Review: Pokémon Let's Go - Back home in Kanto after a decade away

Like it or loathe it, there's something magical about returning to the video game world of your childhood - and the latest Pokémon game allows that in a spectacular fashion.

When Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee were first announced, I'll admit I was one of those watching baffled and sceptical.

But 10 minutes into the actual game, none of that matters, because I'm carrying an Eevee on my arm. Not to be dramatic, but I love my new daughter and will die for her.

A close-up screenshot from Pokemon Let's Go Eevee of an Eevee smiling at the player.
Most of my gameplay will be spent cuddling this Eevee. Photo credit: Newshub / Pokémon Let's Go Eevee

The return to Kanto originally seemed drawn-out to me; a desperate attempt at dragging back the 'gen wunners' with nostalgia. After playing Red, LeafGreen and Soul Silver, the idea of returning - AGAIN - didn't fill me with confidence.

But this game isn't just for those who have played Pokémon all their lives. It's for the new kids getting involved for the first time - for your little cousins and nieces and nephews.

It's Kanto again but they've stepped it up. You have freedom to choose what you look like. You can even be a GIRL - something that wasn't an option in the original games. You can plug it into your TV and play it on the big screen.

A screenshot from Pokemon Let's Go Eevee of an Eevee attacking a Pikachu.
Also you can still fight people, like your rival. Photo credit: Newshub / Pokémon Let's Go Eevee

There are many parts of the game I hope they pick up for the eventual RPG, delayed until at least 2019. Riding your actual partner Pokémon - touched on in Sun/Moon and expanded on here - makes you feel so much more involved than just tapping a button and warping somewhere. Seeing wild Pokémon darting through the tall grass makes the world feel incredibly vibrant and alive.

And carrying your beloved Eevee or Pikachu on your arm or head? Perfect. Let me see my beautiful Pokémon children, Nintendo, don't hide them all away in the ball.

A screenshot from Pokemon Let's Go Eevee of an Eevee perched on the player's head.
I love my beautiful Eevee daughter and will protect her with my life. Photo credit: Newshub / Pokémon Let's Go Eevee

The new catching dynamic was a bit odd to pick up and I'm also not usually a fan of motion controls. I found the easiest way to play was in handheld mode. I do wish there was still a way to battle wild Pokémon to weaken them before you toss the ball - the best of both worlds.

Looking back at all the different iterations of Pokémon, the best ones were the ones that you made you feel like part of the world. Levelling up by catching, rather than training, makes you less likely to go attached to your Pokémon - they're not your team anymore; it doesn't even prompt you to name them, expecting you to throw them away when you get something better like in the mobile Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Let's Go is an interesting insight into how future games on the Nintendo Switch may function. It's clear Game Freak plans to push the system to its limits for the RPG and I'm cautiously optimistic.

However, I'm quite disappointed that due to the online gameplay, they've restricted your naming options.

It wouldn't even let me name my rival something as simple as 'buttnugget'.

A screenshot of Pokemon Let's Go Eevee, with an error message forbidding the naming of a rival 'buttnugget'.
This is just rude. Let me name my rival what I want. Photo credit: Newshub / Pokémon Let's Go Eevee

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