Pokémon Legends: Arceus is shaping up to be one of the few Pokémon games in recent history. Despite Pokémon Sword and Shield becoming the second best-selling Pokémon title in history, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is inching its way up to being one of the fastest-selling games on the Nintendo Switch after Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Pokémon has always been a great seller. Even the recent remakes, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl, pushed almost 14 million copies around the world.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus Tries Something New
The main titles in the Pokémon series have always done well, despite the fact that they’ve mainly followed the same formula of turn-based Pokémon combat. You always play a young hero whose sole goal was to become the very best, like no one ever was. Of course, Game Freak has tried to switch up the mechanics of each game a bit between each main series Pokémon game to keep things from getting stale, but Pokémon Legends: Arceus is where they’ve finally experimented with something completely new.
Game Freak took nearly everything we knew and experimented in a main series Pokémon game where our goal isn’t to conquer gyms or take on the world’s best Pokémon trainers. In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, you play in an open world, like previous Pokémon titles, but instead of random encounters or running up to a Pokémon to engage in battle, you take a different approach.
You could try to capture it immediately with a Poke ball, send your Pokémon in for a battle, or take a Safari Zone approach with stealth and items. Players who came into Pokémon Legends: Arceus, not knowing what to expect, were shocked when they found out that the wild Pokémon can attack your character. Obviously, your character has a smaller health bar and cannot withstand an attack from a wild creature, so you must employ stealth or dodging. This is the first time Pokémon can directly attack a character, which is a welcome change for many.
As far as the Pokémon battles go in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, it takes an interesting approach as the game truly makes you feel as if you’re part of the battle alongside your Pokémon. Of course, your character isn’t running up to a Pokémon and hitting it with a bat, but you can get hurt by a Pokémon if you’re too close to the action.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus and The PokeDex Origins
In previous Pokémon titles, it was easy to simply walk around in tall grass and work on an already established PokeDex. However, you’re working on the world’s first PokeDex, so, you must do several things to compile all this information. You not only need to catch one, but you need to learn about them, what moves they use, how they react to things, and other research tasks that will make players feel like they’re truly part of the origins of the PokeDex.
Every time you finish a task for your PokeDex, you improve the research stage of the Pokémon that goes up to 10 stages. Once you’ve reached level 10, then your research entry for that Pokémon is complete. However, that doesn’t mean there are only 10 things for you to do to get to the next stage of the PokeDex. While you don’t have to complete every single task to finish the entry for that specific Pokémon, it can get a bit tedious.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus Could Be More Immersive
Since this is a review of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, we do have to mention the bad with the good. While the world does look lovely with five promising areas, they don’t look very different from the others. This was a complaint in the older Pokémon titles for the Switch and it doesn’t look like graphics were much of a focus in Pokémon Legends: Arceus either.
Everything from the textures to the grass and water seems a bit boring and repetitive. Even if you’re playing the game handheld, the frame rate dies a bit, which kills immersion. Unfortunately, the graphics aren’t anything you can simply ignore. Pokémon Legends: Arceus has an interesting premise in a very visually disappointing and awkward-looking world.
While the music in Pokémon Legends: Arceus is wonderful, it’s disappointing out in the open world when all you hear is the random cries of Pokémon and the occasional rustle of grass. Fortunately, the towns in the game have themes for you to enjoy, but the game could really benefit from a musical update.
Players have found a way to make Pokémon Legends: Arceus more immersive, despite the visual disappointment. The game does offer a first-person mode, which is perfect for taking screenshots when you’re hiding in tall grass and hoping you don’t get spotted by a rampaging Pokémon. If you want to make it more immersive, you can keep the first-person view the entire time. This is an interesting way to play Pokémon and help you immerse yourself in a world that doesn’t have a lot of music on top of repetitive-looking areas.
Is Pokémon Legends: Arceus Worth Playing?
If you don’t care about the immersion, music, or graphics, then Pokémon Legends: Arceus is worth playing, if only for how different it is from previous titles. The battle mechanics are completely different and worth trying if you’ve become bored with the old turn-based battle system.
You focus more on catching and researching the monsters than becoming the greatest Pokémon trainer the world has ever seen. It truly makes you feel like you’re a part of history, even if the world is a bit boring and bland. Everyone loves playing a prequel and exploring the lore of their favorite series. The change of direction in gameplay makes it worth picking up for the Nintendo Switch.
Of course, no Pokémon game is complete without a wireless controller for the Nintendo Switch that features some of the strongest Pokémon. While Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a visual disappointment, you won’t be disappointed by the visuals of these wireless Pokémon-themed Nintendo Switch controllers.