MISHAWAKA – Pokémon Legends Arceus has finally released to vehemently varied reviews.
There comes a time in every popular game’s life where the developers decide to go the route of the massive-open-world, make-your-own-fun, RPG-esque reboot. At least, that is the case in most Nintendo series: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Kirby the Forgotten Land, and now, Pokémon Legends Arceus. This Pokémon game sees your character dropped out of a rift in the sky that leads from the modern world into an ancient region of the Pokémon world called Hisui. After a brief pow-wow with the Poké-God itself, you are given a smartphone that can generously be described as ostentatious and the second-ever introduction to Pokémon that was neither derivative nor obsolete.
It is roughly five minutes from faceplanting in some comfortable-looking sand to learning to use the oldest Poké-balls to date, and that is something that I appreciate, as some games, like Diamond and Pearl, force the player through sequences nearly twice as long and zero times as fun before you are given your famous red-and-white capsules. The capture system also underwent a major glow-up in Legends Arceus: instead of being trapped into a one-on-one with another Pokémon, beating them within an inch of consciousness, and paralyzing or poisoning them, your character and the Pokémon are freely roaming around the environment, allowing the player to begin to hurl their Poké-balls before the Pokémon even sees them.
The catch rates in this game now have an extra factor: aggressive Pokémon are more likely to break out and initiate combat, which progresses similarly to previous titles, save for retaining complete control over your trainer throughout the fight. The trainer can run, dive, throw Poké-balls, and order the Pokémon around simultaneously, allowing for some refreshing freedom in battle. The point to catching all these Pokémon, aside from getting some ridiculously cute creatures to join your crack squad of animal assassins, is helping to assemble the Pokédex, which has yet to be created at this time. The game stresses just how little people know about Pokémon, making everything seem like the fresh and exciting adventures of a Poké-pioneer.
The aim of the game as a whole sprouts from this. As you travel across the region, plagued by storms, you’ll collect more Pokémon, assembling the components of a Pokédex, and meeting with other clans. These clans will point you towards Noble Pokémon, which are of special note due to their strength and size. Many of the clans also treat the Noble Pokémon like the name implies: the first Noble Pokémon you meet has a shaman/warden watching over them, treating it with the sort of reverence characteristic of ancient religions. The Nobles are essentially the boss fights of this game, and you will have to alternate between using your Pokémon to fight them and throwing up your own dukes. After all, what kind of trainer would you be if you did not jump into danger alongside your partners?
This game is fairly new, hence why this is not as definitive as some of my other reviews, but I am looking to play a great deal of it. The concept of fighting Pokémon as a trainer, or alongside your Pokémon is ridiculously interesting, and I have no doubt it will make for some entertaining scenarios.