What do you get when you cross a Pikachu in a deerstalker cap, a detective coat and a magnifying glass? Detective Pikachu of course. A talking, mystery solving detective yellow mouse. Indeed I said a talking Pikachu.
Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising to Pokémon fans as many other Pokémon over the years have been able to do this, but admittedly it was extraordinarily weird for me at first to hear a middle-aged man’s voice escaping this cute adorable Pokémon’s mouth BUT did grow on me after some time. What’s more is that although the game is called Detective Pikachu players should be aware that you as the player won’t play as Pikachu but rather have him as your partner. The premise is simple, you’re put in the shoes of a young man known as Tim Goodman. Tim’s father has mysteriously disappeared and it’s up to Tim and Pikachu to investigate suspicious chaotic incidents in Ryme City and find his father.
Although the game is classified as an adventure title I felt as if I was rather playing through a puzzle game since I did very little adventuring and more puzzle solving but once I reminded myself that this is the main mechanic of the game I quickly moved on. Each chapter or investigation is set in a cordoned off sandbox area. Yes, that sounds contradicting but hear me out for a second. Take for instance the incident at hand. Pokémon run rampant for no apparent reason or a reason that’s not clear at the moment, it’s up to you and your partner to search the area for clues, question witnesses and track and trace the culprits to get to the bottom of the chaos.
A nose for clues
The game doesn’t just give you everything on a silver platter and this is where you’ll have to at times put together all the testimonies or clues you’ve uncovered and determine how to move onto the next step of the investigation. This is all combined together in a well thought out way as the game often challenges you to think about your surroundings and play “Macgyver” with objects that if combined can get you out of tight situations. The mysteries and investigations do start off a little too easy but as you progress through the game it does tend to become a little tougher. The neat thing is that with the 3DS’s dual screens the game keeps a record of all the case notes and has a case list on the bottom screen which you’ll be able to access at any time to review evidence, testimonies, people and Pokémon character descriptions. Even with having all of that at your fingertips the game tends to at times become a chore. It doesn’t allow you to skip past a discovery that you’ll make on your own. Instead, it’ll force you to speak to an NPC to complete a task or acquire a clue and then before moving on you’ll have to head either back to that same NPC or another. And the best part of all is that the game at unusual times will throw a quick time event at you. Although they aren’t challenging it does at times just feel unnecessary.
If you’re a Pokémon fan like myself you’ll thoroughly enjoy the world itself as the city is filled with Pokémon that are well placed within the world, making it seem as if you’re in the Pokémon anime. This is indeed a good step forward for Pokémon titles and something I’d like to see incorporated into the future of the mainline game series. Unlike mainline Pokémon series titles and Pokémon dungeon titles, Detective Pikachu gives fans a chance to see the Pokémon world like we’ve not seen it before. Pokémon and their trainers going about their daily lives, some helping in shops, others in laboratories. The game features a good roster of Pokémon favourites as well as some Pokémon that you wouldn’t expect which is refreshing.
If you’re a Pokémon fan like myself you’ll thoroughly enjoy the world itself as the city is filled with Pokémon that are well placed within the world, making it seem as if you’re in the Pokémon anime.
Playing alongside Detective Pikachu as Tim Goodman was weird at first especially with Pikachu’s middle-aged man voice but after hours of playing, I do understand why the developer did this. It was obvious to separate this Pikachu’s identity as much as possible from Ash’s Pikachu. Detective Pikachu may not be the cute and spunky Pika Pika we all know and love but his still got spunk of his own and is adorably sarcastic in the best of ways. As I mentioned before his character does take some time to grow on you but I believe that this was just a barrier caused by his voice. Detective Pikachu, although limiting at times, was a good adventure puzzle game for all ages and more so for Pokémon fans but in the same breath it just is not a game that is capable of sending the 3DS off well in its last days of life.