Game: Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Genre: Action, Role-Playing
System: Nintendo Switch
Developers | Publishers: Game Freak | Nintendo
Age Rating: US E | EU 7+
Price: US $59.99 | UK £49.99 | EU € 59,99
Release Date: January 28th, 2022
No review code was used. Instead, I purchased the game myself.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus has been released on Nintendo Switch, it is a different Pokémon game and a departure from the mainline series. Let’s have a look at it.
Region of Hisui
In Arceus, you travel back to the past to the region of Hisui, which would later become known as Sinnoh in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. The region of Hisui is richly inspired by the vistas and culture of early modern Japan. Then, you are literally dropped into the region from the sky after the opening scenes, and your journey begins.
However, you don’t become a trainer and battle the regional Champion; instead, the focus is on exploring and researching Pokémon in the wild. In addition, you are in charge of creating the entries in the Pokédex by observing how the Pokémon behave or use various moves, making each encounter a unique experience.
As a new member of Galaxy Team, which is based in the ever-growing village of Jubilife, your job is to go out into the field to collect and study Pokémon to complete the Pokédex and complete quests for the villagers.
Along the way, you interact with the Diamond and Pearl clans members. Each clan has different interpretations of the god Sinnoh and sets out to resolve a strange phenomenon related to the Noble Pokémon.
All around, you’ll find Pokémon living wild in varied environments that make up the region. Pokémon Legends: Arceus honours past Pokémon games’ core gameplay while infusing new action and RPG elements. Oh boy, have they changed things in the game for the better!
Gone are the semilinear paths of old Pokémon games to be replaced by wild open spaces. However, you can’t go rushing off into the vast open spaces from the off. First, you must catch and pick your starter Pokémon out of three on offer, which are Rowlet, Oshawott and Cyndaquil. I picked Oshawott; my choice had nothing to do with its stats; Oshawott is cute.
Catching Pokémon is so different and feels much more involved for the player. You can focus on a Pokémon you spot in the open field and aim and throw a Pokémon ball to catch it. It all feels a lot more engaging, as if you are really catching the Pokémon yourself.
Dotted around the open world are hub areas or camps that are easy to return to via a great in-game map. The open world is big enough to spend hours exploring, without being overwhelming or daunting. Like previous Pokémon games, you will eventually discover Pokèmon to assist in travelling, which opens up much more fun and quicker exploration possibilities. But more importantly, you’ll discover different aspects of the terrain for each area of the map and different Pokémon.
In addition, you’ll need to make sure you have plenty of potions and berries available because enemy Pokémon can quickly wipe out half of your party. They can also attack as you pass them by in the open world, so make sure you are quick on your feet.
During battles, each Pokémon has three different move options: regular, strong, and agile moves. Regular moves are base moves that do standard damage and require normal PP usage. While strong and agile moves should be used to try to gain an advantage during a battle or to deal the final blow to end a battle. In addition, strong moves boost power, lower users’ action speed, and use more PP than usual. While agile moves reduce power, increase a users’ action speed and use more PP than usual.
Options for Moves
Battles are a lot more strategic with introducing three different types of options for a single move. You can also move your character around the battle area, giving you a much better view of what’s going on. However, you do have to pay attention to what is happening during battles. So that’s me not watching TV while I play Pokémon anymore: otherwise, my team won’t last long in battle if I did that.
Arceus also adds a series of boss fights in the game, starting with Kleavor, a Noble Pokémon, which will have you playing dodge during some pretty fast gameplay with the rampaging Pokémon.
There are other new elements added into the gameplay, and quality of life improvements for the player, making the gameplay so much more cohesive. I’ll leave you to discover what those are yourself as I’m not going to spoil too much of the game.
Controls and Visuals
Controls are intuitive, and it feels natural to dodge with Y and aim and throw with ZR. The music when it plays is lovely, but similar to The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild; the music doesn’t play all the time.
Graphically I think the game looks well. Of course, not everyone will agree with that as everyone has different opinions on graphics. However, the shiny Pokémon are actually shiny in the game, and the Pokémon moves during battle are well animated.
There is a slight framerate issue, especially in the open areas, but it’s not horrendous, and it certainly wouldn’t hinder the gameplay or your enjoyment of the game.
Certain elements of Arceus remind me of action games such as Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Monster Hunter, but with the battle, trade, and collection of previous games still intact. Pokémon Legends: Arceus has undergone significant changes, ultimately making the game better for it. After having played all the previous Pokémon games in the series, I can say I love it, give it a go, and you might love it too!
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up
It’s pretty awesome, I agree. After feeling rather cold towards Sword and Shield, this one has definitely reignited my love for the franchise.
Hi Matt, I hope you are well. I played Sword just before I played Arceus, while I really liked Sword, Arceus is the much better game. All the improvements in the gameplay are brilliant, makes a change from fighting Pokémon trainers every two seconds as well.
I am fine. Thanks. Hope you are well too.
And yeah, here’s hoping the next generation is more like Arceus and less like Sword/Shield.
I’m great thanks. We can keep our Fingers crossed they keep more of the Arceus formula in the next Pokémon games.