi-portable adventure?
Especially for someone who-let’s face it-never fit Pokémon into his gaming diet?
Reviews for the game have come pouring ahead of today’s worldwide launch, and some are targeted at people who know the series’ Kanto region like the back of their Poké-hand. Me, I’m a guy who cut his teeth on random-battle JRPGs only to break up with the genre once I got older. I wanted to put Nintendo’s adult-minded sales pitch to the test.
The result is by no means a must-play game for anyone who is crashed with video games. If breezily collecting monsters in a fantasy country sounds silly to you, that will persist. But Pokémon Let’s Go taps into my long-dormant JRPG interest-one I’m sure a few of you share-and this is the game that has finally put a breeze into my hair about this whole collection-them -all thing.
That Bulbasaur is our ally, so it trails our hero and sometimes sniffs out hidden items. Everything else on the screen is a wild Pokémon, and walking into them starts a battle.
Time for a Poké Ball-tossing mini-game.
When playing in portable mode, you’ll move the system around, at Pokémon Go ‘s augmented reality mode, to aim your Poke Ball throws.
It’s just a button press in handheld mode. Når du docker, eller når du bruger Poké Ball Plus, vil du bruge en real-life throwing motion to toss, og det bestemmer hastighed og arc.
Tougher enemies bounce around all over the screen, but you can use specific items on them to calm things down.
The resolution is a little low in portable mode (from which all screens are taken), but everything pops nicely on the Switch’s screen. We are keen on the lighting and shadow effects in this game.
Pokémon Red and Blue (] (] or, as Let’s Go director Junichi Masuda says, Pocket Monsters Red and Green which were the true Game Boy originals in Japan). The layout of the region, the cast of monsters, the focus on one-on-one monster face-offs, even the two-version gimmick that requires trading monsters with real-life friends-they’re all there. Unsurprisingly, so is the basic plot thrust of being yet another kid finally getting in on this monster-catching business. A man by the name of Professor Oak gives you your first creature, your first Poké Balls, and a simple directive: either catch every single one to help with his research, or simply train your favorite monsters up to win “gym battles” across the Kanto region.
The most notable differences come from the word “Go” in the title. You may have heard about a little smartphone game called Pokémon Go, still topping smartphone download (and income) lists since launching two years ago. In dat spel, spelers gewoon lopen naar Pokémon in real-world locaties, dan dragen ze ze en pakken ze in een Poké Ball-throwing mini-game. You can eventually engage in Pokémon battles, in which the monsters’ types (grass, water, fire, electric, etc.) play off each other in a complicated rock-paper-Scyther matrix, but those fights are simplified from their source material- As are other series staples like Gym Battles.
Pokémon Let’s Go on the other hand, has a clever idea about all this. It mixes up the original games’ random-battle doldrums with some Pokémon Go smartphone inspirations and leaves most of the other stuff intact.
When you meander around the familiar Kanto region in this new game, classic monsters kan nu ses som vandring på skærmen, i stedet for eksisterende som invisible ånd, der overrasker dig. If you want to get into a “random battle,” walk up to the monster with your character, and a poker ball throwing mini-game starts. A standard Joy-Con can be used to replicate a throwing motion, or if that sounds annoying, you can opt for a joystick and buttons to aim your tosses. Catch the monster to toss it into your bag (much bigger in this game) and score experience points for your monster roster.
These meetings can be canceled at any time , and they effectively replace the unsavory truth of the JRPG gate: the old standard of tapping the “attack” button over and over and over two level-up. And I sure do not miss it. In oudere games, random battles rarely bieden veel educatieve of strategische waarde over het maken van spelers die een meer geschikte Pokémon voor een bepaalde zone (dat wil zeggen “het is een watery gebied, zo Squirtle is useless here”), uitgerust. En in sommige gevallen, je bent gewoon aan het lopen in een gegeven patch of gras tot een rare monster verschijnt.
Maar wat als de druk-A-over-en-over standaard werd swapped met een quick-flick alternatief ? Og hvad hvis du umiddelbart kunne se hvilke monstre var i din zone, så at du ikke spilder din tid med 40.000 useless rattatas? Pokémon Let’s Go places a bet on both of these ideas as upgrades, and they sure feel that way in action.
“Measure” me? Professor Oak, have not we done this, oh, umpteen times now?
Familiar environs to start.
Again, what’s with nobody recognizing me around here?
Your Pokémon journey begins with Poke Ball selection … AGAIN.
Team Rocket blasts off again.
You’ll eventually uncover a bunch of outfits for both your trainer and your “primary” monster (either Eevee or Pikachu).
Fully blown fights against trainers are plentiful and often satisfyingly challenging.
Attack animations in the game’s 3D fights get roughly this close to actually showing the monsters strike each other, which is an upgrade from previous editions.
I mean that seems super effective.
Beating fellow trainers usually results in some sort of item and cash pickup.
Lots of series standards return …
… with flashy animations and graphics, to boot.
The experience grind is also streamlined in this catch-’em system, as all six monsters in your party (the series’ standard number) enjoy a flood of experience points after each encounter, whether it’s a full-blown battle or a Quick Poké Ball throw.
There are certainly still classic Pokémon battles to be had. In fact, more wishful trainers dot your journey than in previous games. Mange av de trenerne på din rejse er affilieret med famed serier villains Team Rocket, som nyter en bestemt Saturday Morning Cartoon smag i deres cheesy shouts against you. When any Pokémon-toting humans spot you, a fight against 1-3 Pokémon ensues … and maybe it’s because the random battles have been removed, but the Let’s Go development team has definitely turned the battle-difficulty Heat up earlier in this game.
Meaning, when you do get down to Poke battling in Let’s Go it more immediately has stakes. This shift represents a smart reallocation of the game’s “battling” currency, and I found myself quickly graduating to research and plotting about smart party formation.
The rest of the good stuff in the base experience-namely, the production values-will likely delight series faithful more than newcomers. I appreciate the fully 3D characters running around, the clean character designs for all of the trainers, the beautiful world designs, the shadow and lighting effects, and the immaculately played, full-orchestra spins on the series’ existing melodies. (The latter is easily one of the finest in a Pokémon game yet, and it makes Dragon Quest XI ‘s MIDI-soaked trash fire of a score sound even dancer in comparison.) But the way all of this aesthetic content comes together seems more like a dream version of Pokémon Red and Blue for those games’ oldest fans, than a design catering to brand new players fresh off of Pokémon Go .
Otherwise, we are in traditional Pokémon territory. Du kan forvente et relativt lineært trajector gjennom Kantoområdet, rikelig med adgang til meget nødvendige Pokéballs og monstermedicin, et behov for at balancere dine monsters’ ever-changing range of attacks, buffs, and evolutions, cheesy encounter with friends and rivals alike
In other words, that’s all I wanted from Pokémon Go in the first place.
Turn to page two for a lot more on the new Poké Ball Plus accessory, and how it connects both to this game and to Pokémon Go …