Pokemon Let’s go Pikachu

Over the past few months I’ve found myself getting more and more into playing games on my Nintendo Switch.  In itself this is quite odd because I bought it over a year ago and haven’t really played it since getting 90% of the way through the main story line on Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but of late I’ve bought around 20 games and I’ll be honest, I am loving the Switch.

Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu was a bit of an impulse buy for me, I’d heard relatively little about it but had been told it was a remake of the original Red/Blue/Yellow games but with much better interface and with lots of learnings they’d taken from following generations making this potentially the greatest Pokemon game ever.

In my opinion this is one of my favourite Pokemon games ever, the only real problem I had with the game, and still do to some extent, is the removal of the battle system when you encounter Pokemon in the wild.  This was a huge disappointment to me and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’d considered selling it as soon as I encountered my first few wild Pokemon, especially as I didn’t actually know about the changes to the encounter system.  Thankfully I stuck with it because as I fought my first trainer things started to feel a lot like Pokemon again and over time I came to enjoy the challenge tracking the little blighters and in timing my throw so it was “Excellent” .

Thinking back over my time playing it this past week or two I think a good part of the enjoyment was in the familiarity of the Pokemon too, there are over 800 Pokemon now (I think) and then there are some which have had touch ups to new Alloah forms, but the original 150 have a special place in my heart. 

My favourite change to the game, second to none, is the fact that now as you wander through the world of Pokemon you can actually see the Pokemon wander around in the field before you encounter, and try to capture them. This for me is a huge quality of life improvement that really helped me complete the Pokedex. 

The next change I really enjoyed was the removal of HM’s, for those of you that don’t know HM’s (Hidden Machines) are skills which you get in the game which allow you to access new content i.e. Surf would allow you to travel on water so you could get to Islands or encounter water Pokemon, these are still in the game in a fashion but rather than having to teach them to a Pokemon in your party, Pikachu learns them and they don’t take up a skill slot like they did in previous games.  What this meant for me, and I am guessing for a lot of players, is that you no longer need to have a HM Pokemon in your party, freeing you up to have 6 battle worth Pokemon.

There are a lot of other really enjoyable changes to the game too, from being able to travel with a pokemon next to you and it actually being the right size to the bike and rod being removed from the game and instead fast travelling on the larger Pokemon like Snorlax, these are just a couple of the features/enhancements that really stand out to me.  

As for the downsides I really only have two, the first of which is with the capture system.  While you do get used to the system over time it can be infuriating if you are chaining captures to get a genuine competitive Pokemon with amazing IV’s (these are coveted for their stats making them better than the average Pokemon). Typically in my experience it will go one of a couple of ways, either you will spend an hour running round capturing your Pikachu’s and you’ll get a combo of 40-50 captures then you’ll encounter one little bastard who just won’t get in the Pokeball and before you know it your combo is dead and you have to start again.

The second issue I have is the pay wall for the pokeball plus accessory, I completely understand the fact that this is partially because the R&D costs for making it were quite high, and it’s probably a complex piece of hardware but in putting Mew in the pokeball plus Gamefreak/Nintendo have made it so you must pay for the pokeball if you want Mew and worse if you’re a completionist then you will absolutely need a Mew as there is a Mew master trainer at the end of the game which you have to beat with Mew in your party.

There are a couple of other minor issues I have with the game especially your partner Pokemon, Pikachu in my case, learning some really epic moves which completely overpower it to the point that you have an electric Pokemon with water and flying attacks which deal great damage or the degradation of the trade system where you can’t easily trade as you could on the 3DS but all that said it still is one of my favourite games on the console and possibly on any console I’ve played this year.

I think I’ve rambled on enough with this post, so to bring it to a close I’d like to recommend that anyone who is on the fence about getting this game go out and get it, it really is a lot of fun and before you know it you’ll be a Pokemon master.

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