Pokémon Legends: Arceus could well be the Pokémon adventure we've all been waiting for. Announced as part of the special 25th anniversary Pokémon celebrations, developer Game Freak describes Pokémon Legends: Arceus as a "pre-make" set in a long-gone era hundreds of years before concepts like Pokémon trainers and Gym battles even existed. In other words, this is a major departure for the long-running series.
Set in an ancient version of the Sinnoh region, which players first explored in the 2004 Nintendo DS games Pokémon Diamond & Pearl, Pokémon Legends: Arceus tasks players with exploring the world. Here, the vast majority of Pokémon still roam wild and free. It's up to the player to navigate the region's numerous environments, meet new Pokémon, and complete the first Pokédex.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus / Credit: Game Freak
"Pokémon Legends: Arceus represents a new approach for the Pokémon video game series," explained Takato Utsunomiya, chief operating officer of The Pokémon Company last week. "Development is in full swing at Game Freak, with the aim to deliver a gaming experience that delivers new ground for the Pokémon series."
Players looking for a more traditional Pokémon experience will be glad to know that straight up remakes of Diamond & Pearl - Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl - are set to release in late 2021.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus currently has a vague release date window of early 2022, although it's important to remember that this could change. Game Freak has never made a game of this scale, and it's no secret that the pandemic has had a significant impact on video game development around the world. No doubt Game Freak will want to take its time and get this right, and the vast majority of Pokémon fans out there support that.
Not at the moment, although I appreciate that enthusiasm. Pokémon Legends: Arceus won't be out until at least early 2022, so don't expect any details on pricing or official pre-orders for a while yet. For now, you can register your interest on the official Nintendo website and receive emails as soon as there are any updates on pre-orders to share.
There's only one for Pokémon Legends: Arceus trailer right now, and it doesn't give a ton away. You can see it below:
The exact details of the story behind Pokémon Legends: Arceus is unclear right now, but we know some stuff. The most important thing is that this is clearly going to be the oldest Pokémon story ever told.
As detailed over on the game's website, our adventure "unfolds in a long-gone era, before ideas such as being a Pokémon Trainer or having a Pokémon League even existed." Making use of crude wooden Poké Balls, players will explore an ancient version of Sinnoh set hundreds of years before the events of Diamond & Pearl, and many years before concepts like Pokémon trainers and Pokémon Leagues were a thing. Let's hope our main character isn't the one who came up with the idea of enslaving animals to make them fight, eh?
Of course the name Pokémon Legends: Arceus also provides us with a fairly hefty clue. Fans of the franchise will be aware that Arceus is in fact a mythical Pokémon believed to pre-date the universe itself. It's essentially the Pokémon world's equivalent of God, as a number of creation myths exist around Arceus. I would suspect that Pokémon Legends: Arceus will dig into how some of these myths came to be.
While brief, the above trailer does give us a peek at some early gameplay for Pokémon Legends: Arceus. There's a real The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild vibe to the game that I'm particularly enjoying. Players will explore plenty of wipe open spaces, presumably as part of a much larger open world, as they meet all kinds of Pokémon in the forests, fields, caves, and mountains of Sinnoh.
Like most Pokémon games, Pokémon Legends: Arceus will give players a choice of three starter Pokémon before they set off on their journey. This time, it's a curious mix of monsters from previous generations. Get thinking now about whether you'll take the grass-type Rowlett, the fire-type Cyndaquil, or the water type Oshawott. Nobody is picking Oshawott.
The official website explains that catching Pokémon is a little different to how it is in the mainline RPGs. Players will have to observe Pokémon to learn their behaviour, before carefully sneaking up, aiming a Poké Ball, and letting it fly in the direction of their desired target. Alternatively, if you need to weaken a Pokémon first, you can throw a ball containing one of your own ally Pokémon at a target, which will seamlessly initiate something resembling a traditional battle there and then.
It seems the brunt of the game will revolve around exploring the world and catching Pokémon in this manner, although we'd be slightly surprised if something resembling Gyms and/or traditional trainer battles didn't find some way into the gameplay.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is being developed by Game Freak, the same studio behind all of the core RPGs from Red & Blue to Sword & Shield . It's important to note that Pokémon Legends: Arceus is not the ninth-generation RPG, but more of a step sideways for the franchise. No doubt it's a sideways step that will have massive ramifications on all future games.
Well, it certainly looks like an open-world game, doesn't it? The trailer almost deliberately evokes The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild., showing off massive open spaces filled with Pokémon. Neither Nintendo nor Game Freak has yet to use the term "open-world", but this doesn't mean that this version of Sinnoh isn't one big interconnected mass of land that can be explored freely. Basically, we'll all be very surprised if Pokémon Legends: Arceus isn't an open-world game in the most literal sense.
All kinds of stuff, really, It's clear to see that Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a massive leap forward for the long-running series. Based on the brief snippet of gameplay we've seen, it looks like a lot of the things we've been dying to see in a Pokémon game for years now will feature, specifically a much larger open world and Pokémon battles that occur seamlessly within that world.
Beyond that, it's fair to say that this is one game that's going to come with a huge amount of expectation from all corners. Different fans will want different things from Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Personally, I'd love a Pokémon game with the freedom to really explore. Give me the ability to visit towns, trainers, and Gyms (assuming they have some kind of equivalent) in any order I want. Let me climb to the top of a mountain, not because the game has forced me down a path to the top of that mountain, but because I have the freedom to clamber up there just to see what I can find. A game that rewards exploration and curiosity with fascinating new areas, stunning vistas, and rare Pokémon to catch. That, more than anything, is what I want to see from Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
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