Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee are the latest entries in the Pokémon franchise, which just came out this past week, and they’ve already angered a certain subset of gamers. The user reviews section on MetaCritic has been bombed with hundreds of low-scoring reviews, many of which repeat the same talking points.
Looking at the actual character of the reviews reveals some pretty common threads, and most of them are the same objections that hardcore fans of a franchise always seem to repeat when a new game debuts.
“It’s basically a mobile game,” or “the mechanics are too simple” are pretty common gripes I’m seeing. Then there’s complaints of “it’s too easy” or “it lacks content” added to the pile. I can’t help but notice that all the primary complaints are sounding very similar. It’s also pretty telling that the majority of accounts leaving negative reviews seem to be new accounts who only ever “reviewed” these games.
There are legitimate reasons to dislike the game in terms of substance. the lack of random tall grass encounters and a massively reduced roster and scope are things gamers might feel slighted for not getting after paying $60. All in all, it seems like there’s something else here coloring people’s experiences though. It feels a lot like people complaining about the rose tinted glasses they’re currently wearing, if you catch my drift.
These reviews all seem to come from a similar place as well. It’s mostly hardcore fans who were expecting another mainline entry into the franchise on par with the recent Sun and Moon titles or something, the problem is that this clearly isn’t even trying to be that. Pokémon Let’s Go is a hyper-casual entry into the franchise aimed at Pokémon Go players looking to ease themselves into the primary franchise.
Game Freak Director and Producer Junichi Masuda had the following to say about the games during their reveal:
“Not only have we managed to make these titles great entry games for those who are new to the Pokemon RPG series, but at the same time really provide a new and fresh experience that fans of the series will enjoy. I wanted to bring the fun of this more intuitive, as well as widely accepted and popular, Pokemon-catching gameplay, right back to the Pokemon main series RPGs.”
And let’s not kid ourselves, the Pokémon games hide a ton of depth in their deceptively simple mechanics. Type advantages, EVs, IVs, Natures, gender differences and Evolutions are all just scratching the surface of complexity in the franchise.
Pokemon players often become lifelong fans, and they have to start somewhere, and I really don’t get why people are so angry when it was really obvious what this game was from the start. And it’s not like this is the only kind of game Nintendo and Game Freak will put out in the Pokémon vein ever again. People must not remember Pokémon Snap for the N64. That was a massive departure from the typical JRPG style of the other games, which sold well and garnered positive reviews. But it was the only one of its kind.
I’m calling it now, Nintendo and Game Freak will release a few more games on the Switch in this style, as a filler for other Generations, in between mainline 3DS/Switch games. And until actual evidence is presented saying that this prediction is wrong, I’m sticking to it.
And let’s be honest, the actual reviews that considered the product for what it was without poisoning the well with nostalgia, seem positive. It’s pretty clear that this game isn’t aimed at hardcore or competitive players, but there’s no evidence that these will replace the more substantive games on other platforms. It seems to be yet another example of the cyclical outrage culture that gaming communities seem to be constantly refreshing these days.
There’s also the elitist mentality that some people freaking out about this seem to be exuding. Just because the mechanics operate like Pokémon Go doesn’t make it a bad game, and people who enjoy that aren’t “lesser fans”, take that exclusionary garbage that’s actively keeping people out of a hobby somewhere else. Outrage should not be the arbiter of what makes a game fun, and you’re not making gaming better by pushing people away for enjoying something that you don’t like.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.