say that the Pokemon The video game formula has been refined to a tee would be an understatement, as each new game has ushered in more innovation to the franchise for better and for worse. With the recent release of Pokemon Shiny Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl, the chance to relive a beloved adventure with modern trappings is hard to pass up, but with Pokemon Legends: Arceus, both nintendo and The Pokemon Company have infused renewed vigor with a clever genre twist and offering us a lens into the past.
In place of the Sinnoh region comes the Hisui region, at a time when humans and Pokémon existed in spite of themselves, and not at all the harmonious relationship we’ve grown accustomed to. Stepped into the past from parts unknown, players will begin their journey in Jubilife Village and begin laying the groundwork for many of the series’ staples as they explore, learn, and master the art of catching and battling Pokémon.
The connections between Pokemon Legends: Arceus with both diamond and pearl is deep because it’s essentially the same locations with much of the same creatures running around, albeit with changes in appearance. However, instead of the modern world, the Land of Hisui is more medieval in nature, filled with characters, items, and Pokémon that will instantly make invested fans really happy, yet still relevant to newcomers.
As previously revealed, many of the characters found in the game are linked to their modern day counterparts, and it’s a nice nod to the series’ history that makes Pokemon Legends: Arceus an even more enticing proposition for fans. That, and of course, the Pokemon action.
The player’s spawn coincides with a space-time rift that opened up the skies above Hisui, and it’s clear that resolving this crisis becomes the main focus of the game. your starter between Cyndaquil, Rowlet or Oshawott or joining the Galaxy Expedition Team, central to it all is compiling the Pokédex for Professor Laventon, learning about these magnificent beasts and finding a solution to the flaw.
This may seem like the standard setup for a Pokemon game, but with Pokemon Legends: Arceus, the script is reversed with the transition to a limited open world that is almost reminiscent of monster hunter world, with various biomes harboring different Pokémon at different times of the day, eager to test your mettle.
Gone are the days of tall grass and trainer battles, instead, Arceus has players running around like an action role-playing game, throwing primitive Poké Balls made of apricot and other materials, and dodging attacks from Pokémon Alpha. There are no forced battles, and except for areas that require certain navigational aids, where to go and what to do is up to you.
The real hook lies in the Pokédex, which takes on more meaning than just a simple record book. In order to increase rank in Team Galaxy to gain access to better gear and control high-level Pokemon, research tasks must be completed.
It could be capturing a number of the same creature, witnessing a specific attack, or even giving it food. By completing these tasks, some more valuable than others, you can then increase your research level for that particular beast and gain relevant information about its characteristics, location, weaknesses, and more.
Turn that research into Professor Laventon, and your ascent is inevitable. Of course, it would be too easy if every Pokemon was just waiting for you to throw a fruit ball at it, as some are preparing for a fight, sending dangerous attacks your way that can stun you and cause you to lose items and the progress. Others will run on sight and require a more subtle approach, either stunning them with special items or using tall grass to get close to those Pokemon.
When the need for battle arises, prepare the Pokémon of your choice and launch them at the enemy of your choice. This familiar battle setup then kicks in, allowing your monster to take on the wild variants. It’s also not always a one-on-one affair, drawing too much attention can also mean taking on multiple enemies at once.
Then you have the Alphas, hulking versions of the monsters that are immensely more powerful, dangerous, and even more valuable additions to your team. Learning to read their attack patterns, dodging at the right time, and picking your fight isn’t just how you progress in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, but also how you will survive. Defeat them and earn tons of experience points and vital items, or capture them for your dream team.
If you need rest for your companions, change parties, or stock up on items for more adventures, each of the five distinct biomes you visit will have base camps that perform those functions.
Speaking of items, there’s definitely more item management this time around. Materials can be found all over the world, creating opportunities for on-the-go crafting. Poké Balls, healing items, and even food that can be used as lures can all be crafted once you learn the required recipes. Between choosing the right items to throw and the right Pokémon to deploy, it’s a more hectic affair than you would normally expect.
Although you can strive to try to fill the Pokédex, following the main narrative path will make you even more well prepared for higher level beasts and areas. Rather than simple battles proving you’re the best, which are usually reserved for important character moments or hilarious cameos from the Miss Fortune bandit gang, Pokemon Legends: ArceusThe main obstacles are the Frenzied Noble Lords, gigantic Pokemon that have turned their backs on the people and gone wild.
In order to quell their madness, players had to throw salves made from their favorite food to calm them down. Between dodging pain attacks and throwing salves, there are also windows where you can send your best Pokémon to relieve your own pain, extending the window for the balms to take effect.
And as you continue this quest, more of the Hisui region opens up. You gain the ability to ride various Blessed Pokémon, making land, sea, and even air travel possible. Considering the distance to travel as well as the time needed to see each Pokémon who lives in the area, these are important tools to have.
Needless to say, the better you do, the more Pokemon Legends: Arceus can offer. Jubilife Village begins to grow alongside your efforts, bringing more requests for help that reward items and open up new options for clothing, hair, crafts, and more. There’s even a photography studio so you can take adorable snaps with your favorite Pokémon.
Even after the drama surrounding the space-time rift concludes, your time in Hisui is far from over. There are hidden wisps to be collected, Unown to hunt down, and legends waiting to be experienced in the endgame, and if you’re truly after a satisfying conclusion, especially one that involves the titular Pokemon resembling god, it’s all worth it. activities in which to invest.
This does not mean that the main story of Pokemon Legends: Arceus pales in comparison. In fact, it’s one of the most engaging and intriguing of recent times. Combine that with an addictive gameplay loop that constantly rewards you for putting in the time and effort, and it’s hard to go back to the basic formula of trainer glory. Who knew the series could get a new life with a more action-oriented take, and it’s certainly for the best that this title exists, giving us a glimpse of what could be a new direction for a classic franchise.
Still, being on the Nintendo Switch still poses a few problems. The draw distance isn’t that great, especially when you’re in the air or at sea, which makes Pokemon hard to spot. Textures are also random, with stylized visuals being much better for people and mobs, and less so for the world.
The controls can also be an issue, especially if you’re playing on Joy-Cons, if you can, it’s highly recommended to enjoy the game on the big screen rather than as a handheld experience.
Never Live Among Pokemon been so fun and exciting, Pokemon Legends: Arceus feels like the open-world gameplay fans have always envisioned for the series, breaking free from the shackles of hardware and design limitations to create such a vivid world. It’s a Pokemon game on a whole new level, and despite the changes, it has every chance of becoming the best.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus will be released for Nintendo Switch on January 28.
GEEK REVIEW NOTE
Great for newcomers, even better for fans, Pokemon Legends: Arceus represents a natural evolution for the series, and it’s been a hell of a ride from start to finish.
- Gameplay – 9.5/10
- Story – 9/10
- Presentation – 8.5/10
- Value – 9/10
Jake is a full-time trophy hunter and collector of console achievements, and part-time victim of the Steam Sale. He has a thing for Batman and impressive statues, and lacks space for both. Send help.
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