Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee: First Impressions Review

Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee… the love child of Pokemon Go, Pokemon Yellow, and – in this case – eevee. When this game and its companion were announced last summer, I didn’t have a Switch. Or money for a Switch, for that matter. But I vowed that, even if I had to sell my own kidney, come November 16th, I would have not only a Switch, but a shiny new pokémon game to go with it.

IRL eevee sold separately

Needless to say, with the powers vested in me by ye olde LOA, I indeed managed to obtain both a Switch, a copy of Let’s Go Eevee and a Pokeball Plus – kidneys and all. Can I have a yay me?

And, though NaNoWriMo, enough drama in my personal life to make Degrassi seem tame, and a move have tried their damndest to stop me, I have at least managed to squeeze a few hours in thus far.

So what better way to kick off a new category of posts – game reviews – than some good, old-fashioned Pokemon? Since I like to take my time and really savor games, we’ll just be going into my first impressions. As such, no need to worry about any crazy spoilers. (Not that Pokemon games tend to be spoiler-ridden…)

If my opinions happen to change dramatically by the time I beat the game, I may post a follow-up review as well. We shall see!

Graphics: 5/5

Since these games are – essentially – remakes, I feel like the graphics are a great place to start. And boy, does Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee deliver! Getting to see Kanto – the pokémon world from my childhood – fully realized in this way, is enough to make this game worth it all on its own.

Nugget bridge is like… all golden nuggety and stuff! *fangasms*

If my 5/5 review (or the above screenshot) doesn’t tell you as much, I feel like Let’s Go Eevee has little to no room for improvement in this department. It kicks the crap out of the now nearly-fifteen-year-old remakes, FireRed and LeafGreen, that’s for sure!

All the trainer animations have some serious character in Let’s Go. And that Super Nerd animation brings a whole new level of realism – from the way he awkwardly clutches his tablet to the way he bursts into tears upon defeat. It truly is a beautiful sight to behold. 

It’s clear that Gamefreak took advantage of the Switch’s firepower with this one. The graphics are similar to X & Y and Sun and Moon, but so much… crisper. I feel like it finds the perfect balance between fully-realized console Pokemon and handheld shout out.

Not to mention the animations! Since wild pokémon now roam around instead of appearing as random encounters (and follow you if they’re yours), you can really see how they move around outside of battle. It adds a whole new level of depth and realism that I’ve yet to experience in a Pokemon game, and basically makes my inner eight-year-old foam at the mouth.

Ekans and bellsprout, in particular, have really unique and sexy animations when they’re just roaming about.

Bellsprout?! What are YOU doing on Route #1?

Nostalgia: 5/5

Again, Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee nails this. I’m only a few hours in, but the nostalgia is REAL. I thought my inner child had long since died, but thanks to this and the Spyro remaster (which I will also be doing a review for soon), it’s as if she’s been magically resurrected… ala Frankenstein… wherein these games would be the lightning… and…. Okay, ima stop.

The music. The characters. The maps. The mons. Even though I bought and played through Pokemon Red when it was released on the 3DS’s virtual console a couple years ago, something about revisiting Kanto just never gets old. And – again – THOSE GRAPHICS THO.

You mean I can gaze at slowpoke butt in HD now?! Holy great balls, Batman! 

I might have given this less of a score because of my displeasure at the super friendly new rival character and apparent lack of the douchey, smell-ya-later one, but – spoilers – they made it better because HE STILL APPEARS.

A wild Blue appears?!

I was legit scared they didn’t include him simply because apparently kids these days *gets out rocking chair and baseball bat* supposedly can’t handle a douchey rival??? (TRUTH. One of the developers actually said something along those lines in an interview.) But, upon the appearance of Blue, it’s revealed that this isn’t completely a remake and is supposed to take place years after the original games!

Back in Blue’s day…
Even the Space Museum is acknowledging the ever-changin’ times. I’m just glad to see this old dude is still here. Kickin’ it. Twenty years later.
So… apparently I never noticed this bisexual trainer at Brock’s gym???

And what nostalgia would be complete without – my personal favorite – TEAM ROCKET. Need I say more?

Looks like Team Rocket’s blasting in again?
So… James battles with a rose and I love it so much. 

Controls: 2/5

OUCH. Now this – in my opinion – is where Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee suffers the most. I was sketched out when I heard the Pokeball Plus could be used as a controller… and it seems I had every right to be.

Maybe others would disagree, but for me – at least – the controls have been CLUNKY AF. Which is sad. Because they give you four controller options and – after having tried all of them – I can say that they’re all pretty much equally clunky.

I find the Pokeball Plus to be the worst because the options are so limited. You’ve got a control stick for moving (good luck calibrating!), you can push that same control stick in to serve as your “A” button (So. Annoying.), and then you’ve got a button on top to serve as “B.” (But it’s super awkward to press when you’re holding the Pokeball.) Oh. And you can shake the Pokeball to pull up options, which I do – by accident – ALL THE TIME.

At least it’s a pretty start screen. 

The best (AKA, least awkward) option I’ve found is playing the Switch like a handheld, with the joy-cons on either side, and then using the Pokeball Plus solely for catching mons. It still isn’t the most flawless or comfortable thing in the world, but it’ll do, pig. It’ll do.

Maybe it’s just me and my left-handedness and unfamiliarity with the Switch, but I just have NOT had a good time with the controls. I can’t help but  find it sad that Pokemon RB&Y – on the Gameboy TWENTY YEARS AGO – had better controls than this. You’d think we would’ve progressed in the past twenty years, but I guess clunky controls are just the price to pay when one goes a little overboard in the innovation-gimmick department.

Gameplay: 3.5/5

Also – unfortunately – mediocre, in my opinion. Like the ability to use the Pokeball Plus as a controller, I was also sketched out about the integration of Pokemon Go mechanics in these games… and again, it looks like that sketched-outedness was well-founded.

Maybe it’ll get better as I progress, but right now, something just seems off about the balance? Like how many wild pokémon appear, how easy it is to catch them, and how much XP your mons get for catching them? (Just an FYI, I’m now at Cerulean City, and it seems to be leveling out a little more!)

Seriously? Y’all are gonna mass level up NOW? All I did was catch a zubat…

When it comes down to it, Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee is just too…easy? (As my brother brought up, maybe it should be called: Pokemon Let’s Go Easy? *cue bu-dun-choos*) Now, I realize some of this was intentional, because again – the makers said they were trying to make it more “accessible” for younger fans. But when it’s this easy, I can’t help but think that’s just a tad bit… condescending?

Or – you know – I could just be a Pokemon Master. That too.

But seriously, back in MY day *again, whips out bat and rocking chair* these games could just be downright hard! (Brock battle with charmander as your starter, anyone?) But that didn’t stop kids from playing the games! In fact, if Pokemon didn’t get the fanbase it had back then, it probably wouldn’t even exist as a series today.

As someone who’s had plenty of experience working with *old lady voice* today’s youth as a teacher and nanny, I can tell you, kids can and do feel condescended to. And this game is coming off as SERIOUSLY CONDESCENDING to me.

Some of the new features (like access to the pokémon boxes via your bag) are awesome and definitely do up “accessibility,” but when I have a full team of pokemon – more than half of which have double-kick – and they’re all significantly higher-leveled than Brock’s pokémon – even though I did absolutely no grinding whatsoever – something’s wrong.

At least the bag is AWESOME AS FUCK this time around. 

Fun: 4.5/5

Okay, so despite my rants about the controls and easiness, I’m still having a lot of fun with this game! For one, character customization. Though it’s super limited compared to some of the more recent games, it’s still cool that it exists at all. Also, EEVEE customization! OMG, eevee customization.

Eevee can learn exclusive elemental moves!

Though I was always a hardcore tomboy growing up – as in, I crossplayed every year for Halloween levels of tomboy – I’m definitely not transsexual. I identify as female and I like being a girl! So, by extension, I of course like playing as girls in my video games. And Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee – like every game since Crystal, gives me this option. Additionally, you can choose your race, and there are various outfits you can collect throughout the game.

On the topic of girl power, I was thrilled to discover my starter eevee was ALSO female! I assumed – thanks to the shitty gender ratio – that it would be male, and named it Todd… only to discover it was a girl! I don’t know if they match your partner pokémon to your gender (probably this?) or if I just got lucky, but I’m definitely psyched!

(UPDATE: Apparently you can get either gender – regardless of your avatar! And considering how prolific female eevees seem to be, methinks the ratio must have been bumped to 50/50?)

My charmander is ALSO female?! OK, I am NOT this lucky. They’ve definitely balanced the gender ratios in this game. (Also, can I just say how much I am loving having a “Sassy” female charmander???)

I promptly renamed my eevee “Tally,” (part Mass Effect, part Wild Thornberries shout-out) which I could thankfully do! It seems like they took out the stupid “name rater” system and now allow you to rename your mons at any time, ala Pokemon Go. I’ll take it!

And – though it’s such a minor thing – I’m loving that they brought back the pokémon following you thing, like in HeartGold and SoulSilver. I love watching my cute, little, chubby nidoran trailing behind me. Or um, magikarp. That’s an experience.

You can ride pokemon, too! And – despite the scale of that onix – he is clearly a gentle giant. 

Despite my issues with the controls, there is something oddly satisfying about getting to (kind of) throw an actual pokeball to catch ALL THE MONS. It would be cool if they brought back that feature in the new pokémon games… though only after you’ve battled the wild pokémon – kind of like in the show?

Overall: 4/5

Good Points

  • Fem eevee! (And more balanced gender ratios, in general)
  • Character & partner customization
  • Pokemon boxes accessible via bag
  • Following / riding pokémon
  • Prettiful nostalgia romp through Kanto
  • Throwing an actual pokeball to catch mons!
  • Plus a bunch of other awesome new features the old games didn’t have! (And that I haven’t had adequate time to explore yet…)

Bad Points

  • Clunky, clunky controls
  • Condescendingly easy
  • Pokemon catching gets old FAST
  • Pokemon Go mechanics don’t seem to be translating well to console
  • TOO. MANY. MONS. (Seriously. I feel like a poke’whore.)
Believe me, professor, you have NO idea.

All in all, it’s a fun game for the most part, with a TON of awesome, new features that I’m sure will appeal to pokémon vets and newbs alike. And again, THE NOSTALGIA IS REAL.

However, frustrating controls, condescending game makers, and poor translation of Pokemon Go mechanics hamper the enjoyment quite a bit.

But hey, that’s okay, ‘cause eevee.

Have you played Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee or Let’s Go Pikachu?If so, what do you think? Are they too easy? Are you pikachus and eevees too cute? And am I the only one who is starting to suspect I may have actually achieved Pokemon Master status?

What I’m Playing: Take a wild guess? Though – as mentioned – I’ve also been enjoying the Spyro Reignited trilogy since its release and plan to do a review for that as well. Keep an eye out!
What I’m Watching: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald – Wow. The Wizarding World just went straight-up epic fantasy. So many characters! Some seriously great acting and casting in this movie, with Johnny Depp and Jude Law kicking ass as Grindlewald and Dumbledore, respectively. And those plot twists at the end? LOVE IT. 
What I’m Listening to: My custom “Mercenary’s Pact” soundtrack, which is composed mostly of various Final Fantasy OSTs.
What I’m Reading: Conversations with God, Book 3 – Finally finished the trilogy and OMG, mind blown forever! I highly recommend anyone who wants to better understand the workings of the universe read these books. Seriously.
What I’m Writing: The Mercenary’s Pact – So I hit my 50k words a few days ago, yet I now find myself at a rut. For one, it looks like this baby’s gonna be SIGNIFICANTLY longer than I’d originally anticipated. For two, my new video games are tempting me away…
What I’m Contemplating: How to minimize writing time so I can maximize gaming time?

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