So Nintendo just did more than a mic drop
So the other day Nintendo dropped a ton of information on the official Pokemon Twitter account. Five Pokemon games (or three depending on how you count), one out immediately, two in November, and two more next year.
Considering how excited Nintendo and Pokemon fans were for these games, the timing is strange. Dropping this information so far before the E3 Nintendo Direct has me both terrified and excited at what is being announced!
So what a lot of people are excited about and honestly what I should probably be focusing on is the available right now Pokemon Quest.
I will try and give it a go on the weekend, but honestly, I think I will wait until the phone version comes out next month.
It just looks like one of that ‘wait to play’ type freemium phone games, so it’s not really on my radar.
It is a free to play, so if you have a Switch grab it and let me know what you think!
The new ‘core’ RPG coming in 2019
Not much information here. Basically, Nintendo said “Hey, you know that RPG game you were waiting for? Well, Let’s Go isn’t it. But it is coming.”
That’s what they basically said. What they actually said is:
Pokemon Let’s Go
So here is the game I am excited about that is coming out this year – Pokemon Let’s Go. Obviously, there have been massive graphical overhauls from the DS games, but this is more than a pretty version of an old classic.
Pokemon Let’s Go seems to be ‘Pokemon Lite’. Don’t let the kiddie veneer of Pokemon fool you, there is a heap of mechanics for new players to try and assimilate all at once. Think of trying to learn Magic: The Gathering level of information. This is a daunting proposition under any circumstance.
And a lot – and I mean a lot – of new players picked up and enjoyed Pokemon Go. How do you convince those new players to try the ‘core’ Pokemon games?
By bringing out a halfway between Go and the core RPG’s – Pokemon Let’s Go!
Like the main core Pokemon games, Let’s Go comes in two versions: Pikachu and Eevee editions. Gameplay is the same for both games, but your starting Pokemon is determined by the edition.
So Pokemon Let’s Go is in a weird position, especially for a company like Nintendo. Let’s Go is essentially a remaster of Pokemon Yellow, which came out on the GameBoy 20 years ago.
But it’s far from a straight remaster – while the game and story may be based heavily on a known property, Nintendo has taken this opportunity to really branch out and create a unique experience.
New game mechanics, controls, integration with Pokemon Go, and integration with the Pokeball Plus – this is going to be a very interesting experience.
No more Random Battles
All RPG players, especially JRPG players, know ‘The Grind’. Random battles to help you level up your character, one experience point at a time.
The Grind has always been a part of Pokemon, but there has also been another layer. The motto of Pokemon is ‘Gotta Catch ‘Em All!’, and players have always explored the world around them in an attempt to do this.
But because you battle with a random (to an extent) Pokemon, you can wait a long time to catch the Pokemon you are trying to catch! In Let’s Go, you can now see the Pokemon around you, letting you know which ones you want to try and catch, and which ones you can just skip by.
It’s not clear if you still battle wild Pokemon to level up your Pokemon and make it easier to catch them. Opinions seem divided on this from the trailer, but if you think of Let’s Go as a gateway to the core RPG games, it kind of makes sense.
Wild encounters seem to launch straight into a Pokemon Go style capture screen, but it is possible this screen can be directly after a battle. The screens do show Pokemon with level values, so there must be a way to gain experience.
Time will tell for sure of course, but I am already looking forward to seeing what is around me.
So in Pokemon Go, you can ‘team up’ with friends and do raids and the like. You can walk around and play with your friends, but I never got the real feeling of ‘playing’ with my friends.
Pokemon Let’s Go is on the Switch, so technically you can walk around and play with your friends in handheld mode, but that seems to be against what Nintendo is pushing with the ‘one joy con’ push.
But you know what it does let you do on the console? Use the second Joy Con to play with your friend! Two players on the screen exploring, battling, and even catching Pokemon!
No idea how you ‘share’ a cooperatively captured Pokemon, but hey it will be fun waiting to find out.
New ways to capture Pokemon – sort of?
In Pokemon Go, instead of selecting the ‘Throw’ command, you flick the ball at your target on your phone. Sure, the Switch has a touch screen, but how does that work on the couch?
You know what else the Switch has? Motion sensing Joy Cons. Make the throwing action with the Joy Con, and watch the ball travel towards your intended catch!
Just remember the Wii, OK?
OK, so technically not Let’s Go, the new controller works with both Pokemon Let’s Go and Pokemon Go. But it’s also more than that.
Remember the Pokemon Go Plus? I regretted not buying one in the end. While I don’t know how much I would have tried to catch Pokemon with it, not having the Pokemon Go app open for steps and notification when you are near a Poke Stop or there are Pokemon around would be very useful.
Well, the Pokeball Plus does this as well! So you can carry around your Pokeball Plus controller and get benefits for Pokemon Go even with the app off, as long as the ball is paired with your phone.
And during Let’s Go? Why ‘throw’ a Joy Con at the screen, when you can throw a Pokeball?
The diagram shows one button, but the video seems to show people ‘pressing’ the controller, so I am guessing it’s a two button controller. You couldn’t use it as a universal Joy Con replacement, but for Pokemon games it does help with the immersion!
Take your Pokemon with you in the Pokeball Plus
The last feature of the Pokeball Plus seems to be essentially granting every Poke Trainers dream true. You can actually carry your Pokemon around with you!
Like the old school Tamagotchis, your Pokemon can be transferred to your Pokeball and carried around with you.
This apparently ‘strengthens your bond’, but the exact mechanics are a little up in the air at this time.
While this seems fun, for me I don’t really have time at work to pull out a ‘neglected and/or bored’ Pokemon and look after it, but the idea certainly appeals. For a certain type of audience, I can see this feature being the only reason some people would play Pokemon Let’s Go at all!
Switch Pokemon between Go and Let’s Go
So this one seems to be causing a little bit of a stir amongst certain players, but being able to transfer Pokemon you caught between games seems like a great idea to me!
The video shows that Pokemon transferred to the Switch go to Go Park, so maybe it’s a sandbox area where you can play with your Pokemon in ways you can’t on your phone.
You can dress your Pokemon
So I am not one of the people that thinks you should dress up your pets for fun. There are a lot of people in this world that disagree with me though.
During the game, your Pokemon sits on your hand or rides on your back, showing the closeness of your relationship. But Pikachu looks like everyone else’s Pikachu, until now.
In Pokemon Let’s Go, you can customise your Pokemon and really show the world your specific Pokemon!
And all the rest?
I am really hoping that trading and battling your friends takes front stage in Pokemon Let’s Go. While not critical, if you watch the anime at all you know how battling especially is such an important part of the world.
I am sure there will be new features announced and clarifications made over the next six months until the release of Let’s Go.
Until then, I will just keep an ear out on what is happening. One thing is for sure, November 16th will answer all questions!
Until next time,
Oh, one more thing…
Even though Let’s Go is not a ‘core’ Pokemon game, there will be one new Pokemon included. There will be a lot of speculation on this Pokemon will be over the next few months, so this could be interesting to watch.