Pokemon Legends Analysis: Arceus, the most revolutionary of Pokemon to date

Pokemon Legends Analysis: Arceus, the most revolutionary of Pokemon to date

Pokemon Legends Analysis:
Successful formulas usually have an expiration date, and video game developers know it. Within the Nintendo franchises, Pokémon is surely the one that has innovated the least since its creation in 1996. Game Freak, Creatures, and Nintendo hit the nail on the head, and in its 25 years of life, the mainline of Pokémon has always followed. guidelines that we all know.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus could be defined as a Game Freak foray into a field that goes beyond his comfort bubbleThe result is a quite addictive game, with a more RPG dynamic than in the mainline and with more innovative mechanics than usual, Throughout this post, I will tell you about my experience with Pokémon Legends: Arceus during these last weeks.

Was the Pokémon formula running out?

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Unlike other sagas, Pokémon has not shown too many signs of weakness in terms of sales in recent years. However, a large base of lifelong players —among whom I include myself— have always thought that Game Freak could go a little further, since, since the jump of the franchise to 3D, Pokémon has been losing part of its charm generation after generation. This can be clearly seen in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield -the capture of the Wild Area on these lines-, then, after titles like Sun and Moon, where they risked, you can see a step back to the detriment of getting better graphics.

The result was, from my point of view, a worse experience. The seventh game, with their failures, innovated by leaving behind some obsolete mechanics in Pokémon such as the ‘Hidden Machines’ or even the medals. The eighth-generation restored the system, dropping us players that Pokémon is not willing to innovate.

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When Pokémon Legends: Arceus was announced, a spark (now called a ‘volute of light’) went off among all of us who continue to believe that Pokémon can modernizeIf the Zelda team got the hint behind Skyward Sword and created a wonder like Breath of the Wild, Game Freak couldn’t hope for less. So… Has Pokémon Legends: Arceus lived up to expectations? Before starting the analysis, I must warn you that I will judge the title taking into account the history of the franchise of Pokemon games. Comparing this edition to any other open-world RPG game would be unfair. Therefore, I am going to allow myself the luxury of being a little more permissive than if I were judging another title that had a long resume in this genre. Even so, as you will be able to read later, this way of judging is a double-edged knife, because everything that has worsened in this game compared to the previous ones I will also criticize more harshly than usual. With that cleared up, let’s get to it.

On what is Arceus founded?

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In this new title, Game Freak has left gyms, the Pokémon league, and even battles aside to try a new formulaThe result, close to being perfect, goes along the path that the players asked for, and leaves an interesting base to work on new titles. The reception has been good, and in general, the feedback from the community has been positive.

If I had to define Pokémon Legends: Arceus, I’d say it’s like a cocktail. It has all those formulas that have worked in different previous Pokémon games, as well as systems inherited from other Nintendo titles and from different partners in the genreOn the one hand, we have an open world very similar to that of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildOn the other, we will go through a region that is quite reminiscent of the Wild Area of ​​​​Sword and Shield, where we will find some Alpha Pokémon (similar to the Dominant Pokémon of Sun and Moon). Unlike the classic games, we will see the Pokémon out of the grass, exploding the successful formula of Pokémon Go and Pokémon Let’s GoHe also drinks from Isekai, the Japanese fantasy subgenre in which a character accidentally ends up in an alternate world, that is, the genre used in another spin-off of the saga, Pokémon Mysterious WorldWe will build our own objects, just like in Animal Crossing: New HorizonsWe could also say that it drinks from Monster Hunter, or even that the combats have a slight air of Persona 5The result of all this mixing is like a Long Island Iced Tea. The elements are intertwined with each other, and, despite not being the best cocktail in the world, it tastes good.

Introduction to Hisui

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No teacher will give us the badge when turning on Pokémon Legends: Arceus for the first time. Our character will fall into the void, see how his precious smartphone with a notch falls out of his pocket and hear a dark voice from Arceus himselfImmediately afterward, we will appear on a beach, like Di Caprio in OriginWithout remembering anything at all, a clueless Professor Lavender will find us there., who, not very surprised, will tell us that he has seen us fall from a crack that has opened in the sky.

Without making it very clear what time we are in —Arceus himself has already told us a few seconds before that where we are going, time and space lose all meaning—, the scientist will ask us for help. A fairly explanatory tutorial will begin here where we will learn the basic mechanics of the video game, which is to hunt Pokémon in a totally unknown way until now.

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After the short tutorial, we will discover that we are in Villa Jubileo, the foundations of the future Jubilee City, in a time similar to the Middle Ages, but full of anachronisms —Arceus already told us—. We will be introduced to Team Galaxy, a kind of military organization that manages the community. Lavender works with them to complete the Hisui region’s first Pokémon encyclopedia, and they’ll let us join the team in exchange for putting us to the test.

To earn the trust of Team Galaxy, we will have to hunt several Pokémon for the organization. Again, it is a second part of the tutorial. Here we will learn the peculiarities of each PokémonWith this process, we will know the different mechanics necessary to capture some species, as is the case with stealthWe will throw baits to distract the Pokémon or even throw objects at them to dislodge them and thus make it easier to capture them. It seems complicated, but in a matter of minutes and thanks to the snacks that are placed on the creatures, you will know exactly how to hunt each one of them.

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Once the challenge is over, the Galaxy Team will shelter us under its roof, and we will become part of the Investigation DivisionAs players, we will discover that the origin of a future criminal organization was really to help and that the seed of the events that drive Helio crazy in the fourth generation games are present in two teams that coexist with us in Hisui: the Clan Pearl and the Diamond Clan.

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Team Galaxy’s goal is to meet the Pokémon so that humans can live in harmonyLavender will entrust us with the same mission as Arceus, so we will have to go on an adventure to hunt new Pokémon for him to analyze. But before that, they will have to show us another new mechanic in this game, craftingWe will start by creating Pokéballs, but the game will also allow us to create medicines, baits, and all kinds of objects to facilitate our progress. As an objection, I think that Game Freak has lost the opportunity in this game to explain to the players the true operation of the Pokéball since the explanation they give us is very vague and superficial.

Hunting Pokémon: the central axis of Legends Arceus

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As I was saying at the beginning, this title sets aside the story and the fighting to make the most of the gameplayFor the first time since the saga began, entering the ecosystems populated by Pokémon will be dangerousAvoiding walking through tall grass without a Pokémon now makes perfect sense, as creatures won’t be cut off when attacking your character.

This and no other is the hardcore of the gameHunt Pokémon left and right to complete the Pokédex. And it will not be enough to capture a single unit. We will have to get hold of several different specimens (weight, size, variants…) so that the teacher can study them in-depth. And don’t worry, the game doesn’t encourage poaching. In fact, once studied, you’ll be rewarded for unleashing Pokémon you won’t use.

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When it comes to hunting, Game Freak has found the key. The Pokémon models are very well done, and they react to your presence in a very natural wayI even laughed out loud watching a poor Bidoof runaway who was reluctant to be caught, because he moved exactly like my cat when I chase him around the house to tickle him.

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Each species of Pokémon has its peculiarities. Some allow themselves to be captured with a clean shot. Others, like birds, require stealth. But this does not mean that they are all the same. Some members of the same species will be uncomfortable with our presence. Others will be merciless with us and won’t give in until we make them fight or finish off our character. And finally, there is always someone clueless that you can capture in the silliest way. Could this be improved for a future title of this line? Sure, but for the first encounter with these mechanics, this is very well done and really funHonestly, I don’t think I’ve been so hooked on a Pokémon game since Pokémon Silver, and at that time, little Daniel had no obligations, as he attended primary school. Come on, Pokémon Legends: Arceus has merit.

A new open-world experience, but with limitations

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I remember that it was already said at the time that Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield were the first open-world games in the saga. That wasn’t true, and if we get too technical, Pokémon Legends: Arceus isn’t quite an open-world game either, as it still has a lot of room for improvement, and it would be more accurate to say it’s a semi- open-world game.

The total area of the game is hugeYou can spend hours in each zone discovering new niches where some Pokémon that are missing from your Pokédex spawn. However, the fact that the maps are separated or that the limits of it are marked with fog is not entirely brilliant. To go from one ecosystem to another, we will have to forcefully go through Villa Jubileo, which feels extremely clunky. And the fog makes you lose your reference point when you reach a peak.

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On the other hand, the game is quite linearIt is true that the rank you achieve within Team Galaxy is independent of the plot. It is equivalent to medals, but you can work on it at your own pace. Unfortunately, the game only invites us to explore the main objective, since all the secondary quests are very basic. It is a pity that having created such a good base, there are no branches that invite us to explore other details of the world by doing other missions. Instead, the characters in Villa Jubileo will ask us for full Pokédex sheets or to show them a Pokémon. That is, secondary missions are completed by performing tasks required by the main mission of the game. This aspect would have to be worked on in future titles because at the end of the game, it gives the feeling that the huge map is empty.

Other Pokémon Legends news: Arceus

These are other novelties to take into account and that are worth commenting on in the new game.

New regional forms

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Game Freak hit the nail on the head during the development of the Sun and Moon. The regional forms of Pokémon have become a very interesting draw within the franchise. A unique opportunity to relaunch some Pokémon that fell into oblivion.

In this case, the new Pokémon are great, as they do double duty. Not only do they bring back some creatures from previous generations, but they also show us some of their evolutionary lines that did not reach the present dayUrsala, for example, is a magnificent example. The process to evolve into an Ursaring is so complex that the Pokémon itself is explaining to you the reason why it became extinctThe same thing happens with other Pokémon like Qwilfish or Basculin. Their evolutions are very similar to some species that existed in our world and that also became extinct because they were not efficient.

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On the other hand, they have also rewarded us with new forms that have spectacular designsThe most interesting case is that of Hisui’s Zoroark, a creature with an even more spectacular design than the original. Smaller, Wyrdeer or Kleavor are some more examples of Pokémon that have had their own regional version in this primitive Sinnoh, once again strengthening this beautiful practice of redesigning or bringing evolutions of species that we already know from previous games.

alpha pokemon

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With red eyes and a very bad mood, the Alpha Pokémon are there to put limits on your explorationThey have better features, are stronger, and are also larger in size. They are usually surrounded by members of their own species, and they will not hesitate to defend you if you approach them with your primitive Pokéballs.

Alpha Pokémon progressively level up as you rank up on Team GalaxyAt first, hunting them will be almost impossible, but at the end of the game, it is even recommended that you complete your team with some of these specimens, since they will have a better level than your in-game team and also better base stats.

Lordly Pokémon

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Also breaking with traditional mechanics, the Lordly Pokémon are the defenders of every part of the Hisui mapThese Pokémon are a kind of remix between the dominant ones from Sun and Moon and the Gigamax ones from Sword and ShieldWe won’t be able to fight them directly, but we’ll have to calm them down by casting ‘calmaspheres’.

When we face a stately Pokémon, we will fight in a similar way to how we do in a 3D Mario or in any RPG that has final bossesHowever, this aspect has not finished convincing me. First of all, I think it would have been more obvious to reverse the events of Kleavor and Ursaluna so that Ursaluna could serve as a tutorial. Metroid Dread, for example, does just this with the first EMMI, which is broken, and teaches you in an easy way how to destroy them so you can fend for yourself in the following ones. In this case, we face a boss and then face another similar case, but even simpler.

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Even so, that is not the reason why this type of confrontation does not convince me. Not only is it rare for a huge Pokémon to attack you as a human, but all you can do in each and every one of these matchups is dodge and cast CalmspheresThere is no weak point or anything beyond learning the pattern that the Pokémon performs in order to defeat itIt gets very repetitive, and in the case of Arcanine, the dev team should redesign the encounter, as it barely leaves the player room to dodge when the Pokémon sets the center of the board on fire.

New evolution system, stats, and attack learning

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I will talk about the metagame of the game later, but first I will comment on this new changeNow, Pokémon evolve only if you want. You can also change attacks on the fly and train Pokémon’s stats by hand, using bags that you will get in many ways (one of them, releasing Pokémon from boxes).

For an old gamer like me, this sudden change seems strange, but over time, you come to understand whyIt would be much more difficult to complete the Pokédex if it weren’t for these functions since we will need specific creatures that perform a movement a number of times to complete some of the tasks that the encyclopedia asks us for.

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However, if you know the guts of Pokémon, training stats does get weird . At first, I thought that the stats could be filled with a limit (as always in Pokémon and as in any RPG). However, it is not so. All stats can be completed in 10 points. In a game like this, I don’t see it as criticizable, but it is noteworthy since you feel a bit idiotic after having played for hours with a Lucario that could have had more HP or more defense.

New forms of capture

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Another great point of the game. You will not only have to learn to be stealthy or to throw the correct bait to capture a specific species. The ball also countsAnd the game quickly teaches you which are the most suitable for each species. Heavy Pokéballs are great for hunting those Pokémon that are hard to crack. But we will have to get very close since our character will not have much strength to throw it far. And making them will make us spend a lot of iron. On the other hand, there are other Pokéballs that are remote-controlledThey’re great for catching those Pokémon that won’t sit still for a second. And this will also influence you in-gameIf you catch a Snorlax with a Heavy Ball and add it to your party, you won’t be able to send the Pokemon away to gather materials. Personally, I have loved this mechanic.

Object Creation

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We’ve talked about Pokéballs, but we won’t just be creating our own capture tools. Now we will have to cook our own potions, revives and total heals. Almost all the products that we buy in stores in other games have their equivalent here, but with different ingredients that we will have to collect. That is why I commented a few lines above that it is a pity that they have not explained well how the Pokéballs work. In the rest of the battle tools, the game does explain where they come fromOr at least, they show us the plants that are needed to produce the object. Again, an interesting system, as many items share ingredients and you’ll have to decide what’s worth spending them on. And, as well as adding complexity to the game, this crafting system feeds Pokémon lore, justifying the provenance of the products we give to Pokémon. By the way, the idea of bringing back the bonguri is absolutely great.

Technical aspects of the game

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Regarding the technical aspects of the game, the graphics of this title have been the most criticized by the community. I don’t want to dwell too much on this section simply because I consider it absurd to criticize this game for its graphics when it has been a constant in Game Freak since they abandoned 2D in the fifth generation.

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Pokémon has serious problems since it wanted to make the leap to 3D. The Game Freak team hasn’t found the key for years. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is not the most beautiful game in the world. However, the engine the game runs on has come a long way since Sword and ShieldThe popping of elements on the screen is not pleasant, but we will have to live with it when we mount Braviary or Wyrdeer. The water is not realistic if we see it from a great height, and we will not have landscapes populated with trees either.

Beyond optimization, where this game falters is art directionTrees don’t have pretty models. The grass looks like a mess, and the scenery only looks attractive when the sky changes color. The game is much more attractive at night, as some of its visual flaws are hidden, at the same time that the immersion is increased thanks to the music since the night themes are infinitely better than the daytime ones.

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Comparisons between Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Breath of the Wild have not been lackingWithout a doubt, Game Freak should aspire to reach that level. However, the team works at different timing, launching practically one title per year. Pokémon games have never been as long in development as that Zelda (which is estimated to have been working on for almost six years), so it is clear that we are facing a video game that does not reach the optimization levels that we saw in BOTW.

Still, I consider the visual aspect of this game to be quite secondary. Highly improbable, but relegated to the background. The game has major problems, such as the lack of alternative missions, the absence of mechanisms typical of an RPG applied to the character itself, or a combat system that leaves much to be desired.

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To finish this section, we go for one of lime and another of sand. The translation of the game is impeccable, as is often the case in Nintendo games. The location of the vocabulary is well worked, generating that sensation of immersion that is so necessary for a title like this. On the other hand, the UX/UI of the game is horrible.

Button mapping causes a lot of confusion and doesn’t let us create our custom profile. It would be great if Nintendo let players customize the buttons of the games because it is not the first title where I feel clumsy because of such an arbitrary button map. On the other hand, the menus don’t make much sense either, not even the fighting interface feels comfortable when playing.

The metagame. The only thing that takes a step back

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I would like to keep only the positive of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, but it would be doing Pokémon a disservice not to comment on the worst aspect of the game, which is its metagameGame Freak has been teaching us how to play Pokémon since 1996 (1998 in our country). The Pokémon meta is solid, based on an 18-type ‘rock-paper-scissors’ and with a range of moves that most experienced players have known since childhood. The metals change as the years go by, polishing and, sometimes, adding some elements that modify it momentarily (mega evolutions, Z-movements, Gigamax…), but that do not alter the basic functioning of the game, which is still turn-based strategy combat.

The fights are not protagonists in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and that is why this aspect does not dirty the game too much. There are barely 10 fights against trainers in the entire development of the story, so my negative assessment regarding the metagame will not overshadow the good vision I have of the gameEven so, it should be noted that this simplified version of the Pokémon metagame that Game Freak has presented in this game is nowhere to be found.

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Double combat exists in Hisui. But only rivals can use it.

Everything you know about Pokémon battles is useless in Pokémon Legends: ArceusMoreover, the more you know, the worse you will play. During the first few minutes of the game, I used ‘Hypnosis’ on one of my Pokémon to put the opponent to sleep. After seeing that the Pokémon kept attacking me even when I was asleep, I thought it was a bugHowever, I was surprised to see that Pokémon did not lose their speed when affected by paralysisIt also didn’t seem to me that burning them would split their attack in half. And my surprise face was greater when I saw that the Pokémon come out of a state such as burning or poisoning by miraculous work. See not believe.

However, the states are just the tip of the icebergContinuing with the game, I discovered that stat modifications always refer to offense or defenseWhat happened to the Special? Why is it not mentioned, if it appears in the data of the Pokémon? Things get ugly again when your boosting attacks (that you spent a turn with) revert to their original state after a few turns.

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It also becomes rare to play Pokémon without special abilitiesSome of our lifelong companions become very useless without that special ability that spark gave them. I was even more disappointed to see that Game Freak did reserve the right to keep the special ability for only one Pokémon: RegigigasThe reason is that this legendary has a disadvantageous ability called ‘Slow Start’, which basically halves the attack and speed of the Pokémon during the first 5 turns of the battle. This one does have the skill, but the others don’t. What a coincidence.

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Finally, you find out that the meta is totally broken near the end of the game. Just when you have to face each other in 6 vs. 6This is when you realize that what Pokémon Legends: Arceus presents is not a turn system, but a strange experiment in which the speed of your Pokémon does not matter. You and your opponent will not give an order at the same time, but you will attack only when the dialogue comes up. And the system becomes tremendously unfairThey can attack you twice in a row (with or without quick style) and put you out of the game without giving you a chance to decide.

The break of the meta is clearly seen when you defeat an opponent’s Pokémon (battle against Sorbus and more clearly during the battle against the final baddie). Once you defeat a Pokémon on the opposing bench, your Pokémon will be stuck in the sandIf you beat their Togekiss with your Lucario, the opponent will choose a Pokemon that they can beat you with, like Arcanine. And without giving you a chance to knock it off the ground (or even attack first, as life has always done), its fire-type attack will knock you outEvery time you defeat an enemy, you run the risk of their next Pokémon acting directly as a revenge killer.

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To avoid this nonsense, you can see a turn order prediction on the combat screenA rundown that shows you the order of the next 2-3 turns. It doesn’t work eitherIf you go by that chop, you will also be lost, since the turn order is immediately modified by the movements that you and the rival make.

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Speaking of this, I took a look at some streamers, to see if they complained about this same aspect. And indeed, their faces of disbelief were seen when they saw how they fell defeated without practically being able to do anything to avoid it. The clear proof that something is not right in this system can be clearly seen by observing any player during the battle against Giratina, as they manage to defeat it by “spamming revives” during combat. What should be an epic and fun ending turns into suffering due to an altered system that is not up to the task.

Why did this change Pokemon?

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I’ve been mulling over this for several days. Why change a system that has been working all its lifePossibly, the reason is that it was not worth animating the more than 800 movements that are in Pokémon for a game where the base is hunting and not so much fighting.

Even so, this meta halfway between the traditional game and Pokémon Go does not make senseAttacks are very limited. For example, there is not one as basic as Earthquake, so you will have to settle for Living Earth, which is a special attack. Other attacks we know as Gigaimpact now do not require a recharge (and can hit you twice in a row, mind you). And even worse is the case with Spikes, which has gone from being a strategic field attack to becoming a completely different movement.

Although I have already had quite a few lines criticizing how little I liked this new combat system, the truth is that we will only have to deal with it on very few occasions – and in free combat against wild Pokémon, but there it is more passable. However, Game Freak should totally discard this idea for a future title, since fighting in the video game becomes a real nightmareI wouldn’t be surprised if the Youtuber Leyendas y Videojuegos dedicated an episode of his popular series ‘Evil Design’ to him.

Is Pokémon Legends: Arceus worth it?

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Being this title an experiment of Game Freak, I did not expect a round game. And indeed, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is not. However, it has positively surprised me right at the point where I thought I was going to be disappointed, which is in the gameplayReaching the first ending of the game has taken me approximately 35 hours because I wanted to let myself go and play at a leisurely pace. Completing the Pokédex 100% and meeting with Arceus can take another 25 or 30 hours for sure, depending on the pace you want to take.

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On the other hand, as I mentioned above, the most disappointing thing about the game is that they have precisely changed how little Pokémon workedYes, Pokémon Go is fun. And capturing Pokémon is part of the essence of the franchise, but it is not the only formula. Pokémon and battles are two sides of the same coinA mistake like this can be forgiven, because, after all, the combats do not carry the weight of the game. Still, Game Freak should finish animating all possible attacks and bring the fighting system back to life if the ultimate goal of this Legends is to transform the main Pokémon line into an open-world RPG.

Going back to what really works in the game, the Pokémon world now looks aliveThe Pokémon models are very well done and the attack animations for the first time surpass what we saw almost 20 years ago in Pokémon ColosseumIf you take Arceus Legends as a Pokémon Snap, the title is very enjoyable. However, if you approach it as if it were a title from the main series, you will probably be a little disappointed by the story and the combat. Even so, it is a game that you should not miss if you are a Pokémon loverWith its pluses and minuses, the video game makes itself loved. Lay a solid foundation on which to build a new future for the saga and shows that not everything was invented.

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If I had to give it a grade, it would be a 7 . I think it’s a fair assessment for Game Freak not to let their guard down and continue to explore this pathI wouldn’t be surprised to see DLC for this game in the future, though what I’d really like to see in a future open-world game is a full implementation of the traditional combat system. Recovering that and putting a little more RPG, with decisions that make some changes in the plot, we would be facing an outstanding game.

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