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Things only experts know about Pokemon: Let's Go!

We'll be totally honest here: Pokemon: Let's Go! isn't a hard game to play. For some, that's disappointing and they are holding out for the full-fledged Pokemon titles to come later in 2019. For others, the games have been a nostalgia-packed playtime that focuses in on all the fun of the world of Pokemon. Who wouldn't want a creature as adorable as Pikachu or Eevee to run around with?

Pokemon: Let's Go! is very different from the usual Pokemon titles, even though it is a pseudo-remake of Pokemon Yellow. Game Freak threw in a ton of new functions and features as inspired by Niantic's Pokemon Go. The world is more interactive and immersive than ever, giving trainers all new ways to interact with their favorite Pokemon. Some players might find their progress waylaid by the myriad of opportunities to enjoy in the sunshine of Kanto. However, even though we did say that Let's Go! isn't a particularly challenging title, that isn't to suggest that it lacks depth. There's much to explore, and maybe even some secrets to discover. Here we outline some of the hidden depths of Pokemon: Let's Go!

Master trainers make the endgame less leisurely

There are some ways in which Pokemon: Let's Go! is a much more casual game than previous Pokemon titles. For one thing, players no longer have to worry about getting caught up in dozens of fights with Zubat. In Let's Go!, players just toss Pokeballs at wild Pokemon rather than battle them. There's no shortage of trainers to battle, however, and Let's Go! has seen fit to throw in a entirely new brand of Pokemon trainer: master trainers.

Master trainers will appear only after the player has beaten the Elite Four and claimed the title of Pokemon League Champion. They provide an opportunity for the player to gather even more titles, like Charizard Master or Blastoise Master. Master trainers have dedicated themselves to one and only one Pokemon, and expect you to pit your own against theirs in a no items, no holds barred battle. Can your Pikachu take on the Pikachu master trainer's own?

You might be thinking, "Well yeah, duh," still shining from your victory over the Elite Four. Players would do well to temper their expectations, however, and prepare for a seriously challenging fight. Master trainers have their Pokemon equip with unexpected moves. You might not be expecting a Thunderpunch from a Charizard, but you should hope you're ready to take it on. There is a master trainer for all 151 Pokemon in the game willing and eager to battle, if players think they can take them on.

Shiny hunting is blindingly easy

Shiny hunting is not for the faint of heart. It's a practice that takes unflinching dedication, patience, and the willingness to soft reset the game 2,508 times for the sake of a Treecko that's a slightly darker green than usual. In usual games, the likelihood of finding a shiny Pokemon is slim, leaving stubborn shiny hunters to waddle around in the same patch of tall grass for hours in the hopes of running into the approximate 1/4,096 chance that the next wild Pokemon will sparkle with a unique color palette.

Pokemon: Let's Go! makes shiny hunting a much more leisurely affair. Players might have noticed that once they catch two of the same Pokemon in a row, they are given the encouraging message to "Keep it up!" Even though it's easy to avoid Pokemon you've already caught by dodging them as they amble in the tall grass, the bigger the catch combo, the larger your chance is to encounter a shiny Pokemon. Catch 31 Caterpie and your chances of spotting a shiny one crawling around increase to 1/341. These odds make it easier than ever to target shinys and track them down. Actually seeing Pokemon duck in and out of the tall grass also makes the moment of a shiny's spawn all the more satisfying.

Get those combos to get candy

Pokemon Go made players kind of obsessed with candy (and its possibly dark origins). Candy is the only way in which players can evolve their Pokemon, some demanding more than others. We're still jumping on every single Magikarp in sight in order to amass 400 Magikarp candies for a long-awaited Gyarados. Pokemon: Let's Go! also has candy, but this game has Pokemon evolve the old fashioned way through the grinding and gaining of experience points. The little sweets in the new titles are power-packed bites of stat-boosting goodness.

Pokemon: Let's Go! features the traditional Rare Candy, which raises a Pokemon's level by one, but there are a few new of types jangling around in the player's candy jar. Stats candies increase specific stats like Speed by one, and species-specific candy increases all of that species of Pokemon's stats by one. It's a pretty sweet deal if players are looking to boost certain stats and beef up their team. They can be collected in several ways.

Stats candies are gifts from Professor Oak. The game encourages players to catch far more Pokemon than the 151 needed to fill out the Pokedex. Rather than lug these unwanted extras around, players can send them to Professor Oak, who in exchange will give the players stat-boosting candies. Species-specific candies are slightly more rare. They're dropped by Pokemon once players have gotten a good catch combo going. The more Magikarp you catch, the more likely you are to find a few Magikarp candy.

Being judgemental is cool

All Pokemon are amazing creatures with incredible powers, but the truth is that some are just better than others. We're not talking about which starter is best or what our favorite Eevee-lution is either, we're talking about stats and IVs. Individual values are the randomly applied stats that determine how high or low Pokemons' respective base stats might be. This makes it so that the 200 Pidgies clogging up your inventory are unique from each other. IVs are hidden stats, but they can be calculated online if players are desperate to know which Pidgey will serve them best.

In Pokemon Sun and Moon, it wasn't until the endgame that a function was unlocked that allowed players to quickly check Pokemon's IVs in-game. Pokemon: Let's Go! makes the process much speedier. All that is required of players is that they catch 30 unique Pokemon and then take a trip down Route 11. In the very rightmost reaches of the entrance to Route 12, which is blocked by a dozing Snorlax, players will find a building, where one of Professor Oak's assistants is hanging out on the second floor. He'll ask if you've caught 30 species of Pokemon and if you have, he'll bestow the player with the "Judge" function. The Judge function does just that. It gives Pokemon a score between one and three stars based on its IVs.

Where are all the Mega Stones

Another way that Pokemon: Let's Go! makes itself a little easier (and more fun) for players is by giving them what they really want: all the starters. Diligently make progress filling your Pokedex and random NPCs will deem you deserving of their Pokemon. They want strong trainers to give their Bulbasaurs, Charmanders, and Squirtles the fierce battles they crave.

It's easy to get the starters and evolve them into their most powerful selves through the usual grind of battles. It's also fairly easy to get your hands on their Mega Stones, so long as you're able to defeat Cinnabar Island's hotheaded quiz master Blaine. Booking it back home to Pallet Town from there will give you a meeting with Blue, who is feeling generous enough to give the player Venusaurite, Charizardite X, Charizardite Y, and Blastoisinite. Despite Pokemon: Let's Go! being a Yellow remake, there are Mega Stones in the game that allow you to take your starters to the next level.

Other Mega Stones in the game aren't so cheap. Inside the Pokemon League entrance, a guy shamelessly wearing a Slowbro costume sells Mega Stones. For just $30,000 each, you could add Beedrillite, Pidgeotite, Alakazite, Gengarite, Kangaskhanite, Gyaradosite, Pinsirite, Aerodactylite, and of course Slowbronite to your collection of Mega Stones. Mewtwonite X and Y are the reward for beating Green in a showdown in Cerulean Cave where you first find the strangely huge 150th Pokemon.

Pay attention to your partner's tail

Like Ash's own Pikachu from the anime, Pikachu and Eevee are unsatisfied with hanging out in the mysterious depths of Poke Balls. They want to be in the middle of all the action, and this actually comes as a huge benefit for the player. Not only are Pikachu and Eevee adorable little bruisers that are able to learn fairly overpowered moves with frankly dumb names, but they also function as item detectors.

Pikachu and Eevee don't need Silph Scopes to spot items invisible to the average trainer. They seem to possess a kind of sixth sense and are able to detect random items on the ground and in bushes. They let the players know that there is perfectly good loot just lying around by wagging their tail. The closer the player edges toward the dropped item, the faster their tail wags, like a living, breathing metal detector.

Although there are plenty of strangely generous NPCs that are perfectly happy to gift absolute strangers with some high quality items, seeking out items with your partner Pokemon is a good way to make a little extra cash. Note that when riding on another Pokemon, Pikachu or Eevee will take a break from item hunting, but will be ready to sniff out treasures once again as soon as their trainer is back on their own two feet.

What's in the mystery box?

One of the cool things about Pokemon: Let's Go! is that in a way, we've already been playing it long before it ever came out. Upon the announcement trailer, the similarities between Pokemon Go and Let's Go! were clear and Nintendo wowed us all with the synergy between the two games: you can transfer Pokemon from Go into Let's Go! It warrants the exclamation point, especially considering that players have had plenty of time to collect and evolve Pokemon in Go that might've taken more time and grinding to do so in the new game.

When players transfer a Pokemon the first time, their phones light up with a message: they have received a Mystery Box. Professor Willow says the box seems to be made up of the same material the new mythical Pokemon Meltan is. Upon opening, Meltan will spawn around the player for thirty minutes, allowing them to catch to their heart's content. And players will want to snatch up as many of the little liquid metal Pokemon as possible because it takes a whopping 400 Meltan candies to get one to evolve into the bodybuilder-esque Melmetal.

The Mystery Box can be opened once a week so that players can work on their Meltan candy hoard. Those extra Meltans and the eventual Melmetal can be transferred into Pokemon: Let's Go! to complete the player's Pokedex.

Giving your partner some love pays off

Pokemon-Amie, introduced in Pokemon X and Y, revolutionized the way players were able to love on their Pokemon. Sun and Moon took things even further by allowing players to physically patch up their Pokemon after battle. Players felt more like actual trainers than ever, and Pokemon: Let's Go! continues that new tradition of giving gamers one-on-one time with their team.

Let's Go! has players focus in on their relationship with their partner Pokemon. It's true that players are able to ride around on their larger team members and visit with them as they walk around Kanto, but Let's Go!'s menu has a direct link to interacting with your partner Pokemon. They're animated little creatures, who will gladly receive pets and treats just like in Pokemon-Amie. Doing so often pays off too. This loving attention will prompt them to resist status damage in battle and even hang on to a sliver of health after damaging moves. Your partner may try to impress you by unleashing an exclusive, surprise move that packs a serious kick. Pikachu has Pika Papow and Eevee has VeeVee Volley. As silly as they sound, these moves increase in power as your friendship with Pikachu or Eevee does.

Partner Pokemon will also reward the player with adorably-wrapped gifts for being a good friend. A favorite present is heart scales, which players should treasure because they later can be given to Madam Memorial at the Indigo Plateau in exchange for restoring moves your Pokemon might've forgotten previously.

Is the Poke Ball Plus worth it?

While you can play Pokemon Go on the all new Poke Ball Plus, in Let's Go! it proves to be much more interactive. The Poke Ball-shaped peripheral functions just like a JoyCon, but with less buttons and more reliance on motion control. There is something to be said for the feeling of tossing a Poke Ball in real life to toss a Poke Ball in game. Keep that wrist strap on, kids!

The Poke Ball Plus makes the game even more mobile. You can take your partner Pokemon along with you inside the Poke Ball Plus for extra experience points. You can pet your Pikachu or Eevee by gently rolling the ball, which they coo with delight at. The Poke Ball Plus also comes pre-loaded with a Pokemon, the very first mythical Pokemon, Mew. So if you're a big fan of Mew and the Tamagotchi-like experience of bringing your partner Pokemon along for the ride, the Poke Ball Plus might be worth the extra $50.

Where to grab legendaries

Filling out your Pokedex isn't as easy as tumbling through tall grass. There are plenty of Pokemon that take some extra effort on the part of the player to find and capture. Some Pokemon are so rare, in fact, that they're only spoken about in legend.

Like the original Pokemon Yellow title it is modeled after, Pokemon: Let's Go! features the legendary Mew, Mewtwo, Zapdos, Articuno, and Moltres. Mew is available through the Poke Ball Plus or can be transferred in from Pokemon Go. The remaining four legendaries are waiting for worthy trainers. Legendaries are some of the few wild Pokemon in the game that require players to actually battle them. Like a raid in Pokemon Go, you'll have to defeat them before throwing pokeballs around.

Zapdos has made a home for itself at the power plant, which is just off Route 10, across the water and near the entrance to the Rock Tunnel. Articuno is chilling on the Seafoam Islands, but is hidden in a maze of rivers that will require players to puzzle their way through with the Strong Push secret technique. Moltres can be found on the Victory Road, down a hidden ladder that will require a Strong Push to reveal. Mewtwo is the only legendary that you don't have to go out of your way to encounter. Mewtwo can be found in Cerulean Cave on the bottom floor, where players will later encounter Green, who also had her eyes set on the genetically engineered legendary.

No rod, no bike, only Pokemon

While Pokemon: Let's Go! has definitely added many a feature that was absent in Pokemon Yellow, there are also some things missing. Gone are the clunky old desktops in the Pokemon centers where trainers dump unwanted Pokemon. Conveniently, players have a box on hand. This Kanto is more technologically advanced than ever, but appears to have forgotten the old ways.

The average trainer might not know how to fish, for one thing. In Let's Go!, rather than fishing in the deep blue waters of Kanto to catch water-type Pokemon, players are encouraged to dive right in. This is why the early game feels rather lacking when it comes to water types. It's not until players arrive at Fuschia City that they learn the secret technique Sea Skim which allows them to surf around with their partner Pokemon and live out their surfing Pikachu dreams.

Players also have to rely on either their own two feet or their Pokemon to travel around the region. There are no bikes or roller skates in Let's Go!; instead players are treated to a myriad of ways to ride around on their Pokemon. Trainers can gallop on Rapidash, float along on Haunter, and make a charming homage to Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro should they choose to travel alongside a Snorlax. Snorlax is slow, but trainers and their partner Pokemon can grab on to its massive belly as it lumbers along in a cute callback to the classic Ghibli film.

Motion controls matter

Let's Go! can be played entirely in handheld mode, meaning that you don't have to tire yourself out tossing Poke Balls. However, there are some secrets that the motion controls contain which make the arm-flailing, sore-shoulder experience worth it.

The real benefit of the motion controls comes from catching Pokemon, and catching a lot of them. Even in handheld mode, motion matters. When you're getting ready to catch a Pokemon, the "get ready" prompt will register where your Switch or JoyCon is relative to the Pokemon, so be sure not to say you're ready until you have your shot perfectly aligned. Keeping this in mind and utilizing good timing might land the player some Excellent throws.

You can play Let's Go! with just one JoyCon, but adding in another will summon in a clone of the player who can run around and help them catch Pokemon, allowing trainers to play with their friends. Adding in a second player will make battles much easier, since the odds are two to one. You don't actually need a friend in order to play co-op, you can just use your second JoyCon, which may come in handy when hunting down speedy Pokemon in the wild.