Gamescom 2018: Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee! Brings Old and New Together

August 24, 2018

Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! & Pokémon Let’s Go, Eevee! seems carefully formulated to bridge three of Nintendo’s most successful ventures – Pokémon Go, Pokémon Red/Blue and the Nintendo Switch. While it should be a formula for a money printing machine, there feels like more heart to it than that – it’s a legitimate update of the original Kanto games from the Game Boy, lovingly brought into 3D as fans have wanted, and in a way that will allow the now-older fans to share the experience with the new generation of Pokémon players.

The Gamescom demo took place in a small area around Viridian Forest, with the player character already equipped with a few Pokémon, like Charmander, Eevee, and of course Pikachu, who follows you around on the map. Like the original Generation 1 games, if you cross a rival trainer’s line of sight, you’ll be locked into a battle with them. The mechanics here are just like normal Pokémon battles, with standard enemy type strengths/weaknesses, and each Pokémon having four abilities they can use like Scratch, Growl, etc. What’s unlike the original games is the way you catch Pokémon – first of all, you can see them on the main map, which allows you to either avoid unwanted battles, or hunt Pokémon you’re actively trying to catch. When you do run into a Pokémon, rather than beat them into submission and catch them like a usual Pokémon game, the Go mechanics here see you lure Pokémon with berries or treats, and try to catch them with Poké Balls timed with an on-screen prompt.

What’s sure to be popular among kids as well is the new special controller, the Poké Ball Plus, a wireless Joy-Con shaped like a Poké Ball that can be used for the entire game. The controller itself feels high quality and comfortable, with a rubberised-plastic texture that doesn’t feel like it’ll wear quickly. It’s actually pretty intuitive too, since Pokémon has relatively simple controls anyway. An analogue stick on the top where the Poké Ball button would be controls movement, and can be clicked in to select options. A ‘B’ button is hidden on the top side of the Poké Ball and can be clicked in to back out of menus. And that’s your lot – the Poké Ball has rumble and motion controls as well, which make the catching mini-games feel just that little bit more realistic. The cutest thing though has to be the little inbuilt speaker inside, which re-produces the original 8-bit Pokémon sounds for any critters you do catch and choose to keep in there.

With the original adventure from Generation 1 brought together with the new Pokémon Go mechanics and a colourful, bright 3D remastering, Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee! could provide a bridge between generations of Pokémon players like few other games. Both games are out 16 November, 2018 on Nintendo Switch.