Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee!

Nintendo’s Pokémon franchise, its first entries Red and Blue released over a score ago on the GameBoy, definitely wasn’t the first roleplaying game franchise to sport monster capturing as its chief mechanic. The Dragon Quest series bore the feature in its fifth installment on the Super Famicom, and the decade before, the original Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei, although Pokémon’s take on the mechanism proved distinctive enough to lure players from across the world. The first games in the franchise to appear on the Nintendo Switch are remakes of the special edition Pokémon Yellow, with the other half this reviewer played, ** Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!**, being much on par with its brethren Let’s Go, Pikachu!

The core mechanics are so similar, in fact, that I can simply guide prospective players to my review of Pikachu! for more information, but there are some subtle differences, with the player’s primary Pokémon, the eponymous Eevee, being of normal type, and in some respects a jack-of-all-trades, given the ability of certain NPCs within healing facilities to teach the star of the show moves of various other elements, with some useful ones including a water-type skill that heals with damage dealt. The motion control-centric catching system still has its issues, but is nonetheless superior to the capturing system in prior games, and while leveling can be a tad unbalanced, especially if Eevee hogs the bulk of experience, the general strategy of the game in exploiting enemy weaknesses perpetually remains fresh.

Like Pikachu!, Eevee! has an always-convenient save-anywhere feature, although control still has other issues such as the lack of detailed maps for dungeons and fields between towns, along with the slight clunkiness of the menus and need to talk to every NPC at different times to get the most of this aspect, such as an ability allowing for instant conveyance among visited towns. Regardless, interaction isn’t bad, in fact somewhat above average, with physically-disabled players able to appreciate the potential to play one-handed, but there are issues the developers could have rectified.

Story has never been a strong suit of Pokémon, and Eevee! like its other half doesn’t excel there, with Team Rocket and their motivations being shallow, and the player’s protagonist generally being blank-slate, although the plot luckily isn’t a great detriment. The translation largely shows polish in spite of some minor odd dialogue, as is very much expectant of the Big N’s American branch.

The soundtrack, with its whimsical and energetic pieces, also remains the same, with Pokémon cries such as Eevee’s being cute at times, although most other mons’ sounds have low quality at points.

The graphics are further identical, not a bad thing as they’re among the best of the current generation of roleplaying games, with little in the area of blurry texturing and excellent replication of the anime’s visual style, with only some minor jaggies at times.

With Pikachu! under his belt, this reviewer found its brethren more or less a breeze, with completion of the main quest taking him a little over nineteen hours, with the goal of capturing all Pokémon and some other post-game content enhancing lasting appeal.

In the end, while some may claim Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! to be the same game as Pikachu!, it has enough distinction, like the potential move set for the eponymous mon, to warrant a playthrough from those who played and enjoyed its other half, having virtually all the same high points like its gameplay, the save-anywhere feature, and superb aural and visual presentation. However, it bears many of the same strikes such as the finnicky motion controls and unengaging plot, although these mercifully don’t detract from one of the strongest experiences the franchise offers.

The Good:
+Same as Let’s Go, Pikachu!

The Bad:
-Same as Let’s Go, Pikachu!

The Bottom Line:
A great diving point into the Pokémon franchise.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Game Mechanics: 8/10
Controls: 7/10
Story: 6/10
Localization: 9/10
Music/Sound: 9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Depends on Playstyle
Playing Time: 15-30 Hours

Overall: 8.5/10

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