Pokémon Legends: Arceus

We’ve had plenty of different Pokémon games, from the standard RPGs to Pokémon Snap or the fan-favourite Pokémon Stadium. However, we’ve never seen a Pokémon game like Pokémon Legends: Arceus before.

Pokémon has been taking the gaming world by storm since the days of the original Game Boy. Since then, developers Game Freak have given us fantastic and simple turn-based RPGs where we’d train, battle and evolve our beloved Pokémon. We’ve made the hard decision of which starter to pick, grinding out levels to battle gym leaders, but Pokémon Legends: Arceus completely flips the RPG series on its head. If you’re a Pokémon veteran or a newcomer to the series, Pokémon Legends: Arceus merges the engaging world of Pokémon with the open world stylings of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Unlike previous Pokémon games, Arceus‘ approach is a little different. Rather than a world where Pokémon and people work and live side-by-side, your player is mysteriously thrown back in time. The traditional Pokédex doesn’t exist, and Pokéballs have just been invented, where they’re made with cogs and gears rather than the iconic white button. Your trainer (who you’ll customise) wakes up on a beach and is approached by a mysterious professor (it’s not a Pokémon game without a professor!) who needs your help recapturing his three rare Pokémon – which turn out to be the games starter Pokémon).

While the start of the game may feel familiar, Pokémon regulars will be surprised at how different Arceus is from all previous titles. For starters, you start the game without any Pokémon and you need to capture the three starters, and you do this by sneaking up and throwing a Pokéball at them. This is a new system, as since the original Pokémon Red/Blue you previously needed to battle and weaken a Pokémon before you could capture them, as you needed to basically make them weak. However, in Arceus, you can capture a whole variety of Pokémon without ever starting a battle. Some Pokémon have what is basically a friendly gauge, which lets players know if they need to weaken them in order to capture them.

“Unlike previous Pokémon games, Arceus‘ approach is a little different.”

However, some Pokémon can’t be captured by surprise and you’ll need to use your Pokémon to battle them. Standard turn-based combat comes into play here, but just like the rest of Pokémon Legends: Arceus its new and improved. You seamlessly go from exploring the world, to throwing out a Pokémon and battling away. Like you’d expect, your Pokémon will stand there and wait for its attack commands, while you can move around the world a little bit, so you can get a different view of the battle. You’ll need to be careful and pick your battles sometimes though, as you can get caught in a two-on-one scenario. If you’ve got the attention of two wild Pokémon, and you throw out one of your own, you’ll need to take both out.

Speaking of Pokémon battles and wild Pokémon wanting to brawl… You’ll actively need to throw out a Pokémon to defend yourself. Because if you don’t, wild Pokémon will attack you! You also can’t take too much damage. So, when roaming around in the wild, not only are there friendly Pokémon and some that’ll need to be battled before you can capture them, but also very large and very powerful Pokémon known as Alphas. If you’ve played Pokémon Sword/Shield, it’s basically like the little mini bosses roaming around out in the wild.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Story-wise, again its new and fresh. Rather than playing as a trainer going out and battling gym leaders like we’ve been doing since 1996, you’ll be making history in a way. As we previously mentioned, The Pokédex doesn’t exist, but you’ve been tasked to go out and capture EVERY Pokémon and get as much information as you can to help the professor create the Pokédex! You’ll not only need to capture every Pokémon, but you’ll be required to learn about each of them in a variety of different ways. How do they react to having a Pokéball thrown at them when you’re hiding in grass? What attacks do they have? What are their weaknesses? You’ll need to battle the same Pokémon many (many) times, and capture them as many times too. Each time you do this, you’ll complete little objectives required for each entry in your Pokédex, and you’ll be rewarded with money. Just like in all Pokémon games, you can buy potions, berries, materials and even clothes.

When roaming around in the wild, your Pokémon isn’t just used for battling, but also for traversal and gathering resources. Rather than traditionally buying and finding potions and Pokéballs, you can craft them if you have the required materials. You start off learning how to make your most critical and often used item, the Pokéball. You’ll burn through a lot of these, as anytime you throw a ball and miss your target, you’ve lost it and you can’t pick it back up. Gathering resources is easy and a bit of fun too. You’ll throw out whatever Pokémon you choose and they’ll shake a tree or destroy a rock so that you can gather its resources.

Pokémon Legends Arceus really is a Pokémon game that we’ve never seen before. Just like Pokémon Sword/Shield you’ll see wild Pokémon roaming around. With combat now more streamlined, there’s no cutscene or animation when transitioning from roaming to Pokémon battles. Though, there are some things we’d love to see in future Pokémon games. Sadly, there are no voiceovers or spoken dialogue. Pokémon’s sounds still come across like they’ve been pulled from previous Pokémon games, rather than the TV series. Some of the standard staple Pokémon are available here, but it’d be great if we got a title like this that just used the original 151.

If you’ve been waiting for Pokémon to evolve into a next-gen styled title with free roaming open worlds like in Skyrim or The Legend of Zelda, then Pokémon Legends Arceus will have you glued to your TV, or having you missing train stations (or in our instance, catching the wrong tram) when playing it on the go.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is available now on Switch.star-4

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