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Published on May 30th, 2018 | by voxx


Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee!

This morning I woke to the news that a trailer and official release date have finally released for the first mainline Pokemon RPG on Nintendo Switch. While the games look lovely and they’ve packed in new features, the news has already left hardcore fans disappointed, but as a longstanding player of these games since the very beginning, I really don’t see the problem. Sure, it looks very different from what we’re used to, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be fun games in their own right. Pokemon games for me have always been a release, and this is exactly what I’m expecting this time round.

Nintendo have always tried to be as innovate as possible with their hardware and mechanics, and while the motion controls used to capture Pokemon appears to be wildly different to the full handheld adventures, the trailer still shows us a new side to the beloved Kanto region – and we get to have our Pokemon follow us again too! People can be so scared of change sometimes, but who knows, this might even be a change for the better. After all, there have been new features in the past that have put us on edge, but are now just the norm. Like with anything new, we’re just going to have to wait and see. And while I’m all for a complex and challenging RPG, it might actually be quite nice to not be randomly jumped by wild Pokemon when I least expect it.

We don’t learn much about these games from the 3 minute trailer, but we do get a snapshot of the overall look and feel. Graphically, they appear to have stuck with the type of art style we’ve grown accustomed to with the 3DS titles, only the edges are far slicker and the colours somehow more vibrant. We also know that we’ll be once again travelling the Kanto region, first explored in Red and Blue for Gameboy, and yet it’s made fresh by teasing locations that are visibly very different from their original designs. It also appears that your Pikachu or Eevee can wear a variety of outfits and accessories, which is a cute little gimmick, and suggests more additional little extras will be included too as part of the package.

Encountering wild Pokemon is possibly the biggest change we’re immediately faced with, as shown about a minute in when we reach Mt. Moon. You can see the wild Pokemon lurking around as you could always see trainers or items, and you initiate combat by simply running into the ones you want to fight. Admittedly, this is slightly concerning as not fighting and weakening the wild Pokemon (instead relying on a physical flick of the wrist, not dissimilar to the finger catching method used in Pokemon Go) does make the experience seem a little hollow and it bodes the question of how the levelling system might work. However, we’re still being given a solid story to explore with our old friends Team Rocket, a decent map to traverse, a chance to fly around on Charizard’s back, and it would seem gone are the days of accidentally knocking out something you desperately wanted.

In addition to the way the game progresses, these titles are clearly another attempt from Nintendo to be fully interactive, and while it’s unclear what lies in store in terms of multi-player play online, such as link battles and wonder trade, it’s a sweet addition to allow you to explore co-operatively with a friend sitting next to you on the same Switch. The single joy-con controls are probably going to take some getting used to, but I trust that they know what they’re doing. We have also learned that you can transfer your Pokemon from Pokemon Go into the games, which is great if you’ve managed to chance finding a rare one or got to grips with Raid Battles, as I’d imagine some stronger or rarer beasts are going to take a little more effort in the Switch games themselves. And if you don’t play Pokemon Go or see it as cheating, you can clearly just happily go along your way catching in-game.

Sure, something new would have been nice as opposed to yet another rehash of Kanto, but honestly, as much as I hate to say it, I genuinely don’t think Pokemon has the same effect on kids as it did back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Sure, a more serious-looking title might appeal to us veterans, but at the end of the day Pokemon Go was wildly popular, and I think Nintendo are being smart in trying to draw in a new fan base by using this basic model. It might not be Generation 8, but we all know that’s coming eventually, and with this we still get the feel of a genuine RPG with beautifully imagined top-down towns and routes – it’ll certainly be keeping me busy until the next release in the series, that’s for sure.

- By Victoria Hydes

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