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If 'Pokémon Legends: Arceus' Isn’t Great, Fans Will Abandon The Games

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If 'Pokémon Legends: Arceus' Isn’t Great, Fans Will Abandon The Games

The recent mainline Pokémon games have been underwhelming for many of us. The most ardent fans will argue that Pokémon Sword & Shield deserve to be praised, and that Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are solid remakes. However, the majority of players I’ve spoken to feel the series has gotten away from the heights of its heyday.

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From missing features in BD&SP, to the protagonist being sidelined during the plot of Sw&Sh, there’s been a dearth of quality since 2019, at least. There have been innovations, of course, like the Wild Area in the first Switch games, which evolved the multiplayer experience, but no new feature made up for the lack in other areas.

See the trailer for Pokémon Legends: Arceus here

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The way the campaign in Pokémon Shield kept railroading me into the gym challenge instead of fighting Team Yell was infuriating. I mean, a Pokémon game where we don’t get to save the day throughout our journey? Who thought that was a good idea? I know there’s the Sordward & Shielbert stuff later on, but by that point it feels too little, too late. 

Then we have the issue of Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. I’m about 30 hours in and I’m done with the Pearl remake. I beat the League, including Cynthia’s godlike Garchomp, and made it to the Fight Area, but I don’t have the desire to go any further. 

Pokémon Legends: Arceus / Credit: Nintendo / The Pokémon Company
Pokémon Legends: Arceus / Credit: Nintendo / The Pokémon Company
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It’s not a bad game by any stretch, but it feels like it could’ve been so much more. The Underground’s new areas are fun, and having a Pokémon follow you around is always welcome, but the whole experience feels tired. I say this as a fan who has played every generation, so it’s probably natural that I’m starting to tire of it, right?

The thing is, plenty of video game series have lasted as long as Pokémon, if not longer. Some of them have had ropey moments, sure. The Legend of Zelda franchise struggled with the release of Skyward Sword, with many players lamenting its control scheme and overtly linear experience. 

Pokémon Legends: Arceus / Credit: Nintendo / The Pokémon Company
Pokémon Legends: Arceus / Credit: Nintendo / The Pokémon Company
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The thing is, Zelda came back from that experience by eventually delivering Breath of the Wild, a game so good that it’s ranked as our Greatest Game of All Time, and it’s influenced

countless games ever since. Which leads us to January 2022’s hotly anticipated Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Set in a Sinnoh from long ago, Arceus looks to be a departure from what we know and associate with the mainline Pokémon games. It’s not really a typical Pokémon title, which is the main reason I’m so keen to play it. What better remedy is there for a tired franchise than big change?

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Pokémon Legends: Arceus / Credit: Nintendo / The Pokémon Company
Pokémon Legends: Arceus / Credit: Nintendo / The Pokémon Company

The idea of battling against Pokémon in a harsh, largely unsettled environment is a dream come true. The huge landscapes from the trailers bring to mind the 3D Pokémon experience I dreamed of as a child, only even cooler by going back to the past and shaking up what we’re used to from the franchise. 

The question here is can The Pokémon Company deliver on the premise? Can they make a game that feels as magical as their earlier work while evolving the experience to a new height, just like BOTW did for the Zelda series? 

Pokémon Legends: Arceus / Credit: Nintendo / The Pokémon Company
Pokémon Legends: Arceus / Credit: Nintendo / The Pokémon Company

I hope so, I really do, because if not then I’m done with Pokémon games. I can’t take the same old experience dressed up under a new name any longer. I won’t buy into the same thing again and again now because we’ve had it. I want what Zelda has in Breath of the Wild: a game that feels like the first title but bigger and more daring than anything the series has produced before. 

Featured Image Credit: Nintendo / The Pokémon Company

Topics: Opinion, Pokemon, Nintendo Switch

James Daly
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