Pokemon Legends: Arceus Review – Proof that Pokemon can evolve

We all know how the Pokemon game started: you wake up when you move to a new area and your mom gives you a new pair of trainers before taking you on a trip around the world. to catch them all and be the best like zero. one used to be. Bulbasaur, Squirtle, or Charmander are the replacement for your absent father, and you’ve got a quirky Professor helping you and a kid getting in your way in equal measure. Just don’t go into tall grass.

Pokemon Legend: Arceus break the established routines of the thread in the first place. Instead of waking up to your loving parents, you wake up in the arms of God Himself. You’re transported to an ancient era, where catching Pokemon is basically unheard of, everyone rips your clothes mercilessly, and you’re constantly told you’re sure to die. if coming within 100 meters of Pokemon. You think Bidoof is cute and cuddly? Those teeth could knock a man out in less than a second. Oh, and one last thing: long grass is your best friend now.

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Crushing expectations is the bread and butter of Legends: Arceus: there are open-world areas, changes to Pokemon fighting and catching, and gym leaders being replaced with Noble Pokemon. Some of them work and others don’t – but you’ll have a lot of fun figuring out which ones you like. Arguably the biggest change to the established Pokemon formula, however, is creating a reciprocal relationship between your trainer and the Pokemon you catch.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus Review - Proof that Pokemon can evolve

Legend: Arceus makes Pokemon scary – you’re fearless until you’re chased by an Alpha Honchkrow twice the level and size of you and its Murkrow swarm – but the game is about coexisting with its monsters on condition theirs and ours. Even in the early game, you have to earn Wyrdeer’s respect before it lets you ride it across the region, and cultivating this mutual relationship is the game’s most important conflict.

The Diamond and Pearl clans, resenting Hisui, are the ones who encourage you to cultivate mutual respect between humans and Pokemon, but despite being a newcomer falling from the sky to the cold, inhospitable land of Hisuian, You have no choice but to side with the settlers in the area. Team Galaxy isn’t that bad – unlike its descendant team is in Diamond & Pearl, but they’re plundering all of the land’s resources, from berries to Pokemon.

Review Pokemon Legends Arceus - Proof that Pokemon can evolve

This colonialism manifests itself in the form of Pokedex, when you study Hisui’s Pokemon – just like Charles Darwin if he occasionally used his sparrow against other researchers. However, completing the Pokedex is not what you remember, because catching every Pokemon is not enough anymore.

To complete an entry in Hisuian Dex, you need to research every Pokemon for ten levels. You can level this up in a number of ways, by catching multiple monsters of the same species, fighting them, feeding them, using super effective attacks on them, evolving them and even by watch them use their characteristic moves. It feels like you’re actually studying Pokemon – a true Hisuian David Attenborough – and learning how they tick. It also means that you can complete the entire Pokedex (except Mythicals) without fighting a single time, except for the bosses. We must side with the settlers, but we can respect hateful animals in doing so.

Red arrow in Pokedex to show bonus points in Pokemon Legends Arceus

This reflects the way we live and interact with Pokemon. Rather than just mercilessly killing wild animals to level up and control the gym leaders, Irida, the leader of the Pearl Clan, says it best: “We intend to side with Pokemon , rather than consider yourself above them!” The characters and writing aren’t particularly interesting, but this quote stuck with me. While wandering in the world of Hisui, you feel like you are side by side with Pokemon. They roam around you, run away from you and attack you. You can send your own monsters into battle if you want, or simply run away for your life. This is the first time I feel like a proper Pokemon researcher, and this round of fighting, catching, and research is the most fun I’ve ever had in a Pokemon game. It’s also a good job, because when you get into the details, Legends: Arceus doesn’t stick around too well.

Graphics are terrible. This is a very bad looking game. Every now and then – usually at dusk – you’ll see how Game Freak is going, but there are countless games on Switch that look better than this, whether because of the more cohesive style or just that. simply use better textures. The one exception to this are the motion animations, which look excellent, especially when you can move around in battle to capture the most cinematic angle – it would be difficult to go back to a stationary camera coming to Generation 9. The menus are difficult to use, and there are focus too much on inventory management. The new combat system of Strong and Aggressive style moves isn’t too terrible, but usually doesn’t affect turn order so it can feel overwhelming.

That’s not all bad, though, these negatives are offset by quality-of-life improvements like reduced battle time and changes to your movements. A personal highlight is that the ‘run’ in-battle button is linked to B, so you can combine it if you accidentally get into a fight and you’ll exit without fail. Physically, getting your character to run – yes, even in the middle of a battle – away from an attacking Pokemon provides a satisfying escape.

Review Pokemon Legends Arceus - Proof that Pokemon can evolve

Legends: Arceus’ biggest flaw, however, is its boss battles. Completing the Pokedex encourages you to change your team, try different strategies, and interact with the game’s core mechanics in as many ways as possible, boss battles simmering to swallow small pills while Do lots of dodges. It’s an unwelcome throwback to the classic Pokemon formula of beating your way up with your overpowered starter, except you just grind the dodge and balance buttons until you win.

It feels like they tried to create kid-friendly Miyazaki bosses and ended up with half-hearted semi-soul nightmares without understanding why Dark Souls or Legends: Arceus worked. They’re dull, tedious, and at odds with the rest of the game, which is a real shame. On top of that, the final shot of each battle is even a slow-kill shot of the Sniper Elite you’d expect to x-ray Kleavor’s balls.

The sooner you unlock a new area and get back to exploring and fishing, the better. It’s a pity that the boss battles aren’t interactive with what makes Arceus so special, but I’m glad most of the game’s time is spent capturing, fighting, and researching rather than balancing.

Review Pokemon Legends Arceus - Proof that Pokemon can evolve

I can’t stress enough how exciting it is to complete the Pokedex and it makes a ton of game flaws. Poke Balls feel heavy in your hand, Pokemon react accordingly when you startle them, and Pokemon Alpha is everything the Nobles wanted. One of my favorite moments was when I was almost done exploring the first area, the Obsidian Fieldlands. I’ve captured Ponyta, fought the ferocious Shinx, and seen more Bidoofs than I thought one person could. I was ready to go to the Professor when night fell. As the sun went down and the game started to look pretty, Drifloon appeared. Fieldlands has been transformed. I immediately retracted my steps to catch all the nocturnal Pokemon and spent an hour exploring an area I thought I knew. A day/night cycle is hardly revolutionary, but watching nocturnal Pokemon appear before my eyes is undeniable.

That’s what Arceus has finally done: it’s doing things that other games did years ago, but that brings a sense of innovation to Pokemon. As a lifelong fan of the series, it’s been incredibly exciting to see Game Freak catch up, and even more exciting to roam freely on Hisui with Poke Balls in my pocket and monsters all over the place. everywhere I look, yet the series still lags behind its competitors.

But Pokemon Legends: Arceus is proof that Pokemon can evolve. It took 25 years but this is like the first real development of the series; a much larger change than going from 2D to 3D. Even so, it feels like an awkward mid-evolution, as the graphics, voice acting, and boss fights all need serious work. If this is the path the series is going down, then I can’t wait for it to grow back because let’s face it, nobody remembers Quilava anymore.

Pokemon Legends Arceus Review - Proof that Pokemon can Evolve Review Cards

Score: 3.5 / 5. A Nintendo Switch code was provided by the publisher for this review.

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