After much speculation, the rumored Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! for the Nintendo Switch revealed to be true with a trailer finally dropping some gameplay footage. As the sources reported back in early April this is going to be an updated Pokémon Yellow with better graphics and new mechanics. This game has caused a divide in the fanbase with many fans looking at the improvements made in this new spinoff such as the game mechanics. However, there is an equally-sized group that is at best apathetic about the game due to it not being Generation 8, which is scheduled for November 2019. Below I will dive into why the Pokémon community is divided regarding these two games.
The main reason fans are excited about this game is that there is cross-compatibility between the mobile game Pokémon Go and Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! Players will be able to catch Pokémon on one platform and transfer it over to the other. This means there will be a conversion between levels and combat points as seen in the trailer having both side-by-side. Additionally, the game introduces a new remote for the Switch in the Poké Ball Plus Joy-Con which has little information though appears to be similar to a Pokéwalker with a stored Pokémon receiving benefits from the device. The ability to transfer between platforms is not a new concept however with its debut all the way back in Generation 1 with Pokémon Stadium. With technology increasing exponentially since 1998 a modern equivalent of transferring is an interesting feature.
Walking Pokémon has always been a fan favorite since it was originally introduced in Generation 1 with Pokémon Yellow, where Pikachu would follow the trainer around. With Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! being inspired by that game Pokémon will be able to follow the trainers around which is also a shared trait with Pokémon Go’s buddy Pokémon. As is the case with most information on this game there is very little detail explaining how it works however if this game is essentially a port of Pokémon Go for the Switch this feature will allow bonuses. It appears that the starter Pokémon received will follow the trainer even when you have another monster following allowing for two walking Pokémon.
In saving the best feature for last, fans are most excited about the multiplayer mode which will allow the use of each Joy-Con in cooperative gameplay. While battling friends has been the foundation to the franchises success co-op mode has been nearly non-existent except for small side games here and there. Dual capturing of a Pokémon is an intriguing feature revealed from the gameplay appearing that both players receive the monster despite it being a single creature. Battling also appears to use this feature which makes double battles more interesting than being paired with a non-player character. The extent of this feature is yet to be seen but allowing for local co-op is a big reason why this game is liked by the majority of the fanbase.
While the innovation must be noted, many fans are dismayed due to the fact it will be taking place in Kanto. Even though Kanto is my second favorite region — Johto Forever — I can understand the apathy felt towards it due to Kanto burnout. Kanto has been heavily featured in four generations including Pokémon Sun and Moon’s use of Red and Blue. You haven’t been able to travel through Kanto since Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver Which released in the United States on March 14, 2010. While this leaves an eight-year gap where new players might not have been able to experience the region before it creates a divide between newer players and older.
However, if they decide to update the region exploring Kanto will be less of a drag than most players are anticipating. An idea to breathe life into the region is by updating the Gym Leaders which could include following the anime route of updating the roster of Gyms. The Pokémon Inspection Agency shuts down Gyms that are not up to the standard of the Pokémon League and in Pokémon Chronicles it was announced four Kanto Gyms were recently closed due to failing inspection. Closing these Gyms allows for unofficial Gyms to take their place which would change the map by adding new towns with the possibility of including anime exclusive cities like Dark City or Wisteria Town. Following the anime route, it could change the gym leaders with Brock’s brother Forrest taking over the Gym for Pewter City rewarding the longtime fanbase with an Easter egg from the anime.
According to the sources that have been correct as to date and projected the release date for the trailers this game will only feature the original 151 Pokémon throughout the Kanto region. This does not sit well with some fans were looking to get newer Pokémon as gameplay for Pokémon Generation 7 was short lived with only 86 new monsters to collect. This desire for new Pokémon has recently been served via the Pokémon Gold demo ROM, which revealed many creatures that were later changed and inspired other generation Pokémon. At most, if there will be any new creatures introduced it will be an evolution for one of the starters. An unreleased final evolution for Pikachu called Gorachu spread like wildfire after it was announced. This creature was scrapped due to breaking the game as it had overpowered stats, unlike other Generation 1 Pokémon who exploited game mechanics like Persian. Giving Pikachu this split evolution would go a long way in gaining hype for this game. It would also be necessary to give Eevee another evolution if Pikachu receives one and with the Gold beta revealing Umbreon was originally poison typing letting Eevee evolve into a poison type would be a great idea.
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! is a polarizing game within the fanbase with each divided side viewing the games from different viewpoints. Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! brings cross-compatibility between the mobile game Pokémon Go and the Switch game which is an impressive feature allowing for the use of 21st-century technology. The use of co-op mode is a feature that has expanded the Pokémon franchise and will likely amp up the excitement level. However, this game for longtime fans can be seen as just a retread of the Kanto region which has been heavily featured in half of the series. Tying together the fanbase can be challenging, however, Game Freak can bridge the gap by updating the Kanto region by changing Gym Leaders and tweaking the map to include anime exclusive cities.