Pokémon Legends: Arceus is an open-world RPG coming to the Switch

Pokémon legends

At a special live-streamed event today, The Pokémon Company revealed something fans having been waiting a long time for: an open-world Pokémon adventure. The next major entry in the franchise will be called Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and it looks to be a huge evolution of the long-running RPG formula. The developers describe it as a “pre-make,” which offers “a new challenge and a new frontier for the Pokémon world.”

As trainers explore the natural expanses in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, they’ll encounter pokémon that call these grand vistas home. To catch wild pokémon, players can study the pokémon’s behaviors, sneak up to them, then throw poké balls. Players can also battle wild Pokémon with their ally pokémon. By throwing the poké ball holding their ally pokémon near a wild pokémon, players will seamlessly enter battle. This new gameplay angle is intended to provide trainers with an immersive experience.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus was revealed during today’s Pokemon Presents, and will let you explore the Sinnoh region, but not as you know it.

The Diamond and Pearl remakes were rumored so heavily that they were almost expected during today’s Pokemon Presents. The announcement that followed directly after certainly wasn’t, though. The reveal of a brand new game, Pokemon Legends: Arceus. An open-world RPG take on the Pokemon world set in the Sinnoh region before the events of Diamond and Pearl.

The very first trailer showed trainers exploring what appears to be a very vast wilderness. Rather than confronting Pokemon for battles before catching them, the trainers hide in tall grass and throw Pokeballs at unsuspecting monsters, hoping to catch them by surprise. Some battle footage was also shown. While the game is filled with rolling hills and countryside, there’s also a village.

The story takes place in the Sinnoh region, at a period that appears to be long before other Pokémon games, and will include a number of iconic monsters like Piplup, with your choice of starters including Rowlet, Oshawott, and Cyndaquil. It’s expected to launch worldwide on the Switch in early 2022.
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You won’t have to settle for modernized versions of classic Pokémon games in the near future. The Pokémon Company has used the 25th anniversary of the franchise to unveil Pokémon Legends Arceus, an open-world (apparently moreso than past games, at least) action RPG for the Switch that’s decidedly unlike the usual top-down experience.You play a trainer exploring the Sinnoh region (the home of the Diamond/Pearl games) in its early days, when it was a relatively untamed wilderness. As the name implies, you’ll also learn more about the mythical Arceus creature and its creation myth.

Most gameplay details are still under wraps, but the developers are aiming for more “immersive” mechanics. You’ll “seamlessly” enter Pokémon battles and sneak up on them to study their behavior. It’s not going to share much the Switch’s other big open world game, Breath of the Wild, although the expansive natural landscapes might be superficially familiar.

Pokémon Legends Arceus will be released sometime in early 2022. There’s no telling if its approach will be compelling to fans of the series’ well-worn formula, but it at least shows that the producers want to branch out and try experiences that are new to Pokémon, if not necessarily the game industry as a whole.

The Pokémon mainline games have been in desperate need of a shake-up. Originally, I thought the solution might be for the franchise to move on from series developer, Game Freak — hardly a new idea among Pokémon fans. Then, Friday morning they announced “Pokémon Legends Arceus.” It’s not a mainline game, but the announcement alone has changed my perspective.

The title, which looks to be the next in the “Let’s Go” line of Pokémon games, addresses every criticism I had about Game Freak’s design philosophy for Pokémon. Recently, the mainline games have felt like hollow copies of the original generation’s charm and soul, introducing new concepts that are subsequently thrown away in sequels and putting players through the same, repetitive rigmarole on the way to becoming a champion. Twenty-five years in, nothing had really changed in terms of how players engaged with the gameplay in the mainline Pokémon titles.

Enter “Pokémon Legends Arceus.”

The game appears to take aesthetic inspiration from “Breath of the Wild,” and is an entirely new story told in the Sinnoh region, where fourth-generation games “Diamond, Pearl and Platinum” took place. You play during an ancient era, and are told to develop the Sinnoh region’s first-ever Pokédex, an encyclopedia logging every type of Pokémon. The almost watercolor-like graphics are supplemented with an open world seemingly much bigger than anything we’ve experienced in Pokémon before.

From the short clips in the trailer and the Pokémon Presents live stream Feb. 26, we can see that the mechanic for capturing Pokémon is similar to that of the “Let’s Go, Pikachu” and “Let’s Go, Eevee” series. Wild Pokémon roam the open world. Instead of tiring out Pokémon through the tried-and-true battle system, players simply toss a Pokéball, aiming to clear certain precision and timing benchmarks. Moreover, catching Pokémon is now seamlessly integrated into the open world, a first for the series. The battle system — which looks relatively unchanged from the mainline games — appears to be returning, alongside some new features, like rolling and sneaking through tall grass to get the jump on unsuspecting Pokémon.

While the major details are still unknown, this game feels more fresh and exciting than the other game revealed in the Pokémon Presents live stream, “Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl,” a fourth-Gen mainline game remake that takes everything the originals had and applies a “Sword and Shield” style graphical overhaul.



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