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Review: Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu – tracksuit Pika is OP

Let’s go f*** s*** up, Pikachu.

pokemon let's go review
Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie

[letsreview postid=”80371″]

Ok, so I had to admit something. I’ve played Pokémon, but I’ve never really played Pokémon before. I dabbled in Red and Blue, I played a bit of X (or maybe it was Y), and I have about 20 hours in Pokémon Ultra Moon. Now, if we’re talking about Pokémon Go, well, I have sunk plenty of hours into that one.

Go is what finally helped me understand the fervor around the title, and with Pokémon: Let’s Go, I was all in. I would catch the majority.

Gameplay in Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu

So, with my limited time with other titles, one thing I knew I didn’t like was the random encounters. I just feel as gamers and games have evolved over the years, there just isn’t much place for them. Pokémon: Let’s Go alleviates that problem by putting the spawns directly on the map. Want to have that encounter? Go for it. Want to run around the entire section and get to the next gym? Go for it.

pokemon let's go review

Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie

Overworld Pokémon also mean the shiny hunt can be a bit easier to manage. While still difficult, being able to see them on the map (unlike Pokémon Go, which requires you to start the encounter) is a nice feature. Also being able to chain catch particular Pokémon to improve your chances at shiny and higher IV Pokémon makes the grind feel a bit more focused.

Now, unlike past Pokémon games, Let’s Go does not require you to battle every single encounter you come across. Instead, it uses Pokémon Go mechanics, meaning you just throw a Pokéball to attempt the catch. The better the throw, the higher the multiplier and XP you get from the catch. People are torn on this system, but personally, I’m a fan.

Also, riding around on Machamp’s shoulders may be my favorite thing.

pokemon let's go review

Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie

Gym and trainer battles in Pokémon: Let’s Go

Even without individual Pokémon battles, Let’s Go features enough trainers to battle to keep it interesting. You have your eight gym leaders, obviously, the Elite Four, and plenty of passionate Pokémon people out in the world who want to battle.

Once you finish your Elite Four battles, you also unlock Master Trainers. Master Trainers are found throughout the world and require you to have certain Pokémon leveled up to even trigger the battle.

pokemon let's go review

Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie

One thing Pokémon: Let’s Go introduced that previous games didn’t feature, the ability to access your Pokémon box from anywhere in the world. This makes the trainer battles quite a bit easier and keeps you from sinking as much money into potions or time running back to towns, as you can just switch them out when they get knocked out.

Graphics, sounds, all that jazz

The game is pretty. It looks like a Pokémon game. The vibrant colors of the various towns make everything feel unique, and the sunbeams in Viridian Forest are magical. It will not win any awards for its graphics, but it doesn’t need to.

pokemon let's go review

Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie

Music and sound effects are right on the money and you’ll often find yourself bopping to the various beats. I would have been ok with a bit more production value in some of the music and cutscenes, but it always felt right, so it’s hard to complain about that.

If you are a Pokémon Go player, you also have the option to bring Pokémon over from the mobile title into your Let’s Go game. Word of warning – once the Mons are in Let’s Go, they are there to stay. No take backs. When transferring, you have to go to the Go Park to collect your transferred Pokémon.

pokemon let's go review

Image: Josiah Motley / KnowTechie

Issues with Pokémon: Let’s Go

The issues are few and far between, with my only real gripe being around the controls. Unless you’re playing in portable mode, motion is required to throw the Pokéball. This means docked mode (which uses just one Joy-Con) or the Pokéball that came with the special edition.

This limits accessibility for many gamers who do not have the full control of their arms to make the required throws. Also, there is no Pro Controller support, which definitely seems like an oversight.

Overall, Pokémon: Let’s Go is a solid experience and one well worth the $60 price tag. If you are a fan of Pokémon or looking for an easy to get into RPG/collection game, this is it.

Pokémon: Let’s Go is available for Nintendo Switch.

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Former KnowTechie editor.

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