Pokémon has come a long way since its humble beginnings. What began as an out of nowhere success story that managed to sweep not only Japan, but the world, has become a juggernaut that even Nintendo couldn’t predict. The series continues to grow strong decades later with very few actual changes along the way. Since Generation I, Pokémon has seldom strayed the course. Spin-offs have released, of course, but never so substantial where anyone clamors for anything but the expected. That all changed with the release of Go, however. As Generation I did the century prior, Go revitalized a series that was already strong.
Naturally, Game Freak decided to capitalize on the series’ newfound fervor. Blending the franchise’s two biggest moneymakers together, Game Freak developed Let’s Go — the perfect blend of the main series and the new phone based side series. In many respects, Let’s Go is built on a certain familiarity rooted in every essence of the series, but it is not so derivative where there isn’t a degree of mystery to it. Playing Let’s Go, you’ll often finding yourself wishing you knew key details beforehand. Game Freak pushed the idea of it as a remake, but it is truly so much more.
25 No Pro Controller Support
What you play with contributes quite a bit to how much you will inevitably enjoy a game. A good controller can make an experience whereas a bad once can keep you from fully appreciating a game at its best. The best case scenario is a game being designed around a single controller, offering the optimal control scheme.
Although Let’s Go is built around the Pokeball controller, it does have Joy-Con support. Sadly, it lacks Pro Controller support, arguably Nintendo’s comfiest controller. Logic dictates that this is due to the game’s reliance on gyro throwing, but handheld removes that entirely — there’s no reason the Pro Controller shouldn’t be supported.
24 Eevee And Pikachu Can’t Evolve
When Game Freak revealed that the two main starters would be Eevee and Pikachu, fans were naturally most inclined to pick the former. Not only had Eevee never been a starter before (at least not one trainers could pick,) Eevee has access to three evolutions on Kanto whereas Pikachu only has one.
In a twist of fate that honestly should not have surprised by anybody, but still did, Eevee and Pikachu cannot evolve over the course of the game. Your starter will stay in their pre-evolved form for the entirety of the game. That sadly means no Jolteon, Vaporeon, Flareon, or Raichu for you.
23 You Can Catch Duplicates Of Your Starter
Despite the inability to actually evolve your starters, Game Freak decided not to overlook this problem as they did in Yellow. Rather than forcing trainers to miss four entries in their Pokedex, Eevee and Pikachu can both be caught in the wild, ensuring that trainers can get their evolved forms by other means.
This marks one of Eevee's few capturable appearances.
This is especially useful for Eevee who, despite being one Pokémon, evolves into a potential three. That means trainers would need a minimum of three Eevees just to get all of their evolved forms. Naturally, with Eevee being unable to evolve, this means trainers would need to be able to find Eevee in the wild.
22 Eevee And Pikachu Have New Moves
Further showing that Game Freak does indeed know their audience well enough to understand that most fans likely would not be okay with Pikachu and Eevee staying in their base forms for the entire game, Game Freak decided to implement new moves for both Eevee and Pikachu.
Rather than simply letting them suffer with their base move pools, both Pokémon are now quite a bit stronger with moves that help cover their Type weaknesses and advantages quite a bit more. This way, Pikachu and Eevee can stay relevant from start to finish. Bizarrely, one is actually better than the other.
21 Eevee‘s Are Much Better
Despite both Pokémon being introduced on more or less an even playing field, Eevee utterly outclasses Pikachu in just about every regard. Pikachu has the moves you’d expect like Surf, at least allowing the electric mouse to do some real damage against Ground and Rock Types, but not much else.
Pikachu's got nothing on Eevee.
Eevee, on the other hand, has access to moves from across Gen I’s entire move pool. Eevee could realistically be built to cover any and all weaknesses. Considering Eevee is a Normal Type Pokémon, too, it’s not as if it HAS many weaknesses. Here’s hoping you picked Let’s Go Eevee.
20 You Need To Catch A Minimum Of 50 Pokémon To Beat The Game
Games in the series typically only have one goal: collect all eight badges to challenge the Elite Four. Although each game has its own overarching story that ends up eating up sometime sooner or later, trainers are more or less given the freedom to proceed how they please. Why would Let’s Go be any different?
Naturally, Let’s Go actually does handle this fairly differently. Rather than simply progressing the story and playing as you please, trainers need to catch a minimum of fifty Pokémon before the game’s end otherwise they won’t be able to challenge every Gym Leader and thus get all eight badges. Better get catching!
19 Your Starter Can Withstand Fainting
Affection has been a core mechanic of the series since Generation II. Starting with Gold’s adventure in Johto, Pokémon could begin to develop feelings for their trainers- familial ones, specifically. How happy your Pokémon was would be directly tied to concepts like evolution. Let’s Go keeps this train going.
The power of love is a wonderful thing.
Should Eevee and Pikachu especially like their trainer, they’ll have the chance to withstand fainting. Pikachu and Eevee’s love for you can allow them to endure a mortal blow. In that sense, it’s actually incredibly beneficial to use them often. It could net you a win in a tight moment.
18 No Wild Battles
Pokémon has one of the clearest defined gameplay loops in the entire medium of gaming. You walk around, you get into battles, you fight Pokémon, and you either catch them or faint them. It’s a simple loop that makes good use of traditional JRPG mechanics with a hint of team building to guide trainers.
Come Let’s Go, however, and the entire battling angle is out. While there are still random encounters, battles will only ever take place with other trainers. You will not be able to battle wild Pokémon, only catch them. This is a carryover from Go itself and it’s… not for everyone. Be warned if you’re still on the fence.
17 Catching Awards More EXP Than Battling
No means of battling in the wild means Pokémon naturally cannot gain experience as quickly as they once did. As Game Freak is not incompetent, they implemented a system to ensure that Pokémon would be gaining experience nonetheless: catching. When you catch a Pokémon, your Pokémon on hand gain EXP.
You'll never have to battle again.
It’s a fair trade-off and one that gives Let’s Go a bit of a more defined identity of its own, but the experience you get is also far higher than if you were battling in any other game. There is basically no need to grind in Let’s Go because catching nets you so much experience. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on how hard you want the game to be.
16 The Pokeball Controller Adds Quite A Lot
The Pokeball controller isn’t just for show- it is a legitimate addition to the Let’s Go experience. If you aren’t playing the game without the Pokeball in hand, you honestly aren’t playing the game as it was intended. As we’ve established, a controller adds a lot to an experience, and the Pokeball goes above and beyond.
Not only is it ergonomically designed to match the game’s inherent control scheme —fitting in one hand— the Pokeball lights up to match your Pokémon’s color scheme and also emits the sound of each Pokémon in your Pokedex. It is as immersive as a controller could be, improving the flow of the game considerably.
15 Owning The Pokéball Nets You Mew
If that wasn’t enough, owning the Pokeball gives you a one-time access code to none other than Generation I’s most elusive Pokémon: Mew. In buying the Pokeball, players can redeem their Mew almost as soon as they boot up their game.
Hope you bought a Pokeball!
Like in Generation I, Mew can learn every single move in the game, making him a valuable addition to any team. If you weren’t able to buy a Pokeball, don’t worry, Game Freak will likely redistribute Mew as an event sooner rather than later.
14 Rematches Are Back
Every game in the series should have rematches. Not only does it incentivize replay on a level that battling otherwise does not have, it keeps the game fresh. Who doesn’t dream of revisiting the earliest Gym Leader to challenge them at their very best? Thankfully, the mechanic sees a triumphant return in Let’s Go.
During your journey, you will be able to challenge Kanto’s eight Gym Leaders to rematches. Naturally, they’ll put up a much better fight. Most importantly, this ensures that you can’t run out of money. Since wild battling is out of the question, the game more or less ends if you run out of Pokeballs. Rematches ensure you always have a money well.
13 The “R” And “A” Buttons Are Functionally The Same
It can be a bit daunting playing a game with a single hand. After all, most controllers are designed with two hands in mind. From Nintendo’s earliest point in gaming, their controllers have always demanded two hands. Why wouldn’t they? It’s comfortable and keeps the wrists healthy.
A thumb can only do so much.
As Let’s Go doesn’t leave much room for flexibility, it can be a bit of a pain to press “A” while moving. Thankfully, Game Freak foresaw this potential issue and mapped “R” to have the same function as “A.” While “A” is the standard confirm button, “R” is far more comfortable so keep that in mind.
12 Let’s Go Is NOT A Remake
As soon as Nintendo revealed Let’s Go, it seemed quite obvious that the game was going to be a remake of Yellow. We were back in Kanto, Pikachu was a starter again, and the story seemed to be a refreshed version of Generation I. By all accounts, the game is a mechanical and conceptual remake.
Or so we thought. Playing the actual game, you’ll find that Let’s Go isn’t a remake at all. While it shares elements with Yellow, it is very much its own game. If anything, it is an explicit sequel to Generation I, taking place in the same region but expanding concepts. Red, Green, and Blue even appear, implying the game takes place a fair bit after.
11 Handheld Has Massive Framerate Problems
The Switch’s biggest draw also tends to be its biggest problem. Time and time again, games for the Nintendo Switch, first party or otherwise, sincerely struggle to run when undocked. While docked, Let’s Go looks great. It feels how a modern Pokémon should. Undocked, however? Get really for some problems.
Your life depends on that dock.
Almost inexplicably, Game Freak has yet to properly understand how to stabilize a 3D game. Should you play handheld, you’ll notice enormous framerate issues. The game does not run smoothly at all. This is more disappointing than with other games as Pokémon is an inherently handheld series. No good can come from undocking.
10 No Held Items
With Let’s Go, Game Freak is very much going back to basic. The game is set in Kanto, with Pikachu and Eevee as the starters, following Generation I’s story more or less beat by beat. The similarities don’t stop there, however, as the battle system also reflects Gen I’s simpler take on combat.
No abilities, no natures, and no held items. The first two make a bit of sense. It wouldn’t feel like Generation I with all the new fancier additions, but held items? Those were crucial in Gen II, arguably an extension of Gen I in every sense. Let’s Go lacking held items makes sense, but it is a surprising omission all the same.
9 The Original Starters Are In The Wild
With the game taking the series back to Kanto, fans wondered how Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle would play into things. After all, they aren’t starters. Naturally, they must be gift Pokémon, right? Well, yes, actually! You’ll be given them for completing Pokedex milestones, but there are other means of attaining the three starters.
All your schoolyard rumors are coming true.
Most interestingly, all three starters can also be found in the wild. Bulbasaur can even be found incredibly early on. Of course, they’re fairly rare and won’t be showing up too often, but you can actually catch starters! Worth noting, the gift versions are actually much better in terms of stats so it is worth waiting for those versions.
8 Pikachu And Eevee Will Never Be Shiny
Who doesn’t love a good shiny? Some fans will reset their games for hours on end just on the odd chance that they’ll get a shiny starter. This is a strategy that extends to Legendaries as well. After all, shinies are so rare that having just one is a badge of honor. Coming into Let’s Go, everyone wants their own shiny Pikachu and Eevee.
Except you’ll be wasting your time if you try to reset for a shiny. This time around, Game Freak doesn’t want anyone feeling special. No matter what, Pikachu and Eevee will ALWAYS be preset to their default color schemes. If you want shiny versions of your starters, you’ll need to catch them in the wild.
7 Your Partner Will Always Follow You
Introduced in Yellow and reincorporated in HeartGold and SoulSilver, having your Pokémon follow you is one of the many ways Game Freak has been emulating the anime over the years. Once again, the concept returns with not only your starter following you, but other Pokémon following you as well.
You will never escape Ash's influence.
Since your other Pokémon can follow you (some of which you can even ride,) it only makes sense that your starter go back to their Pokeball, but… they never leave. Even if you remove them from your team, they’ll tag around with you until the very end of the game. You will never escape Pikachu or Eevee.
6 The Pokecenter Doesn't Do Everything It Used To
One of the biggest chances Let’s Go makes to the series’ basic foundation is the ability to move Pokémon in and out of boxes on the go. No longer do you need to go to a Pokémon Center to transfer your Pokemon in and out. More pressingly, swapping your team in and out actually heals them.
Times are changing for Pokémon as a series.
5 You Can’t Turn Down The Pokeball’s Volume
Despite how cool the Pokémon controller is, it does have one fatal flaw: volume. Those cool and endearing sounds coming out of it are great the first few times, but every time? Sometimes you want to play in pure silence. It’s hard to do so with your Pokeball shrieking at you the whole time.
Controllers should be just that: controllers.
Naturally, you should be allowed to turn down the volume, but the Pokeball works off the Dualshock 4’s rules. Where you can’t dim the light on the latter, the former disallows you to adjust your volume off. You’re sticking listening to Pokémon cries for the entire game. Hope you don’t have roommates.
4 Let’s Go Pikachu Has Better Exclusive Mon
While most fans will ultimately pick whichever version is named after the color, gemstone, or celestial body they like most (“Ultra” or otherwise,) others do go out of their way in order to check which games will offer them the better Pokémon. While a color is nice, monsters are nicer.
If you’re the type of trainers who really cares about exclusive Pokémon, you’re best off choosing Let’s Go Pikachu. While you can get Pinsir and the Vulpix line in Eevee, Let’s Go Pikachu nets you: Sandslash, Vileplume, Primeape, Arcanine, and Scyther- all fantastic Kanto Pokémon.
3 The Master Trainers
You’ll be hard pressed to find fans of the series who don’t love a good post game. Something Pokémon does consistently well is ensure that players always have more to do after beating the Elite Four. Gen I had Mewtwo, Gen II had Kanto, Gen III had the Battle Frontier, Gen IV had all of Platinum’s post game, Gen V had a full on world tournament, and Gen VI had active plots.
Credits mean nothing for this series.
As expected, Let’s Go has its own post game. Upon beating the game, “Master Trainers” will arrive at Kanto. They offer the hardest challenge in the game, actively challenging players based on Type, and beating them even nets you some great rewards.
2 Shiny Hunting Made Easy
Everyone wants a shiny sooner or later. You can lie to yourself and say you really don’t mind, but the fact of the matter is simply that you crave a shiny. Thankfully, Let’s Go continues Game Freak’s stream of easing up the shiny requirements.
So long as you keep facing off against the same Pokémon by bumping into them on the overworld, you’ll trigger a combo of sorts. The game will keep track of how many of the same Pokémon you’re catching in a row and adjust the shiny RNG to throw you a bone.
1 Red Is Stronger Than Ever
The post game isn’t just meant to see you retreading around Kanto to find some Master Trainers, far from it. Once you’ve beaten enough of the Masters, you can battle the real master. Yes, the original Pokémon Trainer Red is back, and he’s stronger than he’s ever been.
PkMn Trainer Red would like to battle.
With a full team of Level 85 Pokémon, Red stands out as one of the strongest trainers in the entire franchise. There is little that can stand in his way in terms of raw power. Unfortunately, his team is actually fairly lackluster, but he can still brute force you.