During my time at Gamescom 2018, I got to pay a visit to Nintendo. During my stay, I had the opportunity to play some Pokemon Let’s Go. This was the first time that the game was playable, so I absolutely had to give it a whirl. The experience was short, yet pretty fun. Basically, I got just a taste of what the full game is going to offer. And, I have to say, I’m all about it. It got me wanting more.
Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee & Pikachu at Gamescom 2018
The demo of Pokemon Let’s Go I got to play at Gamescom 2018 was fairly short; a couple of minutes total. But, I did get a general sense of how the game plays; better yet, they gave us the PokeBall controllers to play with for the full experience. They didn’t allow any recording of the gameplay, which makes sense, so you’ll have to take my word for it. In short, Pokemon Let’s Go is going to be a mixture of Pokemon GO and Pokemon Yellow from days of yore. The goal is clearly to draw in a new bunch of gamers into the more traditional format of Pokemon games by offering them something familiar in addition to the new. Let’s get into the details.
In my time with Pokemon Let’s Go, I got to catch two Pokemon and have a short fight with another trainer, as well as walk around a bit. Walking felt a little wonky, but this is an early build, after all. As you move around the world, you’ll see a bunch of Pokemon going about their business. The first thing I noticed was that the size of the creatures was proportional to yours, so you can actually see how big or small they are in relation to your character. Obviously, all I got to see where the fairly smaller ones, such as Pidgey, Pikachu, Weedle, etc, so I can’t wait to see what Blastoise or Onyx will look like.
Overall, the section that I’ve seen is very bright, colorful, and inviting. I can see it easily appealing to all ages, as you’d expect from a Pokemon game. Seeing a bunch of Pokemon bobbing around in the grass or flying overhead really had the kid in me going. I wanted to explore this world to the remotest corners, and see what it has to offer. That feeling of childlike curiosity and wonder caught me by surprise; I really didn’t expect to be taken in so fast, especially considering my overall experience was pretty limited in the demo. I guess that’s the mark of a good demo when it leaves you wanting more.
To catch a Pokemon, you have to first approach one of them, which will lead you into a new screen. Catching Pokemon works similarly to Pokemon Go, in that the creature stands in the middle of the screen, and you get the decreasing, color-coded circle around it. Before throwing the ball, you have to hit the Confirm button (which, on the PokeBall controller, is pushing down the stick), then “throw” the ball at the screen with motion controls. It takes a little getting used to, I will admit, but nothing too difficult. There are also berries that you can give to the Pokemon to make it easier to catch. I caught a Weedle and a Pikachu without much hassle.
Side note here, the Pikachu I caught was female. What this might mean is that Pokemon Let’s Go might feature Pokemon breeding. I couldn’t get any confirmation; this is just conjecture on my part. So, it’s just an interesting little tidbit for now; we’ll see what happens when the game is out. All things considered, though, I think that most Pokemon fans will expect that feature to be in the game. After all, people that play Pokemon GO have been clamoring for the feature for so long now; I don’t think Nintendo would just ignore such a seminal feature in a game that’s supposed to bridge the gap between classic Pokemon and Pokemon GO.
Then, we get to the battles against other trainers. This is more like your classic Pokemon, if somewhat streamlined. The fights are turn-based, and you choose what your fighter will do in a given turn. The moves you have either do damage or inflict status effects, such as decreased speed or attack power. You can also swap out Pokemon between every move. It’s really easy to get Like in the overworld, you can get a good feeling of the Pokemon size in the battles. When you win, you and your Pokemon get XP. Interestingly, all of the Pokemon get XP after a successful fight, not just those that took part. So, that will eliminate at least some of the grinding when it comes to leveling your Pokemon.
That was the end of my short time with Pokemon Let’s Go. I’m not 100% certain how much the demo I got to play and the final game are going to align. However, I do feel like I got a general idea of what it’s all about. Oh, and before I forget, I played Let’s Go Eevee, whom I prefer to Pikachu. But overall, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between the two. Pokemon Let’s Go is coming out on November 16th for the Nintendo Switch. Based purely on what I experienced of it, I think I’d recommend it.