"This game evokes a childhood innocence in even the hardest of hearts, and I'm sure it will charm many Trainers this November."
While we wait for the next main Pokémon entry on Switch, we are being given Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu/Let's Go Eevee on November 16. A remake of Pokémon Yellow, this game looks to bring the fun of Pokémon Go and traditional battles to your living room with the Switch. There have been a few rumours regarding the way this game plays, so I took the opportunity to go hands-on with the game at E3 to see what is true and what isn't.
Pokémon Yellow is one of my personal favourites, as it allows you to recruit all three starters and gave you an experience that was like the anime, which really made a young me very happy. Like in Yellow, you can have a partner Pokémon follow you around. In the original, you took Pikachu and your rival took Eevee. Since there are two games, you now have the choice of picking either Pikachu or Eevee when you make your game selection. The current partner Pokémon will follow the trainer around along with Pikachu/Eevee.
The way Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu/Let's Go Eevee is different from traditional games is that it uses the Pokémon Go style of catching Pokémon. When you encounter a wild Pokémon (now roaming on the overworld instead of having random encounters), you no longer battle it with your own Pokémon. Instead, you employ tactics as you would in Pokémon Go. Berries allow you to more easily catch Pokémon, and you must throw Poké Balls physically to catch Pokémon. Pokémon can bat Poké Balls away if you don't time your throw correctly, or they can also dodge.
Like in recent Pokémon games, you gain experience points from catching Pokémon. In Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu/Let's Go Eevee, you can earn bonus points for things including throwing a Poké Ball with good timing, catching it on your first throw, and having a good throwing technique. Just as in Pokémon Go, this way of leveling up also incentivizes players to catch more Pokémon instead of just ignoring them. In the early stages of the game that I played, wild Pokémon wander around without a care in the world, but I have been told that later on in the game, wild Pokémon will be more aggressive and chase you. I do like this change, as it feels more like you're actually in a world surrounded by Pokémon.
Yes, there are actual battles. Whenever you enter a Trainer battle, this functions much more like a traditional Pokémon fight. This part is the most familiar, allowing you to battle just as you always have. Now that the fights have moved from the 3DS to the Switch, battles are much smoother with clearer and crisper backgrounds. Character models are inspired by Pokémon Go's look and feel, but scaled up to look much better. Pikachu and Eevee will jump off your shoulder to join the battle, which is very endearing to watch. Pikachu and Eevee don't have the traditional Pokémon cries, opting instead to speak their own names like in the anime. Speaking of the sound department, the game features remixes of the original Red/Blue/Yellow soundtrack, bringing back very nostalgic feelings in this Pokémon fan.
Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu/Let's Go Eevee is looking to recapture the feeling many had when they experienced a return to their childhood in Pokémon Go. Remaking one of the most beloved games in the franchise is sure to bring fans back for another adventure through Kanto. While the mandatory motion controls may be a turn off for some, I'm certain eager fans are just dying to throw their Poké Balls the way they did when they were kids. This game evokes a childhood innocence in even the hardest of hearts, and I'm sure it will charm many Trainers this November.