Pokémon games have a long history for me. It’s the first serious gaming I got into after spending 1,5 years in Animal Crossing Wild World. Trying to find something new to sink my teeth in and finding Pokémon Platinum. I know a lot of gamers had been there since the start of the series in 1996 but I was late to the party, 10 years later in 2006. What made my adventure so special was that I was playing together with some of my online gaming friends, one of which was Paula. The same Paula that I’m running LadiesGamers with now. Anyway, we traded Pokémon, breed eggs and exchanged Pokéberries. Nothing beats the fun of gaming together!
It doesn’t mean I’ve played them all since then, though currently, I’m really enjoying Pokémon Shield again. After a while, all-new entry and remake seem alike to me. Something special is about to happen though: Pokémon Legends: Arceus is coming. And it promises to be an adventure that’s quite different. Let’s see what we know so far!
Comparisons with Breath of the Wild
Revealed in February 2021, the time is almost near for Pokémon Legends: Arceus release date as an exclusive on the Nintendo Switch on January 28. In the game, we travel back to the past to the region of Hisui, which would later become known as Sinnoh.
Mount Coronet rises from the centre of the Hisui region, surrounded on all sides by areas with distinct environments. Each area is rich in its own natural features and plays host to different Pokémon ecosystems. For example, one such area is the Obsidian Fieldlands, resplendent with gorgeous flowers and verdant vegetation and teeming with Pokémon that favour meadows and forests.
From the start, comparisons were made to Breath of the Wild, the last Zelda game that took a departure from earlier games in the series to make an open-world adventure in the breathtaking scenery of Hyrule.
Looking at the reveal trailer I can see and especially hear, why. The music is majestic and makes you feel you are going to be a part of a grand adventure. Rolling landscapes, visuals that are more life-like and a new way to encounter and capture your Pokémon!
A New Way to Capture Them All
Pokémon Legends: Arceus features a new way to use your Pokéballs and the Pokémon that accompany you. This time though there are no separate battle scenes when you throw your Pokéball. When you encounter a wild Pokémon and manage to surprise it, you throw the ball in real-time to catch it. Or you can battle it, avoiding its attacks yourself and sending one of your own Pokémon out into the field near the wild critter you encountered. When the battle between them starts you can choose from one of four attacks, much like in the other games.
But Pokémon’s stats and other factors also determine how many actions each Pokémon gets to take and in what order. This can create situations where one Pokémon might get to take multiple turns in a row. You could heal your Pokémon immediately after dishing out an attack or throw yourself all-in with a no-holds-barred flurry of attacks.
Travel to the Past
This is no adventure of a youngster kissing its mom goodbye to go on an adventure all alone accompanied by Pokémon. As a mom myself I always wondered who would send their child out to face the dangers of the world without worrying herself sick. Anyway. You will still travel around though to fill the first-ever Pokédex before the concept of a Pokédex was even known. There may be certain Pokémon behaviours, or even entire species, that you witness only under the right conditions, such as during a particular time of day or in certain kinds of weather.
You start out with either Rowlet (grass type starter in Sun and Moon), Cyndaquil (fire type starter in Gold and Silver) or Oshawott (water type starter in Black and White). According to the Pokémon Company, these Pokémon were brought to Hisui “by a certain Professor who encountered them while travelling around various regions”.
Jubilife Life Village is the Hub
When I first heard the open-world concept mentioned I had hoped it would truly be an open-world adventure like BotW, but it seems that is not going to be the case. Instead, based on later trailers, I’m reminded of Monster Hunter Stories. You will start in Jubilife Village, the centre of operations for the Galaxy Expedition Team, or Galaxy Team for short, people who have come from various regions to study Hisui. The team includes various corps, such as the Medical Corps and the Security Corps, as well as the Survey Corps, which carries out research on how Pokémon live.
From this home base, you can accept missions for which you go out of the village into the wilds. After receiving an assignment or a request and preparing for your next excursion, you’ll set out from the village to study one of the various areas of the Hisui region.
More simulation elements are added in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, like crafting items, customising your character and taking pictures with your favourite Pokémon. Along with the headquarters of the Galaxy Team and your own lodgings, Jubilife Village is also home to a range of useful institutions and services, like a trading post, where you can trade Pokémon with other players. The official website tells us a paid Nintendo Switch Online membership is required to enjoy certain features, but it doesn’t specify yet which ones.
Meet the Nobles
There are two rivalling clans, the Diamond and the Pearl clan. The Diamond clan is headed by Adamants and Irida is the leader of the Pearl Clan. Both clans are looking after the Pokémon in the region, but their views on how to do that differ. In addition to clans, there are the Merchants of the Ginkgo Guild, their leader is called Ginter. You can not go to the Pokécenter for all your needs, instead, you go to the merchants for things like berries and crafting materials.
In Pokémon Legends: Arceus a new type of Pokémon is added to the list of known and new critters: Nobles. They aren’t the same as unique legendaries, but instead, they are larger and stronger versions with glowing red eyes of the Pokémon you find in the regions. Nobles will chase you down and attack you when they notice you. They’re tough opponents, but they’ll become great allies if you manage to catch them and they might drop rare items too. What’s even more fun is that you can even ride them. You could gallop along while on a Wyrdeer, fly with a Hisuian Braviary, or cross waters on the back of a Basculegion.
Of course, you will see many familiar Pokémon during your adventure, but some Pokémon have Hisuian forms that can be found only in the Hisui region. These Pokémon’s Hisuian forms each have unique characteristics.
Digital Goodies for pre-Order and Earlier Games
The Pokemon Company announced that the Pokemon Legends: Arceus preorder bonus for retail purchases will be a Hisuian Growlithe Kimono Set. You can claim it by speaking to the clothier after joining the Galaxy Expedition Team. (It takes approximately one hour of playtime to reach the point where this option is available.)
If you already have Pokémon Diamond or Pearl on your Switch you will also unlock the special in-game Team Galactic outfits. Plus, you’ll be able to take on a research request in Pokémon Legends: Arceus in which you’ll have a chance to add the Mythical Pokémon Darkrai to your team. This research request will be available for you to accept in Jubilife Village after viewing the game’s end credits.
If you have play records from the Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield game, you’ll be able to take on a research request in Pokémon Legends: Arceus in which you’ll have a chance to add the Mythical Pokémon Shaymin (Land Forme) to your team. This research request will also be available for you to accept in Jubilife Village after viewing the game’s end credits.
If you have play records from either the Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!orPokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! game, you’ll be able to claim both the Pikachu Mask and the Eevee Mask in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. You can claim these masks by speaking to the clothier after joining the Galaxy Expedition Team. (It takes approximately one hour of playtime to reach the point where this option is available.)