Review: Pokemon Legends: Arceus pushes players to work

Arceus has summoned you! You are chosen to take on a mission! It means going to the whole new Hisui region! What is your job? Well, obviously it means getting a job. Pokemon Legend: Arceus is Game Freak’s newest spin-off test. It asks what happens when the elements of the traditional formula are mixed with Pokemon GO and Monster Hunter. The results can sometimes feel a bit tedious and not quite what you expect, but it’s promising!

Almost immediately after (literally) dropping in Pokemon Legend: Arceus, the player is put to work. Professor Laventon, who studies the area, has lost three of its promoters. After easily catching them, everyone in this world realizes you have a remarkable trait. You are not afraid of Pokemon. To stay in Jubilife Village, you need to make yourself useful to the Galaxy Exploration Team. That means helping them achieve their goals. Specifically, you research Pokemon by fighting, catching, and interacting with them to complete the first Hisui Pokedex, which helps the Diamond and Pearl clans encourage their relationship with the Galaxy, and possibly fulfills one’s claim. number of people in the village.


Jubilife Village acts as your main hub in Pokemon Legend: Arceus. You have a house where you can store your belongings and change your clothes. The town, which can grow as the game goes on and completes the side quest requirements, has a shop, crafting station, where buying candies gives experience, a training area where you can learn moves transfers, a strawberry and crop farm, a hair salon, a clothing store, a trading station to buy special items and trade Pokemon, a meadow for the Pokemon you’ve caught, and a photography studio. When you’re ready to head out into the wild, you check in with a member of the guard to select an area to visit. In doing so, you can also choose one of the base camps you’ve unlocked as your starting point. The world map will also show if there are any outbreaks, which means a large number of Pokemon types will appear.

This means visiting biomes with all sorts of wild Pokemon. There are many large, open spaces. In many cases, there are not so many points of interest. A private beach can only be inhabited by three or four Globes at a time. A large swamp can only have two Hippowdons inside. Once I had access to Pokemon I could ride, I often relied on them to make it easier to travel across large regions. Especially, in the latter areas, things can get a bit repetitive. I didn’t expect the Aipoms family, the Bidoof family, the Drifloon family, and the Shinx family to have such a wide spread. It feels a lot like Monster Hunter! You choose where you are going. You are in that enclosed space. You see creatures in the field. They react to your avatar. You collect resources to craft items or complete quests. Camp becomes a place for you to organize your party, rest or store your belongings. In addition, if you want to leave, you must check-in with Professor Laventon to gauge your progress, see how much your actions earn, and increase your rank. (Your rank replaces the gym badge and determines if the Pokemon listens to you and you have access to certain recipes.)

Review: Pokemon Legends: Arceus pushes players to work

So how do you make yourself useful to the Survey Corps? Well, you meet a lot of Pokemon. To completely and 100% fill the Pokedex, you must tick enough items on the list of possible research activities to raise its level to 10. The obvious ways to increase that number are by fighting. and catch Pokemon. But there can also be other actions! For example, seeing it use a specific move in battle could be one. You can accomplish that by capturing one of your own, making sure the attack is in its player’s hands, and fighting it. (Pokemon don’t forget to move here. You can choose four active ones from the menu at any time.) Feeding them can enhance your knowledge. Even knocking a Burmy out of a tree works! At first, it was novel and interesting. I find that after a while it gets pretty tedious. Especially if it involves a rare Pokemon (the “child” Pokemon is the prime example).

You also take on the main story missions, which involve aiding the Diamond and Pearl clans. Although similar, they are not on the best terms with each other. Everyone worships and tends towards the “Noble” Pokemon in Hisui. Except some of them are going into a frenzy. Coincidentally, you are the only one who can appease them. The path to alleviating their burden has always involved meeting a Head and Noble to open up a new mode of transport, then another involving a more active battle. When one of those battles occurs, your avatar will run around an arena throwing Pokemon in vests until it is too exhausted to be fought by one of your Pokemon. After you do that, it stops temporarily so you can massage it with more parts. These range from interesting to unpleasant. But as the encounter in the Coronet Plateau taught me, you can retry or even continue the battle with your existing progress if you fall into battle, so there you go!


But the things you will probably do most often is play Pokemon Legend: Arceus as you wish Pokemon GO. To be clear, you can fight wild Pokemon. You may have to in many cases! Some species are hostile. Not to mention the high-level Space Time Distortion fields, the uncommon Pokemon will have a party of one to three wild characters attack you right in sight. (This becomes a fight where you send out one Pokemon to deal with multiple opponents.) But it can also save a lot of time to… try and catch things instead. You have a lot of tools to have more peaceful options. You can throw food to distract them. There are balls of mud and snow. You can craft or buy different types of Poke Balls for different situations. Have items to temporarily obscure your steps or appearance. If you take advantage of those, you can focus on one Pokemon, throw the ball over (preferably from behind) and hope for the best. It can even work on Alpha Pokemon, bigger, stronger and more aggressive than usual! It also means you’ll be using Pokemon you didn’t expect. My Gastrodon Ningguang has been with me for most of my journey because, well, I managed to catch something level 30 Pokemon when almost every other character in my party was around level 15.

Now, I mentioned that this is a title about what Pokemon spin-off can be. This means, it may not be perfect! I got a few bugs while playing. When a hostile Pokemon targets you, there will be an alert indicating that you are in danger. In my case, twice it didn’t go away! Every time that happens, I head to a base camp. It’s basically a designated “safe space”. After I finished my quest and took a break to heal my Pokemon and raise the time of day… the warning was still there! It’s annoying, because it means you’re hearing sounds, seeing icons, and being prevented from moving quickly. I also missed seeing Cyllene during an event segment, as the screen went completely gray. Perhaps the foggy weather effect could use a little tweaking, as once when I encountered it I couldn’t make out anything around me.


There are also some side quests that are not always thought out or become extremely tedious. For example, some claim Pokemon of extraordinary size. This means you’ll need to hope for a random Alpha encounter with one after supporting a mad Noble in the area it normally spawns, then catching it. Many quests also involve completed Pokedex items. That’s fine if it’s for an extremely ordinary character like Starly. It wouldn’t be as fun if it was a rarer character like Cherrim.

Review: Pokemon Legends: Arceus pushes players to work

Pokemon Legend: Arceus is a fairly experimental game and I’d say it’s mostly a success. There are some elements that are not quite there. This is true for most games, I suppose. It can start to look like a job when the novelty of bringing a Pokedex entry to “10” wears off. (I definitely feel like it’s being worked on and has been abandoned by the Crimson Mirelands for completeness.) But while it’s far from perfect, it shows a lot of promise! It’s a great first step to the future Pokemon what a spin-off might look like. It’s definitely fresher than some of the recent mainstream games and I feel more excited in each session than Pokemon Shield or Pokemon Brilliant Diamond. I wouldn’t say it’s the most important part or should be someone’s first experience with the series, but lovers Pokemon really should play it.

Pokemon Legend: Arceus available for Nintendo Switch. Review: Pokemon Legends: Arceus pushes players to work

Olly Dawes

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