Delve into our review of the latest Pokémon installment. Pokémon Legends: Arceus creates an open world experience that allows players to travel back in time. At this stage in history Pokémon were being discovered in their droves and there is an element of fear from the humans in the villages you encounter. With new evolutions and new forms for Pokémon, its no wonder its got the fandom inherently excited! Lets discuss and give the game a score from VIBE.
Setting the Story
The story is set in the Hisui region, similar to that of feudal Japan, prior to any sort of technological modernization. Hisui is Sinnoh but many years in the past. This era is an era of uncertainty and fear surrounding Pokémon, a far cry from previous games when Pokémon were revered, loved, and respected. The map of the Hisui region boasts several different biomes with an abundance of Pokémon.
There is a space time rift present on top one of the region’s mountains. The player is discovered by Professor Laventon falling out of this rift. No one in the region has explored the rift and they are highly uncertain about the circumstances around it. So when the player comes crashing out, of course it raises a few eyebrows.
The game starts with some slight customization. Choosing your gender will depend on which story character joins you on your journey. I selected a female protagonist, thus resulting in Rei (pictured below) turning up to help guide me through my journey. Rei is your fellow team member and will be there at several story points throughout the game. Rei ensures that the player receives an adequate tutorial and is reminded of the games overarching objective.
The main goal of the story is to traverse and survey the region of Hisui. The character will eventually meet the leaders of the Diamond and Pearl clans. Alongside all of this is the mystery of Arceus, and player must work to uncover the secret that Arceus poses.
Gotta Catch’em All
The aim of every Pokémon game is usually to “catch’em all”, but how exactly does the gameplay shape up? There were several aspects of the gameplay that were thoroughly enjoyable. PokéDex, battles, mounts, the semi open world and introduction of Alpha Pokémon.
The Ancient PokéDex
In game the player is tasked with gathering data for a paper Pokédex. Again, something different from the one players are familiar with. Beforehand, Pokémon would be collected by catching them. This new version of the PokéDex poses a new challenge for players. Their will be bonus tasks assigned to each Pokémon. For example, some may require the player to encounter them in a specific way. One of the first Pokémon are Starly, and the player is require to catch them without startling them by hiding in the long grass. This is an interesting and unique addition to compiling the Pokédex, resulting in a fresh approach.
Cue Original Pokémon Battle Music
Pokémon battles are back and have received a fresh overhaul. The battles are no longer focussed on one action per turn. Pokemon can unleash several attacks at once, this is determined by their stats and buffs. This poses a new difficulty element for players. Additionally, Agile and Strong style are two new features to the game. Agile makes the Pokémon moves weaker but can help the Pokémon move faster in the turn order. Strong style is the opposite and causes increased damage but slower in the turn order, which leaves the player having to plan extra for more strategy.
Traveling the World in Style
Wyrdeer, Basculegion, Ursaluna and Hisuian Braviary are Pokémon throughout the world that can be utilized as mounts. The map is vast and, like predecessors to this Pokémon game, make sense they would have some kind mounts to help the player get around. Wyrdeer allows for fast ground travel, Basculegion for water travel, Ursaluna is a treasure detector, and Hisuian Braviary helps the player navigate the skies.
Delivery of a Semi Open World
The general consensus is that games like Breath of the Wild was the blueprint for this Pokémon game. However, the semi open world creates sprawling and open areas allowing for hours of exploration. In addition to the different areas of the game, there are pockets of mysteries just waiting to be discovered. Gather your favorite Pokémon and I’m sure you will be caught up in the adventure.
I’m the Alpha
The introduction of Alpha Pokémon, created an exciting new enemy type. Featured above is an Alpha Kricketune. The Alpha Pokémon are stronger and may have abilities that wouldn’t necessary be common for that Pokémon. Capturing an Alpha Pokémon is no easy feat and requires the player to be prepared skill wise and strategy wise.
When a player captures an Alpha Pokémon and reports the findings back to the professor, you receive bonus money and items. Each area has a variety of Alpha Pokémon and it’s always interesting to see them wandering the map with their increased size.
Pokémon Fans Wanted This to be Perfect
Pokémon Legends: Arceus was a sought after title from the moment it was announced. However, like with most games there are some drawbacks that keep it from being awarded a 10/10.
I Kept Running Out of Space!
Despite an in game purchase that allows you to expand your inventory, it felt difficult to utilize the expansion. Countless times my inventory struggled. There is just too much to collect in this game. Items are easily obtainable leading to being over saturated in the inventory. This often leaves the player having to discard perfectly good items to make space.
Pokémon storage was no better since some entries to the Pokédex require multiple captures of the same Pokémon. This resulted in an abundance of Pokémon in the players storage. The game didn’t give the option for a mass release of these Pokémon until four boxes had been filled. Mass release early on would have left room for various other Pokémon and not left the player worrying about how to fill it.
The dreaded grind. Games that involving grinding sometimes create a lack luster effect, and the general consensus with this game was there was too much grinding. The grinding comes in the form of maxing out the PokéDex tasks and leveling up Pokémon to take on various challenges.
Pokémon has always been considered as a game that involves somewhat tedious and relentless grinding, but when the player wants to get out and explore, grinding can dull the experience.
Overall, Pokémon Legends: Arceus walks away with a solid 8/10. This is based on the new aspects of game play introduced and fun factor. Yes, it has its limitations however, they don’t encompass the positive factors of the game. As always thanks for sticking with us for the review and check out Pokémon Legends: Arceus if you can. Let us know how you found it.
26, Indie Game connoisseur. Also a hamster mum, fiancée & working in the addiction field. Gaming and writing are my escape and comfort for when the world gets too much!
2 thoughts on “Feudal Japan Meets Pokemon: Pokemon Legends: Arceus”
Great review! I have not entertained the last few pokemon games because I feel they have went stale. This review has excites me and it is defo a game I am adding to the list
Thank you Euan! So glad this review could sway you! Enjoy when you do pick it up.