Pokemon Legends: Arceus

Pokemon Legends: Arceus

Ryan Larson

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is part of the eighth generation of the Pokémon video game series and serves as a prequel to Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (2006), their enhanced version Pokémon Platinum (2008), and their remakes of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (2021). The game was first announced as part of the Pokémon 25th Anniversary event in February 2021 and was released worldwide on 28 January 2022.

The game follows the protagonist, sent back through time, as they travel through the Hisui region based on the island of Hokkaido during early Japanese colonization. Centered around the exploration of the region’s several open areas populated with Pokémon, the game’s objective is to complete a roster of the region’s Pokémon, known as the Pokédex. Pokémon Legends: Arceus received generally favorable reviews and was a commercial success, selling 6.5 million copies in its first week of release.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is an action role-playing game that preserves the core gameplay of past entries in the mainline series. The player is able to roam freely across the game map, divided into five large areas of individual biomes. Each time the player enters such areas, they spawn in a camp, and can fast travel to other camps in the same area. Outside of traversing the landscape on foot, the player can unlock rideable Pokémon which can travel faster, swim across bodies of water, climb cliffs, or fly. In each area, Pokémon wander the landscape, being found in certain habitats, and will interact with both the player and their environments. Some will actively avoid the player while others act aggressively, and some exhibit other specific behaviors. A number of “Alpha” Pokémon – larger, more powerful versions of the Pokémon – can also be found in the areas. The multiple areas and the hub system instead of fully open-world gameplay resulted in reviewers comparing Legends: Arceus with the Monster Hunter series. Reviewers have also drawn comparisons between Pokémon Legends: Arceus and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, noting apparent similarities in both gameplay and art style.

Unlike in previous titles, the player character themselves can be attacked and harmed by wild Pokémon. If enough damage is taken, he or she will fall unconscious and reappear at the base camp. Players can capture wild Pokémon in the overworld without engaging in battle, though some must still be battled before being caught. Battles can be initiated by releasing captured Pokémon near a wild Pokémon. While the turn-based battle system of the prior titles are retained in the game, an additional feature is added which allows players to trade attack damage for more turns and vice versa. Outside standard battles, the game also introduces special boss battles where the player character has to dodge and attack powerful Pokémon, regular turn-based battles being included during the fights as opportunities to stun the bosses.

By battling, capturing, or engaging with other interactions with Pokémon, players obtain progress in completing their Pokédex entries. Players can also take on and complete side quests given by NPCs in the game. In total, the game featured 242 Pokémon on release, including 7 new species and 17 new iterations (“forms”) of existing Pokémon. At the start of the game, three starter Pokémon are available: Rowlet (from Sun and Moon), Cyndaquil (from Gold and Silver), and Oshawott (from Black and White). Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the first mainline game to feature starter Pokémon from different regions together. While players could trade Pokémon online, Legends: Arceus does not feature multiplayer battles, unlike previous installments in the series.