I’d never played a Pokemon RPG before. I’d seen a few episodes of the anime a couple of decades back, and I played Pokemon Go when it came out, but the main RPGs never made it to the top of the list of potential games for me to play. This summer, though, I had a bit of a lull between games and I was going on a trip so I wanted something I could bring with me; Pokemon Let’s Go looked adorable, so I figured I’d fill in that gap.

And it was adorable! (Especially since I grabbed the Eevee edition.) But also I feel like the series isn’t for me. Structurally, the game seems to be encouraging you to build up a diverse set of pokemon to be able to fight different matchups; but, if you really want to do that, you’re setting yourself up for a ton of grinding? And, to make matters worse, there are random variables involved, ones that are hidden most of the game.

So, if you’re me, you’ll eventually end up with a reasonably strong and reasonably diverse set of pokemon once you reach somewhere around the halfway point, and hope that they can carry you through the game without having to always get the matchups right. And they did carry me through fine; actually, as I went through the final third or so, I found myself overleveled more often than I had earlier, even though I’d been avoiding some portion of the encounters. So the game isn’t mean; but also has a design at its core that doesn’t particularly attract me.


Which isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy playing Pokemon Let’s Go: I’m glad to have done so. It’s a pleasant lightweight RPG; more battle heavy than I’d like, but the battles are pleasant enough.

And it’s got character. Though, honestly, a little less character than I expected? Like in the encounters with Team Rocket, for example: my expectations for that were set by the anime, but Jessie and James don’t have nearly the same style in this game as they do in the anime. So maybe it’s not quite right to say that the game has character: the interactions are pretty bland, the music was hit and miss, but I liked the visual styling quite a bit.


But still, the game gave me something to do, and it didn’t overstay its welcome. And I’m glad to have filled in that gap in my background.

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