Pokemon Legends: Arceus has only been out for two weeks, but some fans already consider it the best Pokemon game from the Switch era and arguably one of the best in the franchise. Thanks to a complete overhaul of the traditional formula, Legends: Arceus offers a real challenge to veteran fans while acting as an irresistible hook for new players.
Indeed, the game introduces many new mechanics which, combined with bold narrative and stylistic choices, offer a new vision of Pokemon. And while Legends: Arceus is by no means perfect, it still marks a decisive improvement over some of the more recent entries in the franchise.
A focus on traditions and world-building
Mythical and Legendary Pokémon have some of the richest lore in the franchise. They’re some of the biggest selling points of any new game, and their origin and vast powers are usually behind some of the most pivotal moments in the story. However, despite the huge opportunities the Pokemon world presents, almost all of the lore goes into the Pokemon and not the region itself.
That everything changes with Pokemon Legends: Arceus. The very nature of the game means that the characters are actively living the story of the Pokémon world, even writing it. World-building takes center stage as players build a rich narrative that bridges many of the gaps between Hisui and Sinnoh.
Regional forms are one of the franchise’s most inspired choices in recent years. They’re the perfect way to revitalize old or forgettable mons and reintroduce them to the ever-evolving franchise. However, Pokemon Legends: Arceus introduces yet another brilliant gimmick with prehistoric shapes.
Pokemon like Basculegion or Kleavor represent a whole new class of monsters, allowing designers to step out of their comfort zone and focus more on the “monster” than the “pocket”. Plus, these prehistoric Pokemon further expand the lore of the franchise; Fossil Pokemon have always been a thing, but experiencing them in their natural habitat in their prime is a new and incredibly promising angle.
On Legends: Arceus“, fans around the world savored and celebrated under a single chant: “no more hand grip!” The game features a sprawling open world, and players are welcome to explore it as they see fit. Of course, they can follow the instructions of the NPCs and fight the Noble Pokémon to get to the next area, but they can also take their time before advancing the plot and spending hours exploring every corner of Hisui.
Like the best open-world RPGs, Pokemon Legends: Arceus offers a huge world full of items, Easter eggs, tasks and, of course, Pokémon. Fans on Twitter like to share experiences of tripping over shinies while exploring or battling the dangerously wild Pokémon that appear in space-time warps. All of this chatter helps keep the franchise alive and more relevant than ever, all under an undeniable air of positivity.
Challenging boss fights
The Most Memorable Mainline Boss Battles Pokemon games took place during the first four generations.
Fortunately, Pokemon Legends: Arceus features a bunch of incredibly difficult bosses that will make even the most experienced players sweat. Noble Pokémon like Arcanine and Voltorb and opponents like Volo and Commander Kamado are some of the toughest battles in any Pokémon game. The piece de resistance, of course, is the titular my, the Pokemon god himself, Arceus, whose battle is one players won’t soon forget.
Pokémon in the overworld
Pokemon: Let’s Go introduced Pokémon to the outside world, finally bringing a crucial element to the games. Players loved seeing their favorite mons running through tall grass or flying through the sky above. The choice also enhanced the gameplay experience by making the world more inviting and captivating.
Legends: Arceus up the ante and create a world where Pokémon dominate, not humans. The main characters are true intruders, invading untouched territory that belongs entirely to Pokémon. It’s a fascinating new approach that adds yet another layer to the franchise, taking it into a more mature space while opening up exciting new possibilities.
Winning back the hearts of veteran gamers
Long duration Pokemon players feel like kids again while playing Legends: Arceus. It’s not just the franchise’s new direction or the surprisingly difficult new combat mechanics; it’s not just the boss battles or the prospect of literally catching them all.
What Pokemon Legends: Arceus is so effective in regaining a sense of admiration that many veteran players have lost along the way. Like the scene in Ratatouille where Ego reconnects with his childhood by tasting Remy’s food, Legends: Arceus proves that the twenty-six-year-old franchise can still surprise its loyal followers, delivering the same hype and wonder as when it was released in 1996. Not all IPs can achieve this, but again, Pokemon has always been one of a kind.
The longest, Pokemon the games had a trademark visual style. Things changed with the switch to 3D from Gen VI, marking one of the franchise’s first steps towards modernization. By the time the Switch entries arrived, fans agreed that there was no logical reason for Pokemon forever clinging to outdated visual styles, especially given the capabilities of the Switch.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus features a bold new visual style reminiscent of breath of the wild. It’s nowhere near as polished as the visuals of this game, but it’s a step in the right direction and ultimate proof that Game Freak is actively exploring new alternatives to showcase future games in the series.
Bold narrative changes
Previous Pokemon the games followed a very firm and familiar structure that didn’t leave much room for experimentation. The Gym System grabbed players’ hands and wouldn’t let go, getting them through the usual situations expected of the franchise. As mentioned earlier, much of the lore has gone to Pokemon, and the story has mostly focused on defeating the evil team, capturing legendary box-art, and becoming the champion.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus retains some of those familiar beats, but introduces a host of dramatic narrative changes that provide a refreshing story arc. There’s time travel, a mysterious hole in the sky, and a deity working behind the scenes, seemingly manipulating every event. The story is flawed but ambitious, something fans actively welcome. And although not everything works out, it is undeniable that Legends: Arceus is the best Pokemon game for a long time.
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