Pokemon Legends: Arceus is a big Charizard-sized 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 universe much 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 has attempted to “honor past Pokemon games’ core gameplay while infusing new action and RPG elements”. Over 6 million gamers have played it since release. But what else is going on? Here’s everything to know before you decide to buy it for the Nintendo Switch.
When was Pokemon Legends: Arceus released ?
Pokemon Legends: Arceus was released on January 28, 2022. There were even some special limited-edition drops to mark the release, including over in Japan where gamers who ordered the game received a gold holographic artbook and exclusive trading card.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus costs £49.99 and can be bought now on the Nintendo eShop and from all major retailers.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus gameplay
This time around, Pokemon players have new action and RPG elements that task players with a quest to “catch, survey and research wild Pokemon in a long-gone era of the Sinnoh region,” as the game developers put it themselves.
If you’re a fan of Legendary Pokemon and beings comparable to gods, you’ll be pleased to learn that the eponymous Arceus takes a front-row seat in this adventure. Expect run-ins and plot beats based around this mighty creature.
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. The guys are roaming the world like the dinosaurs once did, and have a few different personalities that dictate how they’ll react to you. Some will simply see you, ignore you, and go about their day. Some will see you and scamper, while the last bunch will see you as their next meal.
The aggressive Pokémon will follow you, and if you get into a battle when more than one of them is within range of you, you can actually end up fighting a horde of wild monsters. And as stated in our review of the game, it is cool to have to consider where you’re fighting at any given time.
You can 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. Now there’s 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 starters
Pokemon Legends: Arceus features three starters for players to choose from: 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 – Hisui Region
The action kicks off with you being thrown backwards in time to a Sinnoh of long, long ago, which is called Hisui. You’ve landed in ye olde Sinnoh with nought but yourself, your clothes, and your Arc phone.
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 – New Pokemon
There are 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.”
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.