The new main series Pokémon games, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, have divided fan opinion since they were first revealed. While many core fans feel things have been simplified too much, the fact that this pair of Switch exclusives are so approachable opens things up to expand the audience of the franchise before we get the more 'traditional' game next year.
While Game Freak insists it wants the game to be played by both new players and the core audience, there has never been a better time for new fans - introduced to the franchise by the incredibly successful Pokémon GO - jump into the main series proper. By the same token, lapsed players may find that these titles present the easiest way to get back in the saddle and resume their 'mon-catching careers after a prolonged hiatus.
Here are 5 reasons why we think the Pokémon Let’s Go sub-series is a fantastic entry point for newcomers and GO-exclusive players.
It’s Not Daunting
This point will probably be a bone of contention, but do note we didn’t say complex. When you think about it, Pokémon currently has 808 known monsters - some of which have alternate forms - with each Pokémon having many of 735 currently known attacks, 233 abilities, 25 natures and hundreds of items.
If you said this to someone just jumping in, they’d have good reason to pause. How can any newcomer possibly take all of that information in right away? By scaling it back to just the original 151 monsters (+Meltan) with no Hold Items and Abilities, it’s less of a hurdle to newer players, who could feel overwhelmed and intimidated. The Let's Go series provides a gentle introduction into the franchise in a similar manner to the way in which the first generation of players was ensnared way back in 1998.
From there, new players will get less of a culture shock when it comes to the upcoming 2019 game, which will be more traditional and will likely feature a return of the detailed aspects that aren’t present in Let’s Go. Baby steps!
It Neatly Combines The Main Series And Aspects Of Pokémon GO
As much as some elements of the Pokémon online community may try to deny it, Pokémon GO is a huge game and undeniably reinvigorated the franchise. Not only is it the most-played Pokémon game in existence with over 750 million downloads, it’s one of the most played video games of all time. With over 140 million active players a month, this means a lot of potential fans are playing GO and not touching the main series. If you’re one of them, then Let’s Go is a perfect bridge between the two.
By combining the main series battles with GO’s more approachable mechanics, it will help players learn the battle system via a setting they're already familiar to them. It also carries over the levelling-up style from Pokémon GO of feeding Pokémon candy to make them stronger, except unlike in GO where it boosts the level, it instead boosts stats.
If you’re a GO-exclusive player and haven’t jumped into the main series yet, Let's Go will feel instantly recognisable - and Game Freak clearly knows this.
Even if you haven’t ever jumped into the main Pokémon games, if you’ve heard of Pokémon then you’re very likely familiar with some of the main aspects of the series: Pikachu, Charizard, Eevee, Mewtwo, Team Rocket and so forth. Pokémon is one of the most popular media brands on the planet, so it already has a built-in attraction to potential players.
With these two games being a re-imagining of the classic Pokémon Yellow, they are designed to give you a feeling of familiarity, which means you'll never feel like you're jumping off the deep-end. These are characters you already know from kids toys, TV shows and even lunchboxes; by sticking with the original 151 monsters, Game Freak is ensuring that there's wide appeal, even for people who aren't fans.
The graphics aid in this by giving you a look which is very close to the original games, so if you played those 20 years ago, you’d definitely have the feeling of familiarity. Nostalgia is a powerful tool, after all.
You Can Play With Someone More Experienced To Ease You In
If you’re a new player to the main series but you’re friends or related to someone who has been playing them for a while, the local co-op mode is another way to get to grips with the main series games.
With this, you and another player can join in and play together, teaming up in battle. This allows for more seasoned players to help newcomers get to grips with the battle system. It's actually quite fun, as it introduces an important layer of social interaction that is often missing from the main series.
This is also a cool way to introduce a new generation of players into the Pokémon fold!
The Controls Are Simple
In some ways, Pokémon Let’s Go harkens back to the days of the Nintendo Wii strategy. After so many buttons used to do so many things in games, the Wii brought things back to basics and reduced the Wii Remote to a couple of buttons; it also allowed for games to be played one-handed. Pokémon Let’s Go goes for the same approach, which makes it instantly accessible.
With the Poké Ball Plus controller, there are only two buttons which offer pretty much all you need for the game: an 'Accept' and a 'Back' button. This does mean some menu options can’t be accessed, but you get enough simple and basic functionality to get by.
In addition to that, the game can be played with a single Joy-Con. This does give more button options but it still is fairly easy for players to jump in with.
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So there you have it; five reasons why the Let's Go titles are the perfect entry point for Pokémon newcomers. Will you be jumping in for the first time with these games, or will you be using them as a means of hooking family and friends? Share your own thoughts on this topic by posting a comment below.