Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is Nintendo’s big news at E3 this year, but Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! were also on display. I had the opportunity to play the Pikachu version for about ten minutes, and I really enjoyed the experience! Even so, ten minutes does not allow much time to really experience a Pokemon game, and I was restricted from accessing some parts of the game entirely.
Catching and battling
Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! is based on Pokemon Yellow Version and contains some of the same areas to explore. The demo began in the iconic Viridian Forest; an early part of the game that gave me an opportunity to capture wild Pokemon and battle with other trainers.
The forest provides an abundant number of Pokemon to catch, so the majority of my time was spent exploring the forest and finding new Pokemon. The forest is still swarming with the classic bug-type Pokemon, but there are some new additions as well. By now, the new catching mechanics taken from Pokemon Go are already a well-known fact, and I am generally happy with how the change works. Catching new Pokemon feels fun.
I only had enough time to try one battle against another trainer. The match was Pikachu versus Caterpie. It didn’t last long. What I experienced was exactly the same as battling in every other Pokemon game, but it looked much prettier.
Poke Ball Plus controller
The most unique part of my experience was the controller. I spent my entire ten minutes playing with the new Poke Ball Plus controller.
In general, I like it. I think it’s a fun way to experience the game, but I did run into some confusion while catching Pokemon. Specifically, the Poke Ball Plus controller works best when it is held a specific way, but I had trouble holding in properly for the best results. I’m sure an in-game tutorial could easily explain how it works, but I did not have that luxury. As a result, my throws were sometimes wildly different than what I expected.
The only other downside is that the Poke Ball Plus controller has fewer buttons than a Joy-Con. You only have access to an analog stick, A button, and B button. The other buttons activate optional features that are not necessary for all gameplay, but returning fans will likely prefer the more complete experience.
What could this mean for Zelda?
Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! is really pretty. If you handed a sword to your Pokemon trainer, the game could easily be mistaken for a 2D-style Zelda game, and I would be 100 percent okay with that. I would like to see the 2D-style Zelda games continue to live alongside the larger 3D-style Zelda games, and a game that looks like Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! would be a great place to start.
Of course, the most important question is, “Can I dress up my Pikachu or Eevee to look like Link?”
Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee will be available for Nintendo Switch on November 16, 2018.