In case you somehow missed it, The Pokemon Company held a press conference last Wednesday. well, three (technically five) New Pokemon titles were announced. The most-talked about games were Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee. Coming this November, these games have been heavily rumored for a while now. We were all just waiting for that confirmation.
When these games were simply rumors, many (myself included) were lamenting these titles that were all but assured. In fact, I was actively against most of the thing’s I’d heard about it. But, a funny thing happened during the announcement. From watching the trailer to learning about the future of Pokemon (more on that later), I finally came around to Let’s Go. In fact, I am actively excited about it. How did Game Freak manage to do that?
Like I said, I was down on Let’s Go during the whole rumor stage. I laid out my thoughts fairly clearly here, but I can summarize it shortly. The main reason was due to another return to Kanto. While the First Generation still remains the most popular, a feeling of fatigue towards everything related to that generation began to set in for me.
Now don’t get me wrong, I adore the original set of 151 monsters. While I don’t necessarily agree they’re the strongest group of designs, there is a charm about that first batch. But there’s also a feeling that Pokemon has leaned a little too heavily in them in the past few years. Pokemon Go and the newly-released Pokemon Quest both released exclusively with the original Pokemon. The 151 had a huge spotlight on them in the last two generations. They were beginning to feel tired to me.
Let’s Go were rumored to be heavily influenced by Pokemon Go. Rumors that were to be confirmed. These rumors were my biggest worries. The Pokemon games are simple on the surface, but if you dig deeper, you find a system full of intricacies. Pokemon Go, understandably, completely simplifies that system. The metagame was completely taken away. I was worried that Let’s Go would be a step too far back away from the depth that made the games so addicting. Thankfully, these were fears that were alleviated.
Still Looking Ahead
Besides Pokemon Quest and Pokemon Let’s Go, another title was announced. A brand-new core Pokemon RPG was will be releasing late 2019. This was the game that was teased at last year’s E3. This is the next generation of Pokemon. Pokemon Let’s Go is just a way to curb our appetites until then.
See, we were all going under the assumption that these were the next generation of Pokemon games. That’s why I was worried about these titles. I wanted the next generation, the first on consoles, to really push the franchise as a whole forward. Knowing what we know now, it’s easy to figure that Game Freak wants to use this opportunity to stake their claim on the series’ new home.
It’s also clear that with these Eight Generation titles (assuming there’s going to be more than one), the battle system that has defined Pokemon is not being scrapped. If the new generation were to be a more simplified game, it would really do a lot to hurt the franchise overall. Thankfully, while Let’s Go will be a simplified experience, next year will have a game for the hardcore enthusiasts that will oppose these changes.
After watching the series, it’s clear to see what space Let’s Go occupies. It’s not trying to be the same game that whatever next year’s title will be. While it will be a nice distraction (for lack of a better term) before the next generation, it also serves its own purpose.
A Game For All
The mission statement of Let’s Go is clear. They are a simplified Pokemon experience for trainers of every age. It’s no secret that Pokemon Go introduced the series to a lot of players, many of whom are younger and may not have played the main games. The new Switch entries will provide the perfect entry point for those gamers, and could also serve as a jumping-off point for whatever games come out in 2019.
While Pokemon is one of (if not the) most accessible RPG’s, there still is a depth to the mechanics that can act as barriers. Let’s Go is a melding of the two battle systems. While battling against NPC trainers will have the same battle systems as previous RPGs, catching Pokemon is where the Go influence shines.
For a game like this, I feel like that is the smartest route. Catching Pokemon will be familiar to players who only know Go. There’s no battling wild Pokemon, only catching in a mechanic reminiscent (if not exactly like) Go. But trainer battles is where players can be introduced to the more complex battle system.
Players can become more familiar with the battle system as they battle trainers. They can then apply this knowledge to battling and catching wild Pokemon in the next entries. They will be able to understand some of the complexities of that are not necessarily showcased in Go. Mechanics like stats and leveling up may not necessarily be showcased in this year’s games, but that is something that can be understood if players have the basics down.
Pokemon Let’s Go may be a simplified gameplay experience. But it is a simplified experience to get players more ingratiated into the future core entries. And that is where the value of the titles are showcased.
A Necessary Game
Looking at the big picture, I realize the necessity of Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. They are designed to appeal mainly to players of Go. Players who may have either never played a Pokemon RPG or who have lapsed from the series. This is also why the game focuses on the original set of 151. That is what Pokemon Go launched with, and they are the creatures most associated with the mobile sensation.
I do appreciate that Let’s Go is looking at the First Generation through the eyes of the Seventh Generation. Types like Steel and Fairy are a still in play, as many Pokemon from this set had their types changed. (There will be no Dark-type Pokemon, unfortunately, though there will still be Dark moves.) And it won’t be a complete remake of Pokemon Yellow. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were criticized for sticking too closely to the originals, but these titles aren’t taking this route. The Poke Ride feature is returning from Sun and Moon. This feature, which replaced the antiquated HMs, really helped streamlined the gameplay.
In reality, Pokemon fans should be excited. We have two new entires on the horizon, both fufilling a certain need. Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee may be a simplified gameplay experience, but that doesn’t mean it won’t satisfy Pokemon fans. We just need to give it a chance.
Plus, a co-op Pokemon game is something we all need.
Are you excited for Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee? Does this simplified experience appeal to you? Or are you going to wait until the next generation of games? Let us know! And be sure to follow us on all our social media accounts!