Let me take you back in time to 1998. My mother and I walk into an electronics store, and I thought to myself “Yes! Finally, I will get a Gameboy.” My mother tells me to go look around the store for a minute. I looked everywhere for a Gameboy, but I didn’t see one. After a little while my mother crouches down and says: “Son, I know you want a Gameboy but we’re buying a computer today”. I was livid. I wanted to play Pokémon like my friends at school were doing.
The store clerk said to me that I could play games on the computer, that I shouldn’t be sad as it was a very impressive machine. Little did I know that my old dial-up PC was going to change my life in more ways than one. The following year, after getting familiarized with the computer and knowing my way around the internet, I downloaded Pokémon Yellow along with an emulator. My journey as a Pokémon master started at that very instant.
I have played every single installment of the franchise. Side games included. I collected the TCG cards when they first came out (dating myself here). I had toys, went to the movies, had friends over to play as we were Pokémon trainers, etc. Catch my drift yet? I’m a huge fan of the franchise. As the years went by, even though I would play every game released, it started to feel stale.
I felt as if the franchise had lost momentum, recycling the old formula, updating the graphics here and there, adding new mechanics and types every so often but it didn’t feel enough to me. I lost interest after Black and White. I stopped playing the game, watching the anime, and playing the TCG. I played about 10 minutes of Sun and Moon before I put it back in the case never to play it again.
When Sword and Shield came out, I was skeptical. I tried it anyway and thought to myself “Ok, this is a step in the right direction but still… this is not it. Not yet.” I didn’t download the DLCs or even play the post-game storyline. I didn’t feel connected. Last year, Pokémon Unite was released. As a big fan of MOBAs, I decided to give it a try. Although I really enjoyed it, the game is still quite repetitive due to the lack of characters, maps, and game modes. I log in every now and then, but not nearly as much as I used to.
But then, I saw the trailer for Pokémon Legends: Arceus. I was immediately intrigued. This is what I’ve always wanted. An (almost) open-world Pokémon RPG that has no direct linear path (although the main storyline is present), side quests, real-time interactions with the Pokémon, and the best part of it all: no more fearing the grass patches. The trailer had me excited about the possibilities. I just needed to play it.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a Leap in the Right Direction
Without stuttering, thinking twice, deleting and re-writing this sentence repeatedly, I can confidently say, without a shadow of a doubt, that Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the BEST game of this franchise. This is the BEST game of the franchise. Yes, I meant to type that twice. This game is incredible. I’ve laughed, I’ve jumped out of my seat, I’ve gasped, I’ve cursed, and I’ve RAN FOR MY LIFE while playing this game.
Remember the first sentence of this article? Well, going back in time is exactly what is happening to your character in this installment of the game. A rift in space/time has opened, transferring you to a feudal Sinnoh called Hisui. You were selected by Arceus itself, the God of all Pokémon, to travel back in time to witness this gorgeous land where, arguably, the best region of any game started. Although I do love the first three generations, Sinnoh is also up there. Anything after that falls severely short in terms of how cool and nostalgic it feels in comparison.
Seeing the land in this state, with literally nothing apart from the main village and small settlements is a breath of fresh air. Wild Pokémon roam around without a care. Some even come up to your feet to check you out, much like a wild yet friendly animal would do. Some will look at you and will want to completely tear your head from your body, which is an experience that is both scary and exhilarating.
The best part of it all is how this game takes a region in which I’ve spent hundreds of hours before, in Diamond/Pearl, feels completely new. I’m walking around these spaces literally just exploring the land. Nothing else. Every now and then I will come across a Pokémon that will make me smile making me *want* to capture it. Yes, even the Bidoofs.
Encountering the frenzied Pokémon can be quite scary and quite challenging, especially if you’re not prepared for the task. These enraged versions are stronger and bigger than their normal counterparts, making it fun to capture them, and then compare them to the regular versions you see in the wild. I have a 7’4″ Mr.Mime. I literally laughed out loud sending out two Mr. Mimes side by side, being in awe about their size difference. Speaking of battling, the new combat system is like the old versions.
There is a change, however. The addition of agile and strong type attacks adds a new dimension to the game. You actually can have three versions of the same move, adding depth to battling, and new strategies while battling. This is something I’ve always wanted Pokémon games to incorporate. It felt like I was playing Digimon games but with Pokémon (and that’s a good thing).
There is a rest system as well as an item crafting system. In other words, you can roam around at any time of the day (in-game), and you can make Pokéballs under a tree while your target literally walks around you without a clue it’s about to become part of your team. Another cool and interesting addition to the game is the disturbances to space/time that will happen at random areas. A warning will pop on-screen letting you know one is about to happen. That is when I hop on my Wyrdeer and ride towards the dome-like disturbance. Oh, by the way, riding Pokémon in the world is an entirely different experience.
Once you arrive at this concentrated black hole-like storm, random creatures will suddenly appear. They will often be evolved forms of the Pokémon in the area, rare Pokémon of the area, or just straight-up final evolutions of certain creatures that will attack you without an ounce of mercy. Pro tip: just crouch and hide in the grass if you want to capture some of these Pokémon quietly. Items will also spawn across this area so be sure to check them out.
I don’t want to give away any plot spoilers, but you will see characters that are the ancestors of famous characters that you’ve already encountered playing Diamond and Pearl. You will see the clans at their very beginning, trying to figure out how to co-exist and how to navigate this wild land. Noble Pokémon is this game’s version of a gym leader. Once you defeat them, you get their seal stamped on your gamecard. While you complete the Pokédex and do side missions, your character will rise through the ranks which unlocks certain perks like having higher-level Pokémon obey your commands.
The final verdict for Pokémon Legends Arceus is a 9/10 with a quality seal of approval. There are certain issues that need to be addressed in future games like improving the graphics, perhaps adding voice acting, more Pokémon, and providing just a little more variety to the spawn areas. Just like installments the Let’s Go, Pikachu! And X and Y versions, I believe this game is an introduction to a brand-new era. I sincerely hope that every main storyline game from now on will be in this style.
Please, make the upcoming generation 9 games in this style. We’re begging you. Leave the chibi-like graphics for fun remakes like Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Keep the Let’s Go, (insert pokemon here) formula for a family-friendly game that will serve its purpose. It’s time to move on. It’s time to evolve. I believe that Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the next step in the evolution of Pokémon, and one that is here to stay.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is out now exclusively on Nintendo Switch.
What did you think of the game? Do you share the same opinions as I do? What are your concerns? Don’t forget to share this article with anyone that might be skeptical about the time and encourage them to give it a try. Follow our social media pages as we are now more focused and connected with Pokémon. We are always bringing exclusives of all kinds, so make sure to check back with us often. Until next time.