The TWRM GOTY 2018 Collab has begun! This special event consists of multiple writers making their best cases for their picks for GOTY 2018. Check out each article posted daily from the 1st through the 15th and listen to their points, then on January 16th you will have the opportunity to vote on which game you think should be crowned TWRM GOTY of 2018!
Pokémon: Let’s Go
Developer: Game Freak
Release Date: 16 November 2018
Genre: Role-Playing Game
“The following is a guest post by the Final Fourteenth Mage.”
Wasn’t 2018 a wonderful year for video games? There were so many releases both AAA and indie that were met with an overwhelmingly positive response. There’s a large part of me that wants to shout from my roof top that 2018 was the best year for video games thus far. However, there’s two reasons why I haven’t done that quite yet. Firstly, I feel like I say the same thing every single year. Secondly, I don’t want to be arrested for being a public nuisance and denied entry into the United States. So instead of wailing on my roof top, I’m going to sit down and tell you why I believe that Pokémon: Let’s Go should be awarded Game of the Year 2018.
I’m sure everyone reading this will be familiar with the basics of Pokémon but for those who may not be, I will cover the basics. The Pokémon series is an incredibly successful role-playing franchise in which the player takes on a young boy or girl Pokémon prodigy who is just starting out on their own Pokémon adventure. The aim of the game is to beat the Gym Leaders (Trial Captains in Pokémon: Sun and Moon) whilst collecting as many Pokémon as you can. There have been seven Pokémon generations thus far and whilst they’ve all introduced a range of new Pokémon, mechanically the games have changed very little since the beginning. They’ve had improvements no doubt but if you’ve played one of them I have little doubt that you could pick up a second and know exactly what to do. Which is a point that I will expand on later in this piece.
There was two versions of Pokémon: Let’s Go released. These were Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! I chose Eevee version but for the sake of this piece I am writing about both games as opposed to just Eevee version. 2018 was a very busy year for me and I had to hold off on many games but by the time that Pokémon: Let’s Go had arrived I was so excited for the game that I had already preordered the adorable limited edition Switch console. The moment I received the console, I booted up the game only to be met with a graphically updated version of Kanto.
There’s nothing quite like a game being on the back foot before it even releases and that was definitely the case with Pokémon: Let’s Go this year. The internet would balloon into a feeding frenzy every single time a new snippet of information was released about the game. The main issue was the fact that it was linked to Pokémon GO and had the same basic catching mechanic that the mobile game has. People were also upset that the game included varying degrees of hand holding which seemed rather unnecessary when you consider that Pokémon games have never been renowned for their difficulty in the first place. Some difficulty was removed by the exclusion of wild Pokémon battles but there’s still difficulty there if you’re looking with the addition of post-game Master Trainers. I went into the game cautiously optimistic as I wasn’t sure what to expect and I have to say that I was absolutely delighted with what the game had to offer.
As soon as I started to play, I was in awe as to just how beautiful the game was. The grass, the trees, the houses, every single aspect of this game looked fantastic. I was only a few minutes in when I saw it would change how I wanted to play Pokémon games forever. Pokémon: Let’s Go introduced wild Pokémon spawns on the overworld. There are no random encounters in this game. You can see Pidgey flying through the sky, Pikachu dashing through the tall grass and Staryu swimming in the lakes. It really creates an enchanting atmosphere. The people in the game really are surrounded by Pokémon. They’re not hidden; they’re a living, breathing part of the world. Not only are their movements quite realistic but the scale is surprising. I audibly gasped when I first entered Mt. Moon and was met with an Onix towering over me. I have no doubt in my mind that this furthered immersion. As well as this, you can have a Pokémon following you at all times. Depending on the species you can also ride on it or fly on it, which is something that fans have wanted to be included for awhile as opposed to sporadically. Oh and did I mention that you can dress your Eevee or Pikachu up in some incredibly adorable outfits? My Eevee always looked incredibly stylish as we plodded our way through various routes.
As stated earlier, the catching mechanic had been altered so there’s no wild Pokémon battles. Upon running into one on the overworld you would enter the catching screen where you could throw PokéBalls, use items or run. I personally found that the motion controls were too unreliable. I would often swing straight only to have my PokéBall veer wildly to the left. This was easily fixed by playing the game in handheld mode. As there’s no wild Pokémon battles, you receive experience from catching Pokémon and chaining them. Chaining them also increases the likelihood of rarer spawns and shiny Pokémon appearing. I really enjoyed being able to chain shiny Pokémon due to them being observable on the overworld. It made shiny hunting not only more enjoyable but more accessible.
Story wise, the game tells the same old tale of the Kanto region. You find yourself trudging along defeating gym leaders, shedding a tear for a Cubone, toppling Team Rocket and eventually becoming the Pokémon Champion. It’s simple but a nostalgic trip for older players and a good place to start for younger ones.
The OST really shines with orchestral renditions of all of the original tracks and they’re absolutely exceptional. They sound great in-game but listening to them separately is like bathing in nostalgia. The soundtrack selection for the game is wonderful and I’ve listened to it whilst studying on numerous occasions since the release. In fact, I am listening to it right now as I write this.
As the name suggests the game is compatible with Pokémon GO in numerous ways. Firstly, you can send over Pokémon that you’ve caught in Pokémon GO to Pokémon: Let’s Go and use them in the game. You can also transfer a Pokémon from Pokémon: Let’s Go to the PokéBall accessory and walk around with it gaining experience points and items, as well as using it to automatically spin PokéStops and catch Pokémon for you with a simple click on a button.
Overall, Pokémon: Let’s Go combined nostalgia with a plethora of new ideas and it worked incredibly well. It’s colourful, immersive and just downright fun. Despite being a reboot of Kanto, the game felt like a breath of fresh air with the ability to see Pokémon in the overworld and I can only hope that this is the norm going forward.
+ An updated Kanto region which is both graphically and audibly impressive.
+ For the first time you can actually see Pokémon on the overworld which adds an extra layer of immersion to the game and helps to hunt for shiny Pokémon.
+ Connectivity with Pokémon GO whilst limited brought in a range of new players and provided a different way to level your chosen Pokémon.
+ The ability to have your chosen Pokémon follow you, ferry you, fly you or have you ride on them depending on the species.
+ The fact that you can dress up Pikachu and Eevee in a range of different outfits is just adorable.
+ Whilst the difficulty during the game is fairly simple the Master Trainers that you can verse post game provide a satisfying challenge.
– The lack of Pokémon battles often make the game seem overly simplified at times
– The hand holding in regards to gym battles can be embarrassing at times.
– There is no way to choose who you want to interact with online. Both players have to enter a code and hope that they are the only two that entered the code around the same time.
The Final Fourteenth Mage has the weight of her backlog on her shoulders as she scours the internet searching for her next favourite game. You may know her as Priscilla Cullen and can read more of her musings at Cilla vs. Games.
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