Pokemon: Let's Go Pikachu! - First Look
In the closing minutes of E3, the stars aligned and I was able to get a quick glimpse in to the new Pokemon. As non-main entries in to the series, Pokemon: Let's Go Pikachu! and Let's Go Eevee! are aimed at a more casual crowd, trying to grab the attention of Pokemon Go fans and those who grew up with the series but might not have played the games. Overall, this adds a great "medium" experience, focusing more on the fun of catching new Pokemon and exploration.
During the demo, we were able to walk around a regular forest space, ripe with Pokemon to catch and trainers to battle. New in the franchise is the ability to see wild Pokemon walking around, giving players the option to engage or avoid as they like. This is a nice change that really lets you play the way you want, and build your team in a more precise way. Larger and smaller variants were distiguished with blue or red auras. All of this is just to give you more information up front, so you aren't battling Rattatas for hours on end if that isn't your jam. Trainer battles functioned the same as in previous games, but with shiny new models and animation. Overall, everything looks bright and fun and distinctly 3D.
As an added bonus, I had a chance to try out the Poke Ball Plus controller, which will be launching along the game. As a controller, it works much better than I would have imagined. Pokemon are caught by actually motioning to throw, with a middle button acting as "A" and a top button for "B". Once Pokemon have been caught, the ball lights up and shakes, making it feel like there's actualy something inside. Each Pokemon's sound will play from the controller as well. The controller will also pair with smartphones for Pokemon Go, serving as a pedometer for your steps and letting you catch Pokemon on the go. This peripheral is definitely still a gimmick, but a well-done one that fans will enjoy as an added bonus.
Overall, the entire demo felt fresh in a way that I think is going to draw many fans back in. As someone who has grown up with the series but skipped the past few generations, I absolutely cannot wait to pick this up. Pokemon: Let's Go Pikachu! and Let's go Eevee! launch on November 16, 2018 for Nintendo Switch