'Pokémon: Let's Go'

("Eevee!" version reviewed)

Publisher: Nintendo

Rated: E

Who it's for: Pokémon fans and those who want to become one

Console: Nintendo Switch

Grade: A-

'Spyro Reignited Trilogy'

Publisher: Activision

Rated: E 10+

Who it's for: Platform game fans who want some great games at a great value

Console: Xbox One, PS4

Grade: A

The saying goes, "There's no such thing as an old joke you've never heard before." The same holds true for video games. But like an old joke, sometimes it's necessary to freshen up an old game to keep it relevant.

"Pokémon Yellow" first released in Japan 20 years ago. The enhanced version of the original "Pokémon" games ("Red" and "Blue") went on to sell more than 14 million copies, cementing the series' dominance around the world.

The developers at Game Freak have taken this 20-year-old handheld game and have completely reworked it for the Nintendo Switch.

"Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu!" and "Let's Go, Eevee!" marks the series' first appearance on Nintendo's powerhouse, and it's a perfect installment for fans and newcomers alike.

Lavishly animated, the "Let's Go" games are a feast for the senses, like playing an episode of the "Pokémon" cartoon.


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You will receive a partner Pokémon based on which version you choose, and either Pikachu or Eevee will become your constant companion, riding around on your shoulder, ready to fight any other Trainer out there.

The point of the game hasn't changed: Capture as many different Pokémon as possible, battle other trainers, gym champions and the Elite Four trainers to win.

Catching Pokémon represents the biggest change for the series. Taking a number of cues from "Pokémon Go," you'll no longer have to weaken the Pokémon before you capture them.

Nintendo has released a Pokeball controller to pair with the "Pokémon: Let’s Go" games.
Nintendo has released a Pokeball controller to pair with the "Pokémon: Let's Go" games. (Courtesy photo)

Instead, you just throw out your Pokeball, trying to time it so the creature doesn't break free. Particularly tough Pokémon may require more advanced Pokeballs, and it never hurts to throw out a berry relax them first.

Though the system streamlines the capture process, it shouldn't be interpreted as the game lacking depth or challenge. While your Pikachu or Eevee will end up overpowered, it's important to train and strengthen your other Pokémon so you have fighters with skills across the spectrum.

Those who played the original Game Boy games will feel at home, while those new to the franchise will find the perfect opportunity to discover what has made Pokémon so popular for more than two decades.

So whether you want to play in handheld mode, using a single Joy-Con or even with the new Pokeball controller (little but a lot of fun), "Pokémon Let's Go" will scratch that itch for catching them all one more time.

Spyro remastered

Another series celebrating it's 20-year anniversary, "Spyro the Dragon" marked a high-point for PlayStation platform games.

Originally designed by Insomniac Games — the geniuses behind "Ratchet and Clank" and this year's masterpiece, "Marvel's Spider-Man" — "Spyro" was the PlayStation's answer to the 3-D platform games finding so much popularity on Nintendo systems.

The first three Spyro games have now been remastered by Toys for Bob, the developer responsible for the Skylander games (which also featured Spyro), and it's obvious that remastering the games was a labor of love.

All three games look and play spectacularly. The backgrounds, character designs, animations and even the music have been brought up to 2018 standards.

Characters' personalities now shine with enhanced facial expressions and body language. Likewise, the added level of detail makes exploration much more fun than it was back in the day of low maximum polygon counts.

The most significant upgrade is the use of analog sticks for movement. Originally, "Spyro" was released when Sony systems used only the digital joypad, making free-roaming 3D games much more difficult to execute (don't even get me started on the original "Tomb Raider" and "Resident Evil" games).

This welcome addition makes the games more playable than they ever were.

Underneath all of this new polish, you'll find the original level design, score and personality that made these games great in the first place.

Though short by today's standards, these three games, available for about $40, still represent an amazing value. If you've never played these games, or want a chance to relive some great memories, you absolutely can't go wrong with this package.