I think it’s fair to say that last Year’s Pokémon games on Switch, Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, caught a little bit of flack from more hardcore areas of the Pokémon playing community, for a series of changes they made to the core series formula designed at making the game more welcoming to new players. Some changes made, such as requiring motion controls to capture Pokémon when the console was docked were barriers to disabled players being able to play, and a lack of wild battles took away something that many long time players felt was integral to making the games enjoyable. Not every change made to the pair of pseudo-remakes was terribly well received.
However, with all that said, I still personally really enjoyed playing Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, and after putting my first 150 hours into Sword and Shield, there are several features from Let’s Go that I’m disappointed didn’t get carried forward into these new mainline entries in the series. I think let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee made some great changes, some of which I’ve really been missing in Sword & Shield.
Overworld Shiny Pokémon
In the Pokémon series, Shiny Pokémon are a special rare variant of creatures which appear with minor cosmetic differences, but feature no gameplay advantages. Basically, your Charizard might be black instead of Orange, and stars may appear when its sent out. It doesn’t do anything different, but for many players collecting these rare monsters have become a great way to stay engaged with the game after finishing the main plot.
Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee were the first Pokémon games in the main series to have Pokémon appear visibleon the overworld, rather than as randomized battles, and made the choice to show Pokémon as shiny on the overworld too. This meant that while going through the game, you might without meaning to spot a Pokémon roaming around with sparkly stars around it, in a different colour, and instantly know a special rare creature had popped up near you.
This decision really made Shiny hunting somewhat less stressful, as you could constantly see a bunch of different creature spawns on screen at once, and didn’t have to worry that you were missing out on a Shiny that was right under your nose.
In Pokémon Sword and Shield, Pokémon are still visible on the overworld, but they don’t appear special in any way on the overworld if they’re shiny. You have to trigger a battle with the Pokémon each time to see if it’s shiny or not, which slows down the process of hunting for shiny creatures considerably.
I loved visible overworld shiny Pokémon in Let’s Go, and I wish it had been included as a feature in Sword and Shield.
The ability to auto-sort your collection by Pokédex number, catch order, Alphabetical Order etc
This one totally baffles me, but Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee had an amazing simple feature that I can’t understand not being adopted in other Pokémon games.
In Let’s Go, you can hit a single button, and sort your whole collection of Pokémon by a number of criteria, from most recently caught, to alphabetical order, to their Pokédex order. It made finding specific creatures a lot easier, and saved a huge amount of work for players trying to manually sort their collection by manually dragging and dropping hundreds of creatures into place using a separate resource to check the order.
Pokémon Bank on the 3DS doesn’t allow for this kind of easy automated sorted, and neither does Pokémon Sword & Shield. I really hope that Pokémon Home offers this basic functionality when it launches early next year, because I really don’t enjoy having to manually sort my collection over and over again.
In Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee’s post game, the game world was populated by a series of very difficult trainers called Master Trainers, each possessing a highly powerful version of one of the game’s many Pokémon. To defeat these trainers, and take on their title for your own, you had to defeat them in a one on one battle, using the same one Pokémon, and no healing items. It was a real challenge which required training up your creatures, pumping their stats as high as possible, strategic learning of strengths and weaknesses, and really mastering what makes your Pokémon special.
Master Trainers were a great piece of end game content that pushed players to really learn how best to use every Pokémon in the game, particularly those they might not normally play with, and the lack of master trainers in Sword and Shield is a real shame.
Getting the IV Checker Early in the Game
In Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, players were able to check the IVs of their Pokémon, a hidden stat determining how powerful a creatures Potential strength was, relatively early while playing. As early as reaching the third gym, players could find an NPC who would award them with the ability to see these hidden stats, allowing players to start building a competitively viable team during the main story mode.
Pokémon Sword and Shield don’t give you this function until you reach the post game, which is a real shame. Sword and Shield make huge strides forward in helping players more accessibly spec out competitively viable Pokémon via unlimited supplement use, stat reduction berries, nature mints, and egg move transfers. But, because the ability to check IVs isn’t available until the post game, there’s no incentive to start working on a good competitive team during the story mode, which is a shame.
Were there any other features in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee that you were disappointed didn’t make it into Sword and Shield? Let me know in the comments below.
One thing I miss is the GTS (Global Trade System) from XY/Sun-Moon where you could put up a pokemon for trade (sort of like an auction house) requesting another Pokemon and if someone agrees to it, you could open your DS in the morning and see that someone accepted. It was amazing for exclusives and collection-finding.