Game Review: Detective Pikachu

Wow, this game is a lot newer than the last one I talked about! It’s only been what, a month? Well, I finished Detective Pikachu and the Case of the Coffee Cup, or whatever, so let me say a few things about it. SPOILERS AHEAD

I really like the concept of this game, but in the end I wasn’t sold on the execution. Most chapters introduce a lot of characters that then get dropped as soon as the chapter’s over, so it feels like as soon as you get to know them they’re gone. The time they are around though they’re great characters, with most chapters having its share of good characters, human and Pokemon alike. Of course, maybe I’m just biased. I love Mimikyu as it is and the Mimikyu in this game is amazing. At one point it just walks back and forth down a hallway at the television studio, tackling a dressing room door once before going down the hall to another one and doing the same thing. According to dialogue it’s doing “self-promotion”.

Give this Mimikyu its own game please. In fact I would so be down with a collection sort of game with all types of small games based on other Nintendo games but all the characters are Mimikyu with costumes of other Nintendo characters.

While I’m at it, I like how the world is detailed. There’s often a lot of Pokemon you can see throughout the areas–early on it briefly shows the camera going down into the sewers and you see Ratatta and Drilbur down there, and I hope the upcoming Pokemon Switch games feature more Pokemon interacting with the world instead of just on occasion standing around in the overworld. I want to see Aipom running around on buildings, Krokorok guards, and instead of just a Tauros standing in the road that for some reason you can’t walk around something like construction work being overseen by Diggersby preventing you from crossing. I can just walk past this Tauros, but what if a parade of Digletts were breaking up the path?

And then there’s Detective Pikachu himself. You might worry he’d get annoying, but even at some weird points he never really does. He’s usually pretty funny, and he has a lot of dialogue you can get from his Pika Prompts–I didn’t even find all of them. (Ultimately there’s a lot of good stuff that’s probably pretty easy to miss–at the end of one chapter you’re revealing to a crowd that you solved a case and if you select the wrong answer Pikachu says “Yeah, that’s right. Wait, no it’s not!” I intentionally gave the wrong answer just to see that, in fact.) Also, Pikachu can’t use any moves, but I think he’s just too fat.

Even though I just said I really like how the Pokemon are integrated into the world it’s kind of inconsistent sometimes. The quicktime events sometimes matter, sometimes not. And by that I mean I’m pretty sure I missed one and nothing happened. Maybe I missed something? I dunno. To go back and get everything you have to do the whole chapter over I think and I don’t care enough for that. Although I doubt getting hit by a hot dog would kill you. Then there are quicktimes where if you miss you die and have to do it over. It’s um. It’s not a significant complaint but it’s there. More importantly, how the fig old is this protagonist? He’s old enough to drive and have a part-time job but he looks a few years younger than that! But maybe he’s supposed to be, like, early 20s??? Maybe that’s a Japan thing but I Don’t Know.

 

The game also has 9 chapters, but the first chapter where I had to think about the solution for a bit and thought it pretty clever was 6. I mean, I didn’t expect the game to have anything truly puzzling but at the same time you get good dialogue for being wrong!

Uh. Honestly though my biggest complaint is the ending, so spoilers! Protagonist’s dad is still missing, it doesn’t explain why Pikachu turned into Detective Pikachu except Mewtwo, Probably, also Mewtwo gave Pikachu some Choice at the end of the game but it’s never said what that choice is or was or what effect it had on anything. Basically there’s a bunch of stuff unanswered (my theory is Pikachu and Dad got supamerged somehow, +Rabbids sequel), and I’m really not sure if the intention is to have a sequel or if that’s the point of the movie–to continue the story from this game.

WHICH SEEMS PRETTY DUMB TO ME

Continuing the plot of a game in a movie is just bizarre. You have to cross medias to get the whole thing. And if the movie includes the game’s plot then has more, that kind of makes the game pretty useless! Honestly in the end I have to call this game a not-buy, but that said, if you’re really interested in having a story set in the Pokemon world that’s not your usual trainer-goes-on-journey-and-beats-evil-team-then-becomes-master-trainer it’s not necessarily a bad purchase. It’s just a little emptier than I’d hoped, especially considering in Japan they initially had a digital release with just the first 3 chapters and ended with “to be continued…” while this one has unanswered questions but no to be continued, and if the movie does answer those questions then it’s even emptier…

 

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