I was wrong: Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! is fantastic

Pokemon: Let's Go, Pikachu! I was wrong Pikachu

Welcome to a new recurring series called “I was wrong.” We always have opinions about things, but sometimes, these thoughts change over time. This feature is a way to introduce a topic, talk about the original thoughts, and why they’ve changed. Two weeks ago, I wrote about how I felt I had outgrown Pokémon games. Until a few days ago, I didn’t even plan on buying the newest Pokémon game. All of that changed through persuasion and seeing how much fun my friends were having. After a few hours with Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!, I’m ready to admit — I was wrong.

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! is everything I loved about the franchise. Essentially a remake of YellowLet’s Go, Pikachu! is a wonderful throwback to the golden age of Pokémon. From the opening moments, there was a grin on my face that barely left. I set off on a familiar journey full of nostalgia. I’m having a blast (from the past).

Random encounters no more. Fine by me.

Originally, the thought of no longer having random encounters bothered me. I always enjoyed fighting the Pokémon that tried to ambush me. If I already caught that particular species, fighting to gain experience would be the strategy. There was a joy in the unpredictable nature of battling. In Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!, you can see the creatures roaming around throughout the adventure. Knowing what’s around you helps to decide which to catch and which to avoid. I’ve encountered countless Growlithes, Oddishes, Pidgeys, Psyducks, and Spearows in my adventure. The great thing about this mechanic is that I’ve bypassed the ones I didn’t care for.

Pokemon Let's Go PikachuMore ways to gain experience? Don’t mind if I do.

Gaining experience is surprisingly a lot better in Let’s Go, Pikachu!. In addition to battling other Pokémon to level up, players also gain experience by capturing wild creatures. If battles become scarce while walking between towns, farming Pokémon helps get stronger. It’ll increase your collection, but catching large amounts make your party battle-hardened. While I do miss fighting wild Pokémon before going for the capture, I enjoy gaining experience regardless. Capturing Pokémon is reminiscent of the hit mobile game, and that surprisingly transitions well to the Switch. I’m thrilled that Game Freak changed the format enough without compromising the overall integrity of the experience.

Love, thy name is Kanto.

Honestly, the Kanto region was the most significant selling point for me. I love Pokémon, but there are now over 800 species out there. It’s a bit overwhelming. I loved when I knew every Pokémon available. Now, I can barely keep track of them. Let’s Go, Pikachu! scales everything back by focusing on the original 151 Pokémon that I’ve loved since 1996. The Kanto region is where I spent countless childhood hours, and I’m happy to be back.

Pokemon Let's Go PikachuI won’t lie — I got emotional fighting Brock and Misty again. Reliving iconic battles has been one of the best moments of my year. It’s crazy to think that in 2018, Pokémon is back at the forefront of my gaming catalog. Between the great Pokémon like Charmander, Bulbasaur, Pikachu; the locations like Lavender Town, Pallet Town, and Cerulean City; and the gym leaders I sought to defeat, Let’s Go, Pikachu! is everything I wanted from the franchise.

I love you, Pikachu.

Look, everybody’s wrong at some point in their life. When Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! was announced, it honestly angered me. Everything I wanted from a Pokémon game seemed to be nonexistent. Despite the updated visual style, the gameplay didn’t look like the Pokémon I know and love. I spent months not looking forward to it and, instead, listening to friends and coworkers express their excitement for the launch date.

The constant praise and adoration for Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! finally broke me, and I’m glad it did. Let’s Go, Pikachu! made me feel like a kid again. It helped me to find myself enthralled with the franchise that defined more than a decade of my life. In 2018, I’m hooked on the franchise again. While we’ll get a mainline installment down the line, I’m fine with what Game Freak and Nintendo released on Switch. I’m happy to admit that I was wrong, and I encourage anybody interested in the Switch games to give them a shot. It’s a more streamlined Pokémon game, but the end result is an adventure worth taking.

Andrew Gonzalez
Andrew Gonzalez is the Co-Editor-In-Chief of Xbox Enthusiast. When not writing about Xbox, he's usually reading comics, talking about Taylor Swift, and dreaming of the perfect Jet Force Gemini Reboot. You can follow him on Twitter. @AJGVulture89