Pokemon: Let’s Go is a radical change from past titles in the series, switching up a slew of mechanics and integrating a Pokemon GO-esque catching system. At E3, I fully expected my colleagues and fellow industry writers to enjoy the demo as much as I did. Talking with them afterward, it became apparent they had an opposing view. While I prefer the standard Pokemon mechanics over Let’s Go’s changes, I’m totally okay with the new additions. The changes are mostly to streamline the experience and get to the “good stuff” – gym and trainer battles, and catching a wide variety of pocket monsters.
Fans need to accept the new gameplay elements for what they are. Game Freak hasn’t shattered or gotten rid of the core Pokemon experience, they’ve simply expanded their market in an attempt to get Pokemon Go players interested in the Switch. It’s a clear grab at the GO fanbase and won’t have any negative impact on the series’ future. Spin-offs have always had a place in the Pokemon release calendar, with notable titles like Pokemon Ranger, Pokemon Snap, Pokemon Stadium, and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. So, why do fans have a problem with such a game now?
For a series to grow, it has to expand. This can take the form of going all-out in a sequel, but it can also be a development team taking a leap and trying something new. Let’s Go is just that. Fans should at least acknowledge its importance.
Let’s Go sets Game Freak up to take more risks with Pokemon, which could translate to an absolutely amazing core RPG. Previous titles like Sun and Moon were supposed to be that radical leap from the traditional experience but didn’t fulfill their promise. The games sold well, no doubt, but were a massive step back for the franchise due to terrible fundamental gameplay changes and a release on a dated system. The Island Challenge should’ve been enthralling, difficult, and a great new way to play. It was instead a quick, virtually effortless main campaign.
If Game Freak plays their cards right with Let’s Go, they can set up the series to have two primary pillars: The core games, meant for veteran and “traditional” Poke-players, and Let’s Go, which would act as more of a casual experience. Each would play to a different audience and could be a huge step forward for Pokemon as a whole.
Pokemon has always had its fair share of spin-offs and offshoot games; both aspects of the franchise could co-exist.
The series has always been confined to its handheld and home console entries, though Switch puts a halt to that trend. And with the hybrid console comes a wave of players ready for new, exciting, and different experiences. Nintendo has been radically reinvigorating its key franchises, and I see Let’s Go as the first step to modernize Pokemon. The series has gone stale for some. The upcoming spin-off, if nothing, will give Game Freak the ability to make some leaps and deliver the first truly different Pokemon RPG.
Are you a fan of the changes made in Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee? What do you make of my thoughts regarding its impact on the future of Pokemon? Talk to us in the comments section below!
Down below, check out NE’s Brett and Andrew talk about their demo of Let’s Go at E3 this past year.