‘Pokemon Legends: Arceus’ release date, gameplay, Hisui region and everything we know so far

Would you stand before God, in Sinnoh?

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is a big step for Game Freak and The Pokemon Company. It represents a departure from anything the studio has done to date and shakes up the decades-old Pokemon formula in a huge way. With this new game, we go back in time and see a Pokémon world older than we’ve ever seen in a mainline game – and we go open world, too.

Now that we’ve got the UK-inspired Pokemon Sword and Shield out of the way, Pokemon Legends: Arceus takes us back in time to a less technologically advanced Sinnoh region, where the player is asked to create the world’s very first Pokedex. The Wild Area in the aforementioned Sword and Shield is clearly an inspiration for the direction this game is taking, and Game Freak notes that this “bold new direction” for the franchise, wants to mix things up a little.

The studio wants to “honor past Pokemon games’ core gameplay while infusing new action and RPG elements”. But how successful will it be? We’ve collected everything you need to know about the title below, so you can make that call for yourself before the game hits Nintendo Switch in the future.

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Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Credit: The Pokémon Company

What is the Pokemon Legends: Arceus release date?

The Pokemon Legends: Arceus release date has been confirmed as January 28, 2022. Initially, Nintendo and The Pokemon Company merely gave the game an ‘early 2022’ launch window. A Twitter update later gave us a more specific window.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus will cost $59.99 upon release, and pre-orders for the title are open now on the Nintendo eShop.

If the recent information isn’t enough for you, it seems we’re going to hear even more about the game ahead of its launch next year. In an interview with GamesBeat, JC Smith (senior director of consumer marketing at The Pokemon Company) said:

“We have a robust rollout, but not a lot that I can share at this time. But the team has a lot of great things to share, and you’ll be hearing from us soon.”

Pokemon Legends: Arceus gameplay

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As per a note on the game’s own website, Pokemon Legends: Arceus will have “new action and RPG elements”, that will task players with a quest to “catch, survey and research wild Pokemon in a long-gone era of the Sinnoh region”.

If you’re a fan of Legendary Pokemon and beings comparable to gods, you’ll be pleased to learn that the eponymous Arceus is likely to take a front-row seat in this adventure. Another note on the site says that “Arceus is said to have shaped all there is in this world”. expect run-ins and plot beats based around this mighty creature, then.

You will be exploring a Sinnoh long since forgotten, as The Pokemon Company bills this game “a tale from a long, long time ago, when the Sinnoh region was still only a vast wilderness.” If you’re expecting Pokemon game staples, you can forget it – this game is set “before ideas such as being a Pokemon Trainer or having a Pokemon League even existed”.

From the gameplay trailers we’ve seen so far, it looks like battles will take place in the open world, and you will be able to see various Pokemon in the field (similarly to Pokemon Sword and Shield‘s Wild Area) and you can seamlessly move from battle to exploration as you progress into the wilds of Sinnoh.

You will be able to catch Pokemon in the wild by using the environment to your advantage, and you can sneak up on Pokemon to better up your chances of catching them or defeating them in battle.

Speaking of battles, they’ve been reworked since the other Pokemon games. This time, there will be a turn queue in the upper right corner of the game screen which will show you which Pokemon will attack, and when.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Credit: Nintendo

Pokemon Legends: Arceus starters

Pokemon Legends: Arceus will feature three starters for players to choose from. As usual, it’ll be one grass-type, one fire-type, and one water-type. However, there is a difference in this game from other mainline titles: rather than introduce brand new starters as the series usually would in a new generation, each starter has instead been pulled from other regions.

This means you will be able to choose from the Johto region’s Cyndaquil, the Unova region’s Oshawott, and the Alola region’s Rowlet.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus starters
Pokemon Legends: Arceus starters. Credit: Nintendo

Pokemon Legends: Arceus – Hisui Region

“Your adventure is set in the expansive natural majesty of the Hisui region, in an age long ago when it was rare for people and Pokémon to live in close harmony,” says an update on the Pokemon website. “In time, this land of Hisui will come to be called Sinnoh—a region you may know well.”

Mount Coronet rises from the center of the Hisui region, surrounded on all sides by areas with distinct environments. Each area is rich in its own natural features and plays host to different Pokemon ecosystems. One such area is the Obsidian Fieldlands, which is resplendent with gorgeous flowers and verdant vegetation — what’s more, it appears to teem with Pokémon that favor meadows and forests.

The Hisui region is home to Jubilife Village (which later  the center of operations for the Galaxy Expedition Team—or Galaxy Team for short—people who have come from various regions to study Hisui. The team includes various corps, such as the Medical Corps and the Security Corps, as well as the Survey Corps, which carries out research on how Pokémon live.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus Hisui region
Pokemon Legends: Arceus Hisui region. Credit: Nintendo

Pokemon Legends: Arceus – New Pokemon

There will be different Pokemon in the new region, too.

Some Pokemon have Hisuian forms that can be found only in the Hisui region. These Pokemon’s Hisuian forms each have unique characteristics (as other Regional Pokemon in Alola or Galar do, too).

When Rufflet in the Hisui region evolve, for example, they become Hisuian Braviary. “In the winter, this Pokémon flies in from somewhere farther north. It’s larger than the previously discovered form of Braviary and tends to live alone rather than in flocks,” says a description. “Hisuian Braviary can imbue its eerie screeches with psychic power to generate powerful shock waves. It then uses its sharp talons to tear at and seize prey weakened by these shock waves. Apparently, it can also use its psychic power to sharpen its sixth sense and enter a trance that boosts its physical abilities.”

There’s also the wonderful Hisuian Growlithe. Its Hisuian form has longer, more voluminous fur than the previously discovered form of Growlithe. This soft, heat-retaining fur helps the Pokemon thrive even in the frigid Hisui region. The sharp horn on its head is made of rock, but it breaks easily, so Hisuian Growlithe uses it only when it’ll have the greatest effect.

“Hisuian Growlithe are highly vigilant and tend to be seen watching over their territory in pairs,” per Nintendo. “Apparently, they have lived apart from humans for a long time and are unused to being around people. Building trust with a Hisuian Growlithe takes time.”

Pokemon Legends: Arceus Hisuian Growlithe
Pokemon Legends: Arceus Hisuian Growlithe. Credit: Nintendo

There’s also Wyrdeer, a Stantler evolution “that’s close with people and helps make their lives possible”. In the Hisui region, Stantler can evolve into Wyrdeer which has been treasured since long ago by the people of this region, for whom it is indispensable. It grows much larger when it evolves, and garments with the fur shed from its beard, tail, and legs are highly prized for their top-notch protection against the cold.

Using the black orbs at the bases of its antlers, this Pokemon generates and unleashes psychic energy powerful enough to distort space. Wyrdeer searches out safe paths by using its antlers like antennae, running at the head of its herd and leading young Stantler.

Finally, there’s Basculegion. Basculin in the Hisui region can evolve into this Pokemon, and that process weirdly occurs when a Basculin is “possessed by the souls of other Basculin from its school that could not withstand the harsh journey upstream”. Dark. Basculegion fights together with these souls, which attack opponents as if with a will of their own.

The moment this Pokemon senses animosity, it will become enraged and attack relentlessly until the enemy is defeated. This Pokémon gains power from the souls possessing it, letting it swim on and on without tiring.

Stay tuned for more news on Pokemon Legends: Arceus, coming over the next few weeks and months.

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