It’s getting close to Pokémon Day on the 27th February, and Pokémon have teamed up with Google to let people vote for their favourite Pokémon.
You just need to search “Pokémon Vote” on Google to get to the poll, and once you’re there you’ll be able to vote for your favourite Pokémon from each of the 8 regions (Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, Kalos, Alola, and Galar). It includes all 890 Pokémon from there National Pokédex in Sword/Shield.
I got my Nintendo Switch just 10 days ago. It’s the Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu edition. I have just that game for it, and I’ve been playing it pretty much non-stop since I’ve got it, and I thought I’d share my opinions so far.
The console overall feels like the ultimate Nintendo console. It’s perfectly capable of being a great handheld device, but also super easy to just place it in the dock and play games on a television. I especially like the controller combinations, as there are quite a few. You can simple attach the Joy Cons to the console, play with one/two separately, use the “dog ears” controller (I like that name so much, I’m not bothering to find out the official one), and even the Pokéball controller that came with my Switch.
It feels powerful, while also being really customisable, and flexible to your needs.
My Pokémon Background
I’ve been interested in Pokémon ever since I was a child, and to put it bluntly, I was obsessed. I watched every episode of the series, played every game, watched every movie, and had a ton of Pokémon toys. My first game was Pokémon Yellow for the GameBoy Color. It was released in the UK in the year 2000, just before my 8th birthday. I’m not too sure when I actually got the game myself, but I can imagine it was pretty near that date. I kept it on me at all times, and become pretty attached to it.
Of course, over the years I’ve grown to be slightly less obsessed with the franchise. But I still play all the games, watch all the movies, and try to watch some episodes of the tv series. I’ve also been a pretty regular Pokémon GO player since it was released a few years ago.
I’m a big fan.
When I first started hearing about the game I wasn’t sure about it. I remember people reporting that it would be very similar to the simple playing style of Pokémon GO, and I was not pleased about that at all. But there was an interview with two people from Game Freak that cleared up a few things, and reassured me a bit.
Then the videos started to come out and to be honest, I was still a bit unsure how the gameplay would feel, compared to the original games. The main questions I had were about how you caught Pokémon, not being able to battle with wild Pokémon, and that the randomness about finding Pokémon seemed to be ruined by your ability to see all the Pokémon walking in the grass before you even initiated anything.
However, when I first launched Pokémon, Let’s Go, I was pleasantly surprised. And all of my worries about the game instantly went away. It just felt as if it was a perfect evolution of the game series, and everything made sense. The artwork was brilliant, and I loved the initial introduction with Pikachu. While the map is the same, everything is brighter, in much more detail, and of course, it’s in all three dimensions! So even just exploring the map is fun.
Seeing Pokémon in the Wild
One of the biggest changes in the gameplay was that you now see wild Pokémon running around in the grass. Before playing the game I thought this was a terrible idea, after playing the game I now find it one of the best changes they made.
Turns out, seeing the actual Pokémon running around in their natural habitats is actually very enjoyable. And there’s a lot of fun to be had chasing down a Growlithe or swerving away from a Zubat. It doesn’t entirely mean that you will be able to see every Pokémon though, as I’ve had a few occasions where they’ve appeared right next to me, and started an immediate encounter. So there’s still some surprise-factor left in the game.
Another thing that I thought would take some time adjusting to, was the new paradigm around catching Pokémon. Instead of the previous process, where you would encounter a Pokémon in the wild, battle it, and then lower its HP so you could catch it easier. You simply encounter a Pokémon, and you can start throwing Pokéballs at it!
There’s still a level of complexity to it though, as there are better Pokéballs you can use to have a better chance of capturing a Pokémon, and also berries. They were in previous games, but the actual implementation in this game comes from Pokémon GO. Each berry has its own benefit, and I think they work well. Especially the Nanab Berry, which when used, makes Pokémon move less and therefore easier to catch.
That also leads me into the thing I most enjoy about the new way to catch Pokémon. It feels a lot more realistic because some Pokémon move more than others, which may require you to move around to get a good shot. In general, it appears as if they’re acting with a level of personality. At least enough to distinguish behaviours between different types of Pokémon.
Comparison With the Original
Most of the game seems the same as the original Kanto games. But there’s a few changes and some improvements. Such as the music. It features the same melodies, but in much higher quality, and what feels like more depth.
The map is the same, or at least so far it seems to be. I can’t imagine there being major differences later on, but at least so far I’ve only noticed one small change. And that’s a little Meowth sleeping above an entrance to something.
The way HM (hidden machines) work is different in this game. And for me, the changes are very welcome. In the past, a HM was taught to a Pokémon as a move, so it would be available in battle. But of course, it would take up space. Now they’re taught to your partner Pokémon (Pikachu or Eevee) and are worded slightly different, with Cut being replaced by a Chop Down ability.
I know it’s a fundamental part of the Nintendo Switch, but I have to comment on the fact that it’s just so easy to dock the console and have it just continue on a television. Pokémon also runs perfectly, which I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by either.
This is the single way I charge the device as well. As I tend to only play it in handheld mode if I’m commuting, or if someone else is watching television, and I’m just sat on the sofa playing it. So I haven’t actually seen a low battery warning more than twice I think.
I also noticed that the graphics were slightly better on the TV, and since looking at the tech specs, I can see that the Switch can output 1080p to a TV, but the handheld screen is only 720p. It doesn’t detract from the handheld display though, as I find it absolutely perfect.
Playing a Pokémon game on a 50″ television is something that may sound a bit silly at first, but it’s a very fun experience!
When I was looking to buy a Switch, this was something I honestly didn’t care for. As I expected it to be a “companion” controller, and would only add a minuscule amount of playability to the game.
I was proved wrong as soon as I started playing with it. Mainly because you can play the entire game with just the Pokéball, and even when it only has two buttons and a joystick!
There’s a lot of fun parts to it as well. It not only makes noises and vibrates as you play the game, but it also acts like a real Pokéball would do when you’re trying to capture a Pokémon. The lights flashes and changes colour like the one in-game, and it also makes realistic Pokéball noises.
It also comes with a Mew “inside”, which you can transfer immediately to the game!
My Overall Experience With How I’m Playing the Game
Okay, so you can probably tell that I’m really enjoying the game so far. But there are a few extra points that I’d like to make, that really add to how I played the game.
One thing I noticed, was that it seems as if there’s a more diverse selection of Pokémon that appear in the game. Of course, there’s still only the same 151 Pokémon, but they seem spread out a bit more. Maybe this is down to the fact that you “see” Pokémon before you start an encounter, and therefore are aware of it more. But it certainly adds to the realism aspect of the game.
Of course, you wouldn’t find a fish Pokémon running round in the grass, but I’ve seen Growlithe just south of Cerulean City, and also just north of Vermillion City, either side of the tunnel. That’s not something I’ve seen in previous games. I’ve also spotted Rhyhorn and Cubone in Rock Tunnel, which both surprised me! And I can’t remember where exactly, but I caught a Kangaskhan really early on, possibly in Rock Tunnel, but certainly before you get the fourth badge.
How I played the game was slightly skewed from my knowledge of the previous games, in that I know the entire map, and how everything is tied together. But there’s also a few things that are different in this game. So while I could play through quite quickly, I’m taking my time to experience everything as if I’d never played it before. Part of me wants to explore every single part of the game and trying to spot where it’s different. Another part of me wants to just enjoy the content. And at the same time, I just want to catch every Pokémon and complete my Pokédex.
Overall I felt that the game allows for various types of gameplay. Sometimes I’m sat down in front of a television and I want to really get into the game, and focus on every bit of the content, and other times I’m laying on the sofa and I just want to catch a few Pokémon with the Pokéball controller. Then there are times when I’m commuting to/from work, and I use it as a handheld device. It’s something that can be used wherever you are, no matter the situation, and that’s something I really enjoy about the console as a whole, and Pokémon specifically, as it’s a game that lends itself well to different contexts.
I haven’t finished the game yet, and although I got my first three badges in just a few days, I plan on playing the game at a slower pace. Especially as I aim to complete my Pokédex.
As a Pokémon GO player, I’m also interested seeing how they work together. As you’re able to transfer Pokémon GO to Pokemon Let’s Go, after you’ve reached Fuchsia City. But as I haven’t reached that, I don’t even know what it looks like. I’ll probably wait until I’m relatively complete though, as I don’t want to “cheat”.
What else is great, is that there’s also another Pokémon game planned for release in 2019! So hopefully I can completely finish the game off before it comes out. It will be interesting to see if that follows in the footsteps of Lets Go, or if it will continue where the traditional series left off.
Apart from Pokémon games, I’m also thinking about getting Zelda and Mario in the future. We’ll have to see how that turns out though.
Anyway, I better go now. The Silph Scope isn’t going to find itself!
Eurogamer recently had an interview with two people from Game Freak, the main developers of Pokémon games. Junichi Masuda (executive director and head of game development) and Kensaku Nabana (designer). It’s a really interesting read, especially with all the changes they had to make when adapting the game to a different style of playing.
Two decades on from Pokémon Red and Blue’s arrival here in the west, we’re going back to Kanto once again.
Pokémon Let’s Go have made big changes – some proving more popular than others in the lead up to its release – but there’s still a lingering sense that, with just the first generation of Pokémon available, in the first region, we’ve seen it all before.
A couple of weeks ago, alongside an extended hands-on preview of Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, we talked to Junichi Masuda, executive director and head of game development at Pokémon’s main studio Game Freak, as well as fellow designer Kensaku Nabana, about some of the nitty gritty details fans are always after, including how that whole Meltan reveal came about, HMs, and those perpetual questions of difficulty, open worlds, and the series’ future.
It ends with a answer from Junichi Masuda, which is quite reassuring about their idea of how the main series of Pokémon games will be played:
I know that a lot of people and fans have spent a lot of time hatching eggs, they’ve hatched… a lot of eggs, but we want them to kind of discover new ways to enjoy Pokémon games, you know I’d be really sad to think that for them, Pokémon is hatching eggs, so with this one we’re trying to show them a different side of the game.
Pokémon GO is super popular, and I still play it quite a lot, but I wouldn’t want the main games to be simplified to match. So this is good news!
There’s a new Pokémon movie coming out (the 20th actually), and it’s by far one of the most significant they’ve ever made.
Instead of continuing the timeline of Ash and his many companions, they’re using it to celebrate all the adventures between Ash and Pikachu, that have happened across the tv-series and the other movies.
I won’t spoil too much about the film, because it’s probably best to just watch the trailer, and let it all come flooding back in. All I will say is, it starts right back at the beginning! And it contains so much stuff, I seriously don’t know how they will fit everything in.
As always, there’s a few benefits you get from going to see a Pokemon movie. You can get a code for Pokémon Sun/Moon to allow your Pikachu to wear Ash’s hat. Or for Pokémon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, you’ll receive a QR code that will grant you a Pikachu wearing the hat that Ash wears in the movie.
However, there’s something else that’s just brilliant. They will give you a special edition card for the Pokémon TCG!
Maybe that isn’t a big deal on it’s own. But I remember when I saw the first Pokémon movie at the cinema. I came out after watching the film, and was presented with a free poster, and a Pikachu trading card! To be honest, I don’t know where the card is anymore, but I still want this one.
Later this week, there is an update to Pokemon GO that will bring over 80 new Pokemon to catch!
The new Pokemon will be Gen 2, so from the Pokemon Gold and Silver games. You will be able to catch the three starters, Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile, along with loads more!
When you face a Pokemon in the wild, they will also react in a new way, there are no specifics yet though, so you’ll have to find out for yourself. While in an encounter, there will also be a simpler way to select and use items.
From PokeStops, you’ll now be able to find berries. These can have various different effects, such as a Nanab Berry will slow a Pokemon’s movements, making it easier to catch, or a Pinap Berry which will double the amount of Candy you’ll receive if you catch the Pokemon on the next attempt.
There’s also a few more pieces of apparel that you can use to customise your avatar, so it will be a bit less generic.
It’s not a huge update, but it’s good to see that Pokemon GO is still moving forward. I’m still waiting for a battle system, where players will be able to battle each other, but I can only hope. For now, we’ll have to settle with trying to catch them all!
We want to provide you a detailed look at a new feature coming soon to Pokémon GO – Daily bonuses! Trainers will soon be able to receive a bonus for certain daily activities, including catching a Pokémon or visiting a PokéStop once a day. You’ll earn a larger bonus if you do this seven days in a row! – Pokémon GO Blog
This seems like a nice idea for continuing players, but most people have stopped playing now. So is this there idea to try and attract people back to the game?
While the Pokémon franchise never really went away entirely, the amazingly successful launch of new augmented reality game Pokémon Go has returned the property to a level of pop-culture ubiquity it’s not seen in many years. With millions of people currently spending their free time trying to catch ’em all, Nintendo’s stock price has rocketed up 25%, and the company’s financial outlook now looks quite rosy. Naturally, Pokémon Go’s success has led Legendary Pictures to start working overtime on a deal with Nintendo to produce a live-action Pokémon movie. While a deal is still not finalized, reports are suggesting who might be in line to write the script, if and when contracts are signed.
Really. Pokémon and Live-Action?
I can’t imagine this being anything other than a terrible idea.
If you haven’t heard about Pokémon GO yet, then you’ve clearly been living under a very heavy rock, so check it out now.
The main restriction with Pokémon GO at the minute, is the inability to download it in certain countries. At the time of me writing this, it’s only available in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. So as I’m in the UK, I can’t officially download it from the App Store.
Unless, I was “american”.
So the way I got around it was to go to appleid.apple.com, and create a new Apple ID which was based in the U.S. You can get a random U.S. address from this generator, which will then let you create an account.
Then you will have to go to the App Store app, then at the bottom of your screen, tap on your current Apple ID and choose Sign Out.
Then sign in with your newly created U.S. Apple ID, it will prompt you to change to the U.S. App Store, which you can confirm.
Once that’s done you can download Pokémon GO simply by searching and finding it on the App Store, and because it’s free you won’t need any payment details on the account.
When the App is installed, you can then sign out of this account in the App Store, and sign back in to your real account.