Since I was a child, I’ve always played the latest Pokémon games, as soon as they’re released, and while there have been changes here and there, mostly, these games have followed the same old format, but Pokemon Legends Arceus has changed all that, giving us a glimpse of a bright new future, filled with Pokemon wandering around in the wild.
One of the most annoying aspects of Pokemon games over the past few years has been the continued, training wheels style of game-play, treating every player as if it were their first time playing a Pokemon game, but Pokemon Legends Arceus didn’t subject us to that, which is ironic, considering it’s one of the first games to completely change the format of the mechanics of the game.
Pokemon Legends Arceus is set years before the other games, which makes things interesting, many people at this point still have a lot to learn about Pokemon, and in many cases fear them.
The Pokedex is a book, as the game is set in an era clearly before any of the technical advances we’ve seen in other games in the series are present.
While the game is set in an era lacking technological advancements, Pokemon Legends Arceus manages to keep things convenient, moving from one area to another, is quick and easy, and items can be crafted, instead of needing to locate the nearest shop.
Pokemon Legends Arceus's Open-World
Pokemon Legends Arceus features tons of new features, giving it a fresh new look and feel, that helps it take the game’s series into a brave new direction.
While Pokemon Legends Arceus features a massive open-world environment, which is a clear step in the right direction, it still feels like something is missing, the land often feels barren, which is made worse with poor textures, that looks even worse in docked mode.
It’s hard to walk around the land in Pokemon Legends Arceus and not compare it to Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I spent much of my time wishing it had the same level of detail as Zelda’s map does.
Regardless of the lack of detail, it’s still amazing to be able to wander around and explore the map, with wild Pokemon walking around freely.
Alpha Pokemon are also a welcomed addition to Pokemon Legends Arceus, making exploring much more dangerous than any Pokemon game I have ever played before.
Right from the start, you can encounter giant Alpha Pokemon that is often at a much higher level than you can tackle.
But this adds a new element of danger, making the game more difficult, something I personally have felt Pokemon has needed for some time now.
There have been massive changes to how we battle and catch Pokemon in Pokemon Legends Arceus too, with wandering aimlessly in the tall grass now being a thing of the past.
Pokemon now walk around the map, and are visible at all times, just like in the wild areas of Sword / Shield.
Instead of approaching a Pokemon to start a battle, players must now throw an occupied Pokeball at wild Pokemon to start a battle, throwing an empty Pokeball, will attempt to capture the Pokemon, but depending on the Pokemon’s temperament and status, this might result in you needing to battle it to capture them.
Strong style makes moves more powerful, but can cause a delay before you can make your next move.
Agile style makes move quicker, but less powerful, in some cases you can pull of multiple attacks.
Another big addition to Pokemon Legends Arceus’s combat system is the ability to use strong or agile styles on each move.
Your Pokemon must master each move before they are able to use these styles, but once they have, you can opt for quicker less powerful attacks or slower or more deadly ones.
Players are also able to move their characters around while they battle now, which obviously isn’t a major gameplay improvement, but is certainly a cool addition.
Pokemon Legends Arceus's Gameplay
The first thing I noticed about Pokemon Legends Arceus’s gameplay is a sense of freedom that other games in the series have not offered before.
Seeing the Pokemon walking around the map gives you much more freedom to choose when you want to battle, or simply explore, it also saves time not having to run away from battles that you simply didn’t want to have.
Pokecenters have not yet been set up in Pokemon Legends Arceus, instead, players can rest with their Pokemon, or go back to the village to recover.
Merchants and traders are scattered across the land, instead of Pokemarts, and a small selection of other shops, such as a clothes shop can be found in Jubilife village.
As well as having to deal with powerful alpha Pokemon, there are also enraged ones, large powerful Pokemon that have been struck by a mysterious lightening, causing them to enrage and become dangerous.
Dealing with these enraged Pokemon is part of the main story arc, and adds a level of difficulty that I have personally found to be rare in modern Pokemon games.
Pokemon Legends Arceus Review Summary
Pokemon Legends Arceus’s developers, Game Freak have made a clear effort to move the Pokemon series into a new direction, one that I feel we’ve all been waiting on for some time now.
While the wold is let don by poor textures and barren lands, the game has made incredible steps into becoming a vibrant and interactive world filled with the adorable creatures we’ve all come to know and love.
On paper, the games new research tasks might seem a little repetitive, but many of these tasks you will complete without even trying, while the rest add a new layer of challenge onto the game.
Having a mount early on in game is also another great aspect of Pokemon Legends Arceus, with mounts having their own abilities, such as being able to locate and dig for treasures across the map.
For a long time now, Pokemon has had two main goals, become the Pokemon Champion and catch ’em all, and while that tried and tested formula has worked, it was about time we had some new objectives.
While Pokemon Legends Arceus does have its flaws, in my experience, this has been one of the most entertaining, immersive and generally enjoyable Pokemon games in a long time.
Hopefully, this will now become the new normal for Pokemon, instead of just a one off, with some refinement, and time and budget spent on textures, Pokemon could be in for a brighter future.