It doesn’t take long to find some very, very negative opinions about the newly released titles Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Let’s Go! Eevee. Fans have been divided about them ever since their announcement earlier this year. A quick peek at Metacritic, an online review aggregation site, shows just how divided people are in their feelings with Pikachu holding a user review score of just 5.0/10.
This reaction isn’t without cause; the games deviate substantially from previous Pokémon titles in some ways, but stay maddeningly predictable in others.
The Let’s Go! titles will likely not satisfy players who long for a challenge. There may be battles that are harder than others depending on your team composition, but this is no Dark Souls. In fact many elements of the battle system have been moved entirely, including:
The absence of all of those is felt heavily by veteran trainers in battle who have been used to planning complex strategies around them. This can be even more frustrating coupled with the availability of only the first 151 Pokémon (plus Meltan and its evolution). Many things that made the series stimulating to older players are no longer there to make them feel invested in the game or encourage them to use it as a competitive platform.
All of those negative things? Very intentional on Game Freak’s part. In fact they mimic the games that many of us fell in love with, Pokémon Red and Blue. Those extra layers of Z-moves, Pokémon abilities, items and more have been layered on over the course of 20 years—it isn’t surprising that the developers of Pokémon wanted to create a game that was designed to be picked up and played by younger trainers who have been around for less time than the franchise itself.
With the children of today having games available on ubiquitous smart devices it isn’t a foolish decision to launch a streamlined core Pokémon game that capitalizes on the success of the mobile spin-off Pokémon GO. Right now the franchise is the highest-grossing in the world, an enviable position to be in. But its continued success is built upon tomorrow’s generation enjoying the games and sticking with them—not only those fans who started when the franchise was young.
“Still! Game Freak could have added new areas to Kanto! Better attack animations! A silkier framerate!”
They definitely could have. But would that have made it the perfect game? Maybe, to a couple people, but just as many would be hoping for something different. There has never been, nor will there be, a Pokémon game that satisfies everyone.
Are there things to criticize in the Let’s Go! games? Definitely. In fact, I’m not very partial to the deep menus you need to dive into in order to look at Pokémon in your Box. I also wish there were more challenges for veteran players like myself to find after the story ends.
IMPACTING THE FUTURE
Those who want a different kind of Pokémon game are in luck—Game Freak has already promised us one in 2019. That may not be enough consolation for those who think that the simplified mechanics of Let’s go! have a risk of bleeding into future titles though.
Valid criticism on social media, blogs or Pokémon discussion hubs is something that may be seen and considered by developers. Blindly raging by review bombing, threatening or throwing tantrums won’t. Why would you want to cater to people who act outrageously? There is no incentive to shape the franchise around the needs of those who act and speak with complete disregard to other fans.
Furthermore, it doesn’t make sense on a personal level to get so involved in a video game franchise that you let it cloud your emotional condition in such a way that you are making obscene public statements about it. There has to be a reality check somewhere that snaps you back into a state of mind willing to see shades of gray and consider things logically.
I have personally seen a lot of heated arguments online about Let’s Go!, but don’t forget that even when you feel negative about a game or a series to also look for positive aspects elsewhere in your life to keep yourself grounded. We fans can get pretty passionate, but don’t let that passion make you worse as a person.