Back in August last year, I was super excited about the prospect of the first Pokémon game to ever hit the Switch. There was a lot I was looking forward to; from the Pokéball Plus to playing multiplayer, and especially finally being able to walk around with my Pokémon again.
I kind of resigned myself to not being able to play it right away, because we didn’t have a Switch and because we didn’t have the money to buy ourselves one.
But then, for Christmas, I got one. And what was the first game I bought for it?
That’s right: Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee.
Now that I’ve defeated the Elite Four, less than two weeks later, I thought it high time to have a look at what I thought of it.
The starter system is different, but I like it.
Unlike typical Pokémon games, you start Let’s Go with a dictated Pokémon. No picking from one of three to save a silly professor who went into the tall grass sans Pokémon against one of the biggest common-knowledge points of the entire franchise.
Whichever version you pick of the game, that’s your starter. I was super excited about it, because Eevee has always been a favourite of mine (could it get any cuter?!), and I was very excitedly planning what I wanted to evolve it into.
Ironically, though, the game actually bars you from evolving your starter Pokémon. If you try to give your Eevee a stone, it will growl and refuse.
Instead, you get some weird new moves.
Because you’d probably have a bad time and/or stop using your starter if it only used the typical moves, this game introduces some new ones.
If you talk to the right people in the Pokémon Centers, you can learn some unheard-of moves. I’m talking things like Bouncy Bubble, Buzzy Buzz, Sizzly Slide and Sparkly Swirl (may or may not be my current moveset), just to name a few.
I was about 90% sure at the beginning that it was some kind of weird scam, but I went for it, and they’re actually just moves that got introduced especially for your partner Eevee. Pikachu gets a bunch too, including a Flying move that uses balloons.
The moves themselves are incredibly broken too; for example, Bouncy Bubble acts like Leech Life and restores your HP, Buzzy Buzz and Sizzly Slide guarantee paralysis or a burn, and Sparkly Swirl removes all status effects from your whole team, in addition to doing a ton of damage.
Eevee is broken.
To make up for the fact that your starter will never achieve evolution-level stats, your starter gets a little…boost. I mean, obviously Eevee and Pikachu couldn’t have their typical stats—or their typical moves.
Eevee in particular is very scary when it’s raised properly; it gains a lot of health and speed, and with the specialized moves, it can take out just about anything.
My little Eevee, Edo (yes, named for Fullmetal Alchemist), can almost single-handedly take out the entire Elite Four at their second-round levels at level 63. The only time another Pokémon makes an appearance is when I take on the Fighting trainer, and I just send out my Dragonite!
The wild encounter style is way different.
Typically, in Pokémon games, a wild encounter means a battle—where if you want to catch something, you have to either use a Quick Ball right off the bat, or get its health low enough for it to stay in a normal Pokéball.
Not in Let’s Go.
Almost every encounter goes straight to a Pokémon Go-style catching system, shrinking coloured circles and all. It also uses the berries we’ve become familiar with in Go to help with the process! There’s no option to battle, and a successful catch is what gets your entire team experience points.
This also makes it super easy to level up your whole team, without having to spend a lot on potions and whatnot.
The only time you actually battle a wild Pokémon is when you run into a legendary. And even there, it’s not your typical battle. You actually have to make them faint, and then you get a chance to catch them. So if you pull your punches like we were all trained to do in every other game, you’re going to have a bad time.
The multiplayer isn’t what I was expecting.
One of the biggest things I was excited about for this game was that it was going to be multiplayer. However, even when I first wrote about it, I knew there were limitations to the function.
The most noticeable of these is that it’s only local multiplayer.
Basically, the game is structured so that if there happens to be someone else around, they can grab a second Joy-Con and join your game as a secondary player. They don’t get to create a character, they don’t get to have their own team, and they don’t get to save their progress.
It essentially turns you into one of those trainer couples you used to run into in older versions; the second player takes on your second-in-party Pokémon, and you can battle trainers two-on-one.
And lastly, the Pokédex is actually manageable.
One of the biggest pet peeves I’ve had about Pokémon games in general, especially in versions after Black and White, is that it’s just not feasible to complete your Pokédex. I mean, in that version, there were 649 Pokémon to find, and a lot of them required you to use the transfer service, which was just a gong show.
In a very nice tribute to Pokémon Yellow, the original inspiration for Let’s Go, it actually reverts back to the original Pokédex of 151. Which would explain why my Golbat didn’t evolve when I traded it.
It also means that a lot of the Fairy-type Pokémon (my least favourite of all the types, because they nerfed Dragon) that were brought in with the introduction of that type don’t exist in this version. So my Dragonite is actually powerful again, and I love it!
So that’s what I think of Pokémon Let’s Go so far! All in all, it’s a fun play, and I’m excited to see what my little Eevee will be able to do at level 100.