Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! are now out in the hands of Nintendo Switch owners, and while the Switch titles definitely offer up a more simplified version of the role-playing game experience that players have come to expect, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, a lot of the streamlined experience is for the better. This sort of experimentation isn’t just good for those new to the series, but they also lead the way for developer Game Freak to iterate upon them in the next mainline Pokémon Switch game.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at all of the lessons that the next Pokémon Switch game can learn from Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!‘s design.
No More Random Battles
Arguably the best change in Pokemon Let’s Go is the removal of random battles. Getting to see Pokémon actually roaming the habitat they live in is way cooler, and there’s a new level of excitement when you actually see a creature you want to catch. Not only does it remove one of the most annoying parts of the role-playing game, but it also adds some cool visual moments such as when players first encounter the gigantic Onyx inside a claustrophobic cave that can’t even fit his whole body on-screen, or seeing just the feet of a Dragonite flying in the air above.
All Pokémon At Your Disposal
Also at the heart of Let’s Go is a revamped user interface. While it’s not all as good as it could be, one extremely smart change was getting rid of the PC system that players previously had to use at Pokémon Centers. Rather than making an arduous trip every time players wanted to swap out their pocket monsters, they can now just reach into their bag and do it automatically. It’s a really helpful feature that encourages players to use as many of their Pokémon as possible rather than just settling on a few favorites early on.
Entire Team Gets Experience
Another smart mechanic is that an experience share is on by default for the entire party. Players don’t have to equip an item anymore, and now all the pocket monsters automatically level up after successful battles. This gets rid of a ton of grinding, which is rarely an enjoyable aspect of the genre, and is one of my favorite additions because of that. Let’s Go focuses on letting players have fun, rather than get bogged down by the mechanical details, and that’s why it is such an enjoyable experience from the very beginning to when the credits roll.
Pokémon Switch Needs More Cinematic Moments
As someone who has been rewatching the Pokémon anime as of late, I loved how many small cinematic scenes that were added to the Let’s Go games. Team Rocket being a constant presence rather than just showing up a few times leads to a far more entertaining story arc, and I even got a bit emotional watching the Cubone scene in Lavender Town. I’d like to see even more of this trio in the future, as they definitely added some oomph to important scenes, and made all of the battles against Legendary Pokémon stand out in a good way.
Let Pokémon Out of Their Balls
Who needs bicycles when you can ride Pokémon? While having a partner follow you around isn’t new to the series, Let’s Go allows players to take any of their acquired friends out of their Poké Ball. While some simply follow behind the player, others can be ridden around like vehicles. The first time I took flight with my Charizard was an incredible moment, and I loved getting to traverse the very familiar world of Kanto in an exciting new way.
Sometimes Less is More
For the first time in well over a decade, Let’s Go made me care about my Pokédex. I’m never going to capture all 800+ pocket monsters available throughout the entire series. However, when there is a smaller selection, such as 150, it becomes a more realistic goal. That made me want to capture every rare Pokémon I saw, and now I’m just a few trades away from completing it. This smaller scope can make more players want to dive deep into the experience, and that’s a design choice worth exploring further in Pokémon Switch.
Swapping Out HMs For Special Techniques
Hidden Moves have always been one of the worst parts of the Pokémon series. Mainly because having to teach a party member a middling move like Strength, Flash, or Cut, just so you can use those abilities outside of battle, is extremely annoying. So, by relegating those functions to a special technique that doesn’t take up a move slot, they eliminate that issue entirely. It’s a smart solution to a problem that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.