Pokémon Legends: Arceus — My Thoughts on the Upcoming Title

The new pokémon title, coming to Nintendo Switch in January 2022, got a new trailer yesterday (8/18/21), which gave the fans a closer look at what the game is going to be like. And allow me to say: it looks leaps and bounds better than it did when it was announced back in February. The animations were far more polished this time around, and the framerate looked solid.

Now, with that small amount of background, I’d like to go over some subjects being talked about in the community, as well as give my thoughts on what this title seems to be offering upon release. So, let’s get to it.

The first thing I want to address is the current talks in the community about the graphics shown in the trailer. Some think it looks like a step up from Sword and Shield and others seem unhappy with what the game is showing off.

My opinion is that GameFreak has vastly improved its presentation since Sword and Shield, and I’m happy to see it. To me, these games already look gorgeous and I never need games to be pushing systems to their graphical limits to enjoy new games. As someone who enjoys games from all eras, graphics don’t add anything for me, but rather gameplay does. I’m just glad that GameFreak has shown improvement in the years since Gen 8’s release.

The next thing I want to talk about is the open world design of Legends: Arceus and how that expands the series in a direction that was inevitable. People have said the game looks like it could be taking a page from Nintendo’s other title: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. To that, I say this: please make sure that the world is justified in its size.

Allow me to elaborate. Breath of the Wild, while a good game, has a massive world that can feel tediously large at times with rewards that rarely feel like a proper payoff for what the player has done. At least, that’s my experience. So, if the game is going to have an expansive world, give the players something to do in every bit of it. Don’t leave things pointlessly empty just for scale. A fully open world pokémon game is a dream come true to so many and I’d rather it not feel lackluster in the long run.

Another subject of curiosity and excitement in the community is the battle system, which is a mix of Action RPG gameplay and traditional Turn-based combat when you have a pokémon out. Personally, I like the idea that the trainer has more tangible effects on the world, including being attacked by enraged pokémon in this title. The ability to stealthily catch wild pokémon is also a welcome addition, as it adds some variety to the now old and mostly unchanged formula.

Now, from what I can tell from the trailer, the shift from action to turn-based styles in combat encounters is fairly smooth, seamlessly transitioning from one type to the other. If that’s true, I think the system is going to be a real hit with long-time fans and newcomers alike. I, for one, am very excited to play it and find out myself.

The last subject I’d like to cover is that of regional variants of existing pokémon, which is becoming the standard for new titles in the series. The trailer showed a regional variant of Growlithe, which is (according to the website) a Fire/Rock type, plus a variant of Braviary which is Flying/Psychic.

We also got a look at two new evolutions for Basculin and Stantler with Basculegion and Wyrdeer respectively, which look like the game’s transportation pokémon this time around.

I still love how the games continue to expand on the pokémon we’ve already had for a long time and these additions are no exception. Hell, the Growlithe variant is already viral in the community for being so adorable.

While not really breaking news, I’d like to mention that we’re going to get ancestors of characters from Diamond and Pearl as prominent individuals in the story and I really like the idea of that. This concept even includes Galaxy Team, run by an ancestor of Cyrus, which seems to be the team the player character will be working with. I’m excited to find out how the narrative of Legends: Arceus will tie into the lore of Diamond and Pearl.

As someone who’s played and enjoyed every entry in the pokémon series, both main and side games, I am really looking forward for this title to come out. While some fans seem cautious or even disappointed, I think we’ll see some real innovation come to the series, which would be a first in quite some time. I’m glad GameFreak is venturing out of their comfort zone and giving something new a go. I wish them all the best moving forward and you can bet I’ll be watching progress closely from here on out.

For those of you who haven’t seen the trailer yet, but are interested, here’s a convenient video:

I hope you all have a wonderful day. Stay safe out there!

A pop-journalist in her twenty-somethings that engulfs herself in nerd culture, such as anime, tabletop gaming, and video gaming.