Good news for all areas that did not originally get Great Detective Pikachu in February 2016: the game has been confirmed for a worldwide release that includes the existing first episode and entirely new second one! Now, people with Japanese systems have been able to enjoy the game, cliffhanger and all, for a while. But those who are only just hearing about this special Pikachu may wonder what is so special about this spin-off. Well, we’re here to help.
Detective Pikachu is about a young man named Tim searching for his missing father, Harry. His journey takes him to Ryme City, where he almost immediately happens upon a surprising Pikachu known as Detective Pikachu. This critter doesn’t know any moves, like Thundershock, but he is able to communicate with both Tim and other Pokemon. The two team up to find out what happened to Harry, why Pikachu is the way he is and help people with Pokemon-related incidents throughout the city.
A big part of what makes Detective Pikachu such a delight is the view of the world it provides us. In the primary Pokemon games, we will see an occasional Pokemon inside a home or roaming around outside. This game really drives home how commonplace they are. As Tim and Pikachu wander around Ryme City, they constantly meet creatures that are or aren’t with the people who happen to live there. We see the impact wild Aipoms have on a young woman. We watch how these animals interact with one another. It is enlightening.
It is also about just enjoying the ride. Detective Pikachu is not a difficult game. You can not miss dialogue or important items as you play. When quick time events come up, you can’t fail them. You get to replay until you get it right. If you are having trouble seeing where to go next, there are Pika Prompt video clips that can show you want to do next. Should someone be totally new to adventure games, and maybe even games in general, there is even an easy mode. The entire game is designed to ease people into the experience and determine what is going wrong, with most of the situations being common sense affairs.
Which means Detective Pikachu is more a character piece than a challenging or thrilling adventure. This unusual is designed to catch our attention and curiosity. We’re supposed to connect with him and want to know why he is the way he is. In the same way, these Pokemon we see in the background of cases are supposed to be more captivating than the humans we encounter. At one point in the first episode, we come across a Glalie that is behaving strangely. It went from a friendly to fearsome in a matter of moments with no explanation, and the entirety of its case involves investigating and connecting with this wild Pokemon.
Think of Detective Pikachu as a way to see Pokemon in a whole new way. We are so used to the trainer mindset, thanks to years of games where we are capturing and fighting alongside these creatures, that an opportunity to be an ordinary person and engage with them is welcoming. Getting to know more about this specific Pikachu and other individuals is a memorable and extraordinary thing.
Detective Pikachu will come to North America and Europe on March 23, 2018.