Arceus review – a new franchise experience

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  • Released on January 28, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the latest Nintendo Switch exclusive.
  • The game features exploration and survival like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
  • Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a transformative step for future Pokémon games, despite some flaws.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is Nintendo publisher and developer Game Freak The latest great game for the Switch, reimagines the gameplay of the popular franchise but still captures the nostalgia that has made Pokémon successful for over 25 years.

This new Pokémon game offers more action-oriented, open-world gameplay with an emphasis on exploration that is deeply reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, another Nintendo exclusive that has sold over 25 million copies since 2017. Previous Pokémon games On the Switch it stayed close to the traditional format of Pokémon games, sending players on a series of turn-based monster battles across different cities with the use of fixed camera angles and limited environments similar to a traditional role-playing game.

As someone who’s played every generation of Pokémon games dating back to 1998, Pokémon Legends: Arceus feels like a transformative step for the Pokémon series I’ve been waiting for, blending immersive open-world exploration with the classic turn-based battle system. known b.

However, the game lacks some of the visual polish and presentation one would expect from a major console-exclusive title, particularly so late in the Switch’s lifecycle — and it’s a multibillion-dollar franchise.

Even if Pokémon Legends: Arceus is just the first step in a new direction for the series, the game’s new approach brings a welcome experience for new players and veterans. Pokémon Legends: Arceus looks like the first must-play game in 2022 for Nintendo Switch owners, and it’s worth the $60 price tag.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus sends players back in time to catch over 240 Pokémon.

The three starting Pokemon in Pokemon Legends Arceus.  Sendakil, Roulette and Oshot.

Pokemon Legends Arceus / Nintendo

Pokémon Legends: Breaks off from the timeline of traditional Pokémon games, Arceus sends the player character back in time to Hisui, an ancient version of what is known in current Pokémon games in the Sinnoh region. While Sinnoh is full of cities and Pokémon trainers, Hisu is dominated by wild Pokémon and humans live in small settlements.

Players start with a simple task; Capture and document every Pokémon in the Hisui area to help people learn about their surroundings. Just like the classic Pokémon games, you can choose from three starter Pokémon to act as your first partner, and add dozens of new Pokémon to your team of six monsters as you explore Hisui.

Unlike Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Pokémon Legends: Arceus does not have a single open world map. Instead, Hisui is divided into six large environments, or biomes, for players to explore. Each environment contains distinct areas such as forests and swamps where certain Pokemon live, and the game’s day and night cycle will affect the appearance of the Pokemon and when.

Players explore wild environments to capture Pokemon with stealth or combat tactics.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus

Pokemon Legends: Arceus / Nintendo

Players can use stealth to ambush and capture Pokémon without fighting, or they can use the traditional method to weaken the Pokémon in battle before capturing it. Pokémon Legends: Arceus does a good job of rewarding different play styles, offering different research missions based on catching lots of Pokémon with stealth and items, or fighting and evolving Pokémon to see certain moves in action.

Between expeditions to Hisui, players will visit the village of Jubilife – the city-state of this region, to take on new tasks and requests from the local city dwellers. This is where the game takes the rhythm of a classic role-playing game, giving players the opportunity to store items, organize their Pokemon, and get to know other Hisui characters.

The smaller environments and mission-based architecture in Pokémon Legends: Arceus prevent it from being a truly open world game like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but players still have a great deal of freedom to train their Pokémon team and explore Hisui by land, sea, and air With the help of a specific Pokemon.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus doesn’t have very great graphics, but the world still feels lively and immersive.

The trainer in Pokemon Legends Arceus, with Pikachu in the background

Pokemon Legends Arceus / Nintendo

The world of Pokémon Legends: Arceus feels lively and magical, thanks to the thoughtful placement of Pokémon and its distinctive designs, but the game does feel a bit lacking in terms of the overall visual presentation. Environments suffer from “pop-ups” where distant objects suddenly appear or experience a drastic shift in visual quality at the edge of the player’s line of sight. This means that a flying Pokémon will appear to float rather than flapping its wings when it is too far away, and some trees or mountains will lack detail and texture to get close.

These graphic issues, along with Pokémon Legends: Arceus completely lack voice acting, which makes the game feel less polished than the exclusive versions we see from Nintendo competitors, such as Sony and Microsoft. Pokémon Legends: Arceus has made its environments seem immersive by simulating the Pokémon world, but other Switch games, such as Monster Hunter Rise and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, offer much better visual quality in similar open environments.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a great starting point for the future of Pokémon gaming.

Pokemon Legends Arceus trainer riding a Pokemon Wyrdeer

Pokemon Legends Arceus / Nintendo

Despite the visual shortcomings, over 6 million players have purchased Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and there’s plenty to enjoy with just over 240 Pokémon to capture and a story campaign that lasts about 20 hours.

Five years into Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Pokémon Legends: Arceus doesn’t feel quite as ambitious, but it does an excellent job of combining action and real exploration without losing the spirit of classic Pokémon games.

We hope that the developers at Game Freak can build on the strengths of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, improve the visual quality, and showcase the future sequel to create a more immersive experience in the next Pokémon game, and it will certainly be exciting to see the open-world gameplay in Legends: Arceus enter the main series of games. Pokémon.

bottom line

Pokémon Legends: Arceus looks like the first Switch game of the year that you should play, which makes it well worth the $60 asking price. This is an excellent starting point for players who have no prior knowledge of Pokemon, and those who have played a few of the old role-playing adventures will find a new one.

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