<i>Let's Go</i> Are The Prettiest <em>Pokémon</em> Games Yet

Let's Go Are The Prettiest Pokémon Games Yet

Kotaku Game DiaryKotaku Game DiaryThe latest thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we're playing.

The story is familiar and the players are the same, but the scenery has never looked so good. Gorgeous visuals abound in our latest trip through the Kanto region, making Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee the prettiest pocket monster games yet. Take a look!

Before we begin our tour of the sights of the Switch version of the Kanto reason, let me drop a spoiler warning. While these games are based on classics more than 20 years old, the visuals are brand new. Some of you might want to experience them for yourselves first. I get that.

Illustration for article titled iLets Go/i Are The Prettiest emPokémon/em Games Yet

It’s clear from our character’s first steps towards becoming a Pokémon master that our eyes are in for a treat. That first fateful meeting between our hero and his or her Eevee is a beautiful moment. A beautiful moment I cannot show until after the game is released, but trust me. Eevee is an amazing little furry lad. You know what he deserves? He deserves a hat. And a shirt.

Those camera angles.
Those camera angles.

One might ask, “But Fahey, what if I chose the Pikachu version of the game? What’s that like?” Sorry, we’re an Eevee household. Gita and I pawned off the Pikachu version on Tim Rogers. We felt bad for a moment. Then our Eevee popped out of its Pokéball and we briefly forgot Tim existed.He deserves a hat. And a shirt.

Don’t worry, this gallery isn’t all about Jinx. Oh, I named my Eevee Jinx, after my cat. Note the resemblance.

Illustration for article titled iLets Go/i Are The Prettiest emPokémon/em Games Yet

Okay, they look completely different, but they are both super cute.

You heard the game’s caption, play with Jinx!
You heard the game’s caption, play with Jinx!

Okay, the Eevee stuff is getting out of hand. There’s being in love, and then there’s coming dangerously close to recreating a scene from Titantic aboard the S.S. Anne.

My heart will go on, Eevee.
My heart will go on, Eevee.

Having been laid out in the hospital from March through July of this year, I first learned about Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee through a post-Memorial Day visit from our EIC, Stephen Totilo. He flew from New York to Atlanta to see how I was doing and help me get caught up on gaming news. He showed me the trailer for these games, and I was instantly smitten. What iconic moments would I like to see recreated in this new game engine?

Why, one of the games’ saddest moments, of course.

Cubone and I suppose the source of the skull he wears, reunited. I cried. Again.
Cubone and I suppose the source of the skull he wears, reunited. I cried. Again.

Oh, and dramatic meetings with one of the games’ most sinister enemies.

Turtleneck and suit jacket, you know he’s evil.
Turtleneck and suit jacket, you know he’s evil.

Chance encounters that seemed so small in the original games take on new life here. Like a random meeting with Lorelei of the Elite Four during our trainer’s journey.

Ice to meet you, Lorelei.
Ice to meet you, Lorelei.

But Pokémon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee don’t need drama to be pretty. It’s lush and vibrant whether you’re just strolling about town or trying to work your way around a dead end.

Dammit, Snorlax.
Dammit, Snorlax.

Some of my favorite visuals, however, come from the game’s various gyms. The developers went to town on the original designs, transforming the old arenas into vibrant spaces full of character.

The most beautiful of the gyms is definitely the one in Celedon City, home of grass type gym leader Erika. It’s just so lush and green.

This would be my wallpaper if the resolution were higher and my character didn’t look like he was creeping.
This would be my wallpaper if the resolution were higher and my character didn’t look like he was creeping.

But in terms of sheer design, nothing beats the Tron-like psychic gym in Saffron City. It’s a trip.

ANGLES!
ANGLES!

Really the whole game is a trip. It’s a fabulous journey, and while some of us have taken it multiple times over the past two decades, we’ve never witnessed it quite like this.

This would have been much more dramatic if I weren’t packing two water types.
This would have been much more dramatic if I weren’t packing two water types.

And so Eevee and I leave you to your adventure as we continue on our own, to the Elite Four and whatever lies beyond. With our police outfits and his tasteful bow tie, we’re ready to take on whatever this damn pretty Pokémon game has to offer.

Illustration for article titled iLets Go/i Are The Prettiest emPokémon/em Games Yet

Update 11/14 3 P.M.: A handful of images in the original post ran afoul of Nintendo’s highly-specific embargo for the games, and have been removed. I will re-add them once the embargo lifts.

Kotaku elder, lover of video games, keyboards, toys, snacks, and other unsavory things.

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DISCUSSION

The thing is though, when you consider how huge Pokemon is these days, and then compare this to something like Dragon Quest XI, it almost looks laughable in comparison. This isn’t pushing the Switch hardware at all. It even only runs at 30fps, which is mind boggling considering what it’s doing from a technical standpoint.

Simply put, Gamefreak has always been notorious for having egregiously poorly optimized games. And for a company with as much money and resources as Gamefreak, there is just no excuse for that. They’re no Telltale Games. They actually have the resources to hire better programers and developers.

As another example, compare X and Y to something like Nintendo’s own A Link Between Worlds on 3DS, and you have one game that barely looks like it’s pushing the hardware, runs at an extremely inconsistent 30fps, and doesn’t support 3D for most of the game. And then another game that looks better, runs at a rock solid 60fps, and fully implements the 3D effect. What is wrong with that picture?

Sorry for the rant, but the Let’s Go games only look good for Pokemon games. They don’t look good compared to their peers.