Review: Detective Pikachu is a bolt of brilliance

By Jasmin on Apr 10, 2018

If anyone knows me (even if you don’t know me well), you know that I love Pokémon. I still play Pokémon GO everyday, I’ve played all the main series games and I’m planning to catch up on all the anime. Speaking of the anime, remember Meowth? He was the only Pokémon in the whole series that could talk. Imagine my glee when I heard that they’re finally getting Detective Pikachu done in English (the game was originally released in Japan two years ago).

I’m going to write this review as spoiler-free as possible, because you need to play this game. If you’ve been wondering what to do with that 3/2DS that has been lying around, this is exactly what you’ve been waiting for, if Ultra Sun or Ultra Moon hasn’t been keeping you going anyway.

Detective Pikachu is a fresh take on the Pokémon universe and it is brilliantly done. In Ryme City, humans and Pokémon live side by side as if they were real life humans and animals, rather than just monsters to use for battling (although the nature of the main series did change in the Sun and Moon generation). Our main human protagonist, Tim Goodman, arrives in Ryme City to find out what happened to his missing father, Detective Harry Goodman. He has been deemed missing for a few months and the authorities have quite well given up the search.

Before the arrival of Tim, we find out that no one can understand our dear Detective Pikachu. He was the Pokémon-partner of Harry and after his disappearance, he finds himself hit with amnesia, unable to remember how to basically be a Pokémon. He wanders around Ryme City, struggling to communicate with any human until he crosses paths with Tim. This lovely Pikachu then becomes your Pokémon mediator as Tim is the only person who can understand him and Pikachu somewhat “translates” what the Pokémon say. This becomes insanely interesting as you finally know what they’re really thinking, because of course that Furfrou hates the healthier food.

During the game, you’ll wander around Ryme City finding clues and gathering testimony from humans and Pokémon alike in order to find out the mystery behind Harry’s disappearance. You’ll be treated to various interactions and cutscenes with your Pikachu, which will just makes you love his gruff voice more and more. Make sure you have a keen eye before proceeding on this mystery, however. If you don’t make sure you’ve looked at every possible angle, you might get stuck at certain parts of the game longer than intended.

Once you’ve gathered enough evidence and testimony, you’ll go through a number of minigames to link all of them together to solve the mysteries littered throughout the game. The mechanics of this is easy enough, but it does take a bit of brainpower to get through some of the mysteries surrounding Ryme City. Any quicktime events you come across will have you timing the press of the A-button or just mashing it as fast as you can. It’s really simple but I call no fault as it allows you to enjoy the scenes without having to worry about pressing the wrong button.

As previously mentioned, I’m not going to spoil the story in this review. What I will say is that there was never a moment playing this game that made me bored. I kept losing track of time but I wanted to keep going. The graphics are definitely different in comparison to the main series of games but it’s not too offensive. The Pokémon are super expressive, especially Pikachu, and it is honestly my favourite part of the game. You can see the cheeky glint in his eye, and you’ll smile when he smiles.

So after a total of sixteen hours, I’m finally done with the game. And I mean it in the saddest way possible, as I didn’t want it to end. I am unsatisfied; I want more of these kinds of Pokémon games. It brings so much more depth to the series, especially to the people and to the creatures we lovingly call our Pocket Monsters. I do hope that there will be at least one sequel to the series. If you are a fan of the Pokémon series, there’s no doubt that you need to play this game.

Detective Pikachu is available on the Nintendo 2DS. The writer bought the game on her own dime.

About the Author
Writer, photographer, music lover, friend of the animals, adventurer and PC gamer by circumstance (no, really). RPGs and fighters are my favs, I'll beat you at MK or MvC anyday. Judging all the cups of coffee, even the ones made by myself.
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