Having just finished the newest installment in the Pokémon series, I can’t help but notice that one of the main complaints of the game is that it is way too easy. Unfortunately, I’ve found that to be the case as the many mechanics of the game simplify your experience and remove a lot of the grindy aspects of past entries in the series (which is not necessarily a bad thing, mind you). I personally dropped Pokémon Sun and Moon because of this, so I tried very hard to make my experience in Let’s Go more challenging by setting up barriers for myself that I hope you can find useful too.
Drop the Starter
Let’s face it: Pikachu and Eevee are quite overpowered. Some of the moves they have made, make the game far too easy, and not as fun as it could be. Dropping your starter for a more standard Pokémon will make the game a bit more challenging. The plus side is that you can still keep your trusty partner on your shoulder, and you’ll still be able to interact with them whenever you want.
I made the mistake of letting my roommate play with me for the first few hours of the game. Having 2-on-1 battles is just not fair, and it will let you breeze through the content by removing all semblance of difficulty from the game – of which there is little to begin with. Of course, in certain situations this isn’t possible or perhaps it’s tricky, but it’s just better to ditch the co-op for now. Even the catching in Let’s Go is made easier with two people, and it’s not like that’s hard to begin with.
Catching legendaries like Articuno or Moltres and using them for Gym Battles or the Elite Four is a surefire way to steamroll through content. Articuno, in particular, is the main offender because he’s available relatively early in the game – as is Zapdos – and he can be very useful for some of the endgame content. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t catch them, you should definitely do so, just refrain from using them until you’ve finished the game.
Skip some Trainers
This is the main technique I used during my game to make it a bit harder. Pokémon Let’s Go has an in-built Exp. Share that you can’t remove or turn off in any way, so your Pokémon get insane amount of EXP per battle. My philosophy during my playthrough was that if a Trainer can be skipped, then you shouldn’t battle him. This will keep your Pokémon levels relatively low and make some battles slightly more challenging.
Don’t Catch Pokémon
I realize what I’m asking here, but catching Pokémon gives you a lot of experience and also shares it between your team. In my playthrough, I would catch Pokémon in order to add them to my Pokédex, but I never caught the same one twice. This will minimize the amount of experience you earn and keep your party from becoming too overpowered.
No Rare Candies
It might just be me, but in this game, I felt like there were far too many Rare Candies around. By not using them, you are guaranteeing that your Pokémon do not earn levels they do not deserve. If anything, you could use them to evolve Pokémon, but I suggest staying off the sweet stuff entirely.
Use different Pokémon
This one’s a bummer because some of my favorite Pokémon are wildly overpowered. Alakazam in this generation is simply too good and unfair, as he will guarantee you sweeping many gyms and trainers without much of a challenge. Consider using untraditional Pokémon (like Tentacruel, Vileplume, Machamp, etc.) instead of your run-of-the-mill overpowered beasts like Gengar, Aerodactyl or Dragonite. I get that when playing Pokémon you want to use your favorite ones, but in this generation (and without Abilities) some Pokémon are simply too good to have fun with. Unless your definition of fun is sweeping every team, then go ahead.
Unfortunately, even when doing this Let’s Go doesn’t prove to be much of a challenge. I got to the Elite Four with my Pokémon all around level 49, and even though they were underleveled, I didn’t really have any trouble with any of the members of the Pokémon League – Champion included. In fact, I don’t think I fainted once throughout the game. Even still, doing all these steps made it so that the game was more interactive than mashing A and waiting for the opposing Pokémon to die. But by keeping my Pokémon under the “suggested” level, I certainly had to be a bit more careful with my decisions and carefully consider which Pokémon to send out next. Hopefully, this will help you on your adventures too. Oh, and if it’s too easy, you could always do a Nuzlocke run as well. Let me warn you though: get ready to feel some nasty emotions.