Pokemon Diamond & Pearl are fantastic games. Sinnoh is one of the most distinctly intriguing regions the series has seen to date, while Gen 4 Pokemon like Weavile, Infernape, Luxray, and Lucario are still fan-favourites all over the world. I’ve personally been pining for Diamond & Pearl remakes for years, although now that they seem to finally be within reach… Well, it’s just made me realize how much I’d prefer Let’s Go Johto.
Don’t get me wrong – I’d play Diamond & Pearl remakes, and then play them another ten times after I finished them. I’m incredibly interested to see how one of Game Freak’s most impressive regions of all time fares on the Switch, Sinnoh’s vast snowscapes flitting between the intense focus of handheld and sheer scale of docked mode. Watching Dialga lose its shit on a proper telly? Sign me up.
But now I can’t stop thinking about the potential of Let’s Go Johto. While some people weren’t enthused by Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu back in 2018, complaining that they were too easy and that Kanto has already been done to death, I was completely enraptured by them. To this day, I firmly believe that Let’s Go is one of the most ambitious Pokemon titles of all time. It introduced overworld spawns, did away with single-use TMs, allowed you to traverse the world on mounts – including flying ones like Charizard and Aerodactyl – and crafted a brand new levelling system that is almost entirely anti-tedium. It also boasted an immensely stylish art style, which I personally reckon was far better than what we saw in Sword & Shield a year later.
For what it’s worth, I’m also firmly of the opinion that Johto is particularly deserving of a new adventure on Switch. My favourite region of all time is probably Hoenn, although I think Johto is objectively more impressive and refined. From Slowpoke Well to Mt. Silver, to the illustrious Tin Tower, this is a world that is teeming with memorable locations that merit a contemporary reimagining. But even aside from its landmarks, Johto’s identity is so distinct that I feel as if I could remember the position of every single blade of grass and punchable rock. I know we got HeartGold and SoulSilver for the DS back in 2009, and to this day they’re two of the best games in the entire series – but to be honest, I want to see Johto get the Let’s Go treatment on Switch even more than I want to see Gen 9. That’s how invested I am in this concept.
I’m particularly excited about the prospect of how the Legendary Dogs could appear in a Let’s Go game. I’d also like to see how it would reimagine the revered Bug Catching contest, as well as whether or not it would include Kanto again. Given that Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu were clearly inspired by Yellow more so than Red & Blue, Let’s Go Johto would also likely take inspiration from Crystal – the second-best Pokemon game after Emerald – as opposed to Gold or Silver. The mere thought of it has me unreasonably enthusiastic when you consider that not a single detail about whether or not these games are even in development has been revealed.
Speaking of which, Pokemon turns 25 next month and we’ve already got a release date for New Pokemon Snap. As a result, it’s reasonable to assume that we’ll hear something about porting old gens to Switch, Diamond & Pearl remakes, or something that comes entirely from left-field – although admittedly it’s still a bit early for Gen 9 news. All of that being said, I’m personally sitting here at my desk with my fingers and toes crossed that we get news about Let’s Go Johto. I wish I had an Espeon to psychically will them into existence, or an Umbreon to do some weird deal with dark, nefarious forces so Let’s Go Johto was magicked into existence like, right now.
At the time of writing, I’m just sitting here wondering who the mascot Pokemon could be for Gen 2 Let’s Go. Pichu and Marill? Togepi and Wooper? Houndour and Mareep? I’d love Sneasel and Swinub, personally, although I’m not so sure if that’s the combo Nintendo will opt for (well, I suppose Swinub passes the cutesy test, but Sneasel looks like something that would rob you blind and claw-punch you). Regardless of which pair the devs decide on, I’m just dying to see one of Pokemon’s best ever regions on a modern console. Diamond & Pearl remakes would be great, sure – but Let’s Go Johto on my telly? And the possibility of bringing it up to bed as soon as I started to feel a bit tired? Instant purchase. I’d be smacking the Elite Four around with Lugia for the 100th consecutive time within a week of launch.
Next: I Made A Team Of The Best Pokemon Ash Has Ever Caught And Now Nobody Can Beat Me
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Cian Maher is the Lead Features Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.
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