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While Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was the main showcase at E3 this year, there was a smaller station across from the popular fighting game that was having E3 attendees waiting for hours to play — Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee. Why such a big deal? Aside from this being a Pokémon game, this is the first Pokémon game to come to the Nintendo Switch.

Pokémon: Let's Go E3 Booth

Coming out November 16 this year, I wanted to get a taste of what the game would bring. After playing, I have to admit, the game was actually quite exciting and those who have stopped playing Pokémon GO, the popular mobile game, shouldn’t have to worry about being devoted to the mobile game. While there are some similar mechanics between the mobile app and the upcoming Switch game, the experience of having to play on a bigger screen and a more powerful console feels refreshing.

At Nintendo’s E3, each station at the Pokémon: Let’s Go booth had a Poké Ball Plus for attendees to try. Originally, my assumption was this would be a Wiimote-like peripheral that would be a gimmick. While I can’t say if the Poké Ball Plus will become that, the ball fit in my hand quite nicely and interacts smoothly with the game. The ball has only two buttons and a direction stick. The directional stick lets you move your character and select your options, such as a Pokémon or items in your inventory, and pushing down on it confirms your movement. The other button is located on the top of the red portion of the ball, but the design of the button fits well where it is placed.

Poké Ball

The real reason you are using the ball is the motion control which is used in battles when capturing Pokémon. With the Poké Ball strapped to your wrist, you’ll throw your arm forward as if you were literally throwing it like a Pokémon trainer. We highly advise you to use the strap to avoid breaking your television set. While the game is set to have two players simultaneously, the booth I played at was set up for one player.

While in battle, select the option to throw a Poké Ball. Before throwing, you’ll recognize an animated colored circle in front of the Pokémon. Those who are familiar with Pokémon GO will recognize the familiar setup of achieving bonus points for accuracy. The same applies to Pokémon: Let’s Go. Throw the ball inside the circle, along with a successful catch, to earn a boost of experience points for all Pokémon in their set. In the past, only Pokémon involved would receive the experience. When I asked the Nintendo booth employee if spinning the Poké Ball just like in Pokémon GO would be integrated, the gentleman could not confirm or deny. With a game that is interacting with the mobile app, we can assume that we will see this option available before the game releases.

One of the biggest changes in the game is you can physically see the wild Pokémon — no more random battles! However, paths that were considered “safe zones” from battling aren’t safe anymore. Pokémon will attack you if you are spotted so prepare for trouble (and make it double). Honestly, this is a great thing to have updated, making the game feel more real to be a Pokémon trainer. If you were walking down a path in a forest, wouldn’t an animal approach you, or just stay in the grass waiting for you to enter?

Pokémon: Let's Go

While the Nintendo Treehouse revealed quite a bit of details regarding transferring Pokémon from Pokémon GO to Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, the Nintendo booth employees could not explain much about the game, only what they were given. Which is a bit annoying, but their job is to keep details on the downlow for a game that’s to release later in the year. Also, Nintendo wouldn’t allow photography or videography at their Pokémon: Let’s Go booth so you won’t see footage of this from anyone.

While I was not able to play the full 15 minute demo, due to being one of the last attendees lined up for the day, Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee felt like a refreshing take on the Pokémon series, and look to keep my attention further along than previous Pokémon games. After being on hiatus with the mobile game and now seeing what the upcoming Pokémon game can do, I returned to the game to prepare for November and assume a lot of players are doing just that. At the very least, getting a squishy Poké Ball from playing is an award of itself. Neat!

Squishy Poké Ball and Snacks

Pokémon: Let's Go - Trailer

About Seth Hay - Editor-in-chief / Webmaster

When Seth is not designing or developing, he spends time with his family and his occasional dose of anime, sports and video games.

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