You know the score: if a major franchise does something you don’t like, the respectable thing is to take to the internet and to do everything within your power to make sure it suffers and BURNS. That’s how most problems get solved, right?
The latest victim of the webosphere’s pitchforks is the newest entry in the Pokémon series: Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! came out on Friday to generally favourable reviews from critics, who conceded that – whilst these titles were undoubtedly meant for those of a more mainstream persuasion – they still contained plenty of Pokéfun in the lovingly re-imagined world of Pokémon Yellow.
Unfortunately, the somewhat ‘dialled-down’ approach of the latest iteration hasn’t been warmly received by those who demand something a bit more ‘intellectual’ from their pocket monster-hunting. At the time of writing, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! has gone down to 5.3 on Metacritic, and whilst that isn’t the worst result in the history of review scores, it does represent a split of 354 positive reviews against 348 negative. And whilst it’s hard to accurately or exhaustively sum-up the collective reasoning behind the latest wave of negativity, the general flavour appears to be one of a lack of complexity, a lack of challenge, and a lack of new features. Or indeed, a lack of features.
Otherwise, it’s great 😀
The situation has gotten so bad, in fact, that Amazon Japan appears to have removed all of the product’s customer reviews, apart from a sole five star assessment from a person named Xiao who simply says, “I like it. Nice.” Thanks Xiao.
One reviewer on Metacritic, however, was a little more… vocal.
“Pokémon: Let’s Go is for children and people who have never touched a Pokémon game before… Nintendo promised a few times that this game would accommodate old fans of the series and still provide a fun experience. I can affirm that that is false. This is the easiest, most watered down game in the series, even if it is supposed to not count as a main series game. The game refuses to respect the intelligence of the player…”
Personally, I’m finding it to be perfectly-pitched for my intellectual capacity, so I’m not sure what that says about me…
Otherwise – hmm. It’s hard to know what to say about all this. On the one hand, I think it’s fairly obvious that many of these comments aren’t legitimate ‘reviews’ as such, but rather a band of passionate Pokéfans using the Metacritic platform to vent their rage towards a franchise that they feel betrayed by. Which is understandable. I don’t have that with Pokémon but I’ve certainly felt it in the past. Ask my housemates what my mood was like when Jodie Whittaker was announced as Doctor Who…
But with all that being said, in my opinion this salvo of review bombs is unhealthy and unwarranted. I don’t think any expectations have been scuppered; Nintendo has been clear from the get-go that this title is intended more for the Pokécasual than the Pokéstaunch. Yes it’s simplified – and perhaps overly – but there is the promise of a more robust ‘next generation’ title in the near future, oui? For those yearning for randomly-spawned encounters, item-holding, more tactical XP management – it’s coming! Surely Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! are just a couple of nostalgic pitstops on the road to Pokédex-filling utopia?
And at the risk of further fanning the flames of Charizard’s wrath, can I just say that I bought a Nintendo Switch specifically to play Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! at launch, and I’m having a great time. As someone who hasn’t played a Pokémon game since Pokémon Crystal, this is a fuzzy and reminiscent reintroduction to a game series that I used to love. And it’s pretty harmless. But basically, if you’re not going to enjoy playing it, don’t hurt yourself – save your money and wait for the 900+ Pokéfest that will be Pokémon Blood Moon XYZ (or whatever) in a year’s time. Sorted.
How do you feel about Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee? Are you enjoying them? Or are you one of the people who’s felt the bitter sting of Beedrill’s prongs? Let me know in the comments below.