Everything I Loved About Playing Pokemon: Let's Go Pikachu! So Far

As I geared up for my E3 2018 appointment with Nintendo, there was one Nintendo Switch game I was looking forward to playing above all else—and it wasn'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Instead, I was giddy with anticipation about my chance to test out the upcoming Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu! and Eevee! titles—and when it was time to play, I was not disappointed. Here's what I really love so far about the upcoming game.

The Elements From Pokémon Go Really Work

The Let's Go! Pokémon games are a remake of sorts for the original Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue games, with a dash of Pokémon Go thrown in for good measure. At first, it was a little bit strange to see major elements from Pokémon Go in a console game, but so far I've enjoyed them a lot.

For one, you no longer battle wild Pokémon to whittle down their health before you catch them. Now, it's all about the items. Just like in Pokémon Go, a shrinking circle pulses over the Pokémon. A green circle means they should be easy to catch, while a red means they're difficult to capture, and if you can throw a Poké Ball within the circle and catch them, you get a bonus multiplier on the experience you gain. Unlike in Pokémon Go, this experience is applied to your Pokémon, and not to you as a trainer.

I also enjoyed seeing the way berries are implemented in Let's Go! Like in Pokémon Go, a Razz Berry increases the likelihood a Pokémon will be caught when a ball is thrown, and a Nanab Berry makes them less agitated and likely to jump out of the way or swat back a Poké Ball. However, a Pinap Berry works a little differently, making it so that Pokémon are more likely to give you items when you capture them.

Pokémon Let's Go: Capturing Butterfree

(Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu! via Nintendo)


The Poké Ball Plus

Another important aspect borrowed from Pokémon Go is the idea of actually aiming and tossing a Poké Ball at the Pokémon you're catching. While this can be done with the standard Joy-Con controller, the new Poké Ball Plus peripheral was made for this game, and it completely enhances it.

The little clasp of the Poké Ball is a joystick, and on the end of that joystick is the A button. The B button is invisible, hidden under the red top of the Poké Ball. Immediately, it felt very natural in my hand. Though I did flub a number of Poké Ball throws as I tried both underhand and overhand approaches, I eventually got into my groove with it and was getting "nice" and "great" throws the majority of the time. A couple of times I accidentally moved the joystick again when I was trying to press the button on the end of it, but in time I know this will be my preferred way to play.

But controls aren't the only great thing about it. It's programmed to look and feel and sound like the real thing. For example, as you catch a Pokémon, lights flash and the ball shakes realistically, as if a Pokémon inside were trying to escape. It coordinated perfectly with the Poké Ball I was seeing on the screen, totally drawing me into the game's world. The rumble really makes you feel as if you've just caught a Pokémon, or that it's escaped. If you hold it up to your ear just after catching a Pokémon, you can even hear its unique cry.

Nintendo: Poké Ball Plus and Nintendo Switch with Pokémon Let's Go Eevee

(via Nintendo)


The Pokémon Are Oh-So Cute

I don't know how they've done it, but the Pokémon in the Let's Go! may be cuter than they've ever been. It helps that the original 151 Pokémon from the Kanto region are absolutely classic, but each and every Pokémon in this game has been utterly enchanting so far.

At one point in my playthrough, I'd already been playing the game for about 20 minutes with Pikachu as my ally before I encountered a wild Pikachu. As soon as it appeared full-size to be captured, I—as well as the two women who were guiding me through the experience—"awwwww"ed loudly at the sight of another mega-cute Pikachu. We'd been seeing Pikachu this whole thing, but a second Pikachu just pushed the cuteness over the limit.

The Charmander, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Meowth and Eevee that rounded out the rest of my team were just as huggable, and even the bugs littering the Viridian Forest made me smile with how sweet they looked. And that was just one small section of the game!

Pokemon: Let's Go Pikachu: capturing pikachu

(Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu! via Nintendo)


Seeing Pokémon in the Wild

One of the major frustrations of the core Pokémon games is walking around in grass or a cave, minding your own business, when you're relentlessly barraged by wave after wave of enemies you don't have the time or energy to fight. They appear at random, and you never knew what you were going to get.

That's absolutely not the case in the Let's Go! games, which actually let you see which Pokémon are in the surrounding wild and choose whether or not to engage with them by walking into them. You can navigate around Pokémon you've already seen too much of, or spot a rare monster you need to collect and dash straight for it. I don't know if effort value training will be a thing in these games, but it could be a dream come true for players who want to focus on encountering the same Pokémon again and again.

Pokémon Let's Go: Pokémon in the wild

(Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu! via Nintendo)


Pokémon Follow You

Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver are my favorite games in the entire franchise, and I'm pretty sure it's because your Pokémon follow you around wherever you go. That feature exists in this game, and I'm thrilled.

In addition to Pikachu riding on your shoulder or Eevee sitting on your head, you get to select another Pokémon who'll trail you on your journey. Though I didn't get to see it in person, a rep also told me that very large partner Pokémon will also be rideable.

You can even turn around at any moment and press a button to talk to your Pokémon and find out how it's doing. In past games, following Pokémon could also pick up items for you occasionally, and I'm hoping to see that feature return in this game.

Pokémon Let's go: Talking to Charmander

(Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu! via Nintendo)


Tiny Pokémon and Big Pokémon

This is a tiny detail in the game, but I love it and believe it's worth mentioning. Sometimes, Pokémon in the wild will be surrounded by either a blue or a red spinning ring indicating that the Pokémon are especially tiny or especially big.

It was totally silly, but when a Weedle popped up and the game told me "It's tiny!" I was delighted. I also got extra experience for capturing a Pokémon of unusual size. Later, I caught a huge Weedle that was more than double the length and weight of my tiny Weedle. The game also keeps track of your size records, and I can see hunting for certain sizes becoming a new hobby among Pokémon fanatics.

Pokémon Let's Go: Pokémon with red and blue rings, tiny and big Pokémon

(Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu! via Nintendo)


There's already a ton to love about Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu! and Let's Go Eevee! The game comes out on Nov. 16, and I can't wait to get my hands on it again.


For even more details on this great game, click HERE for everything else we know so far about Pokémon on the Nintendo Switch.