‘Pokémon: Let’s Go’ games are a full-featured nostalgia trip for longtime fans

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! were shown only briefly during Nintendo’s E3 2018 presentation, but a dive into the gameplay directly afterward showed us just how deep Game Freak’s Nintendo Switch adventure will be. If you’re a fan of Pokémon Yellow or the animated series, you’re going to be very happy.

Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda sat down with Nintendo’s Bill Trinnen and Teresa Lillygren to show off a live demonstration of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! that explored the Viridian Forest before making its way into nearby Pewter City. During this time, we got to see the game’s gorgeous environments, filled with Pokémon that roam around – you won’t be getting sucked into random battles this time around.

Once you’ve entered “battle” with a wild monster, you use the motion controls on your Joy-Con to catch them, and you can choose to use several different throwing motions instead of a simple overhead throw. If you’re playing with the Switch in handheld mode, you will still be able to use traditional button controls. Even though you won’t have your Pokémon out during this section of the game, they’ll still earn experience points, level up, and gain new moves. There will also be trading with other players via a four-digit “match code” in case they’ve tracked down one you haven’t found.

Before you choose to catch a particular monster, you’ll be able to tell if they’re larger or smaller than average based on an “aura” they give off. Depending on their size, they’ll glow either red or blue, so you won’t be forced to stop and cross your fingers that it’s worse capturing one.

With a strong party by your side, you’ll be able to go into the Kanto-region gyms you remember from the original games. We saw the Pewter City gym during the gameplay demonstration — with Brock looking just as he does in the animated series — and it’s filled with enormous boulders and even a viewing area for the locals to watch your battle.

If you have a friend nearby, they can shake a Joy-Con controller to enter battle with you. Against other trainers, these play out much like in the traditional role-playing games, with each attack having a limited number of uses, and Pokémon can also earn experience this way.

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! both release for Switch on November 16. The Poké Ball Plus launches the same day and includes Mew pre-installed.