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Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a game in the Pokémon series, released on January 28, 2022. The game is set in Sinnoh, many years before the events of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Pokémon Platinum and their remakes Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. The game is open-world, with the player capturing and battling different types of Pokémon. In the game, the starters are Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott, who were starters in previous games (Sun/Moon, Gold/Silver, and Black/White, respectively). The game was first announced in a Pokémon Presents presentation, along with Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.

Gameplay

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is an action role-playing game that preserves the core gameplay of past entries in the main line series. The game is set in a bygone era of the Sinnoh region's history, when it was known as the Hisui region, long before the events of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and their remakes take place. The Mythical Pokémon Arceus plays a major role in the story.

Players can capture wild Pokémon in the overworld without engaging in battle, though some wild Pokémon must still be battled before being caught. Players can initiate battles by releasing their captured Pokémon near a wild Pokémon. Poké Balls in this era are made of wood and puff steam when a Pokémon is caught. At the start of the game, three starter Pokémon options are available: Rowlet (the grass-type starter Pokémon from the Alola region), Cyndaquil (the fire-type starter Pokémon from the Johto region) and Oshawott (the water-type starter Pokémon from the Unova region). This makes Pokémon Legends: Arceus the first mainline game to feature starter Pokémon from different regions together.

Plot

In Sinnoh, called Hisui and set many years before the events of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Pokémon Platinum and their remakes Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, the player character, either Rei or Akari, is tasked with completing the Hisui region's first Pokédex. As the title suggests, Arceus plays a major part in the story.

Development and release

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is developed by Game Freak. It is the first known project in the action role-playing subgenre to be undertaken by the studio. It was first revealed in the Pokémon Presents on February 26, 2021 alongside Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl as part of the Pokémon 25th Anniversary celebration. According to the developer, it is a "premake" to Diamond and Pearl. It was released worldwide on January 28, 2022.

Reception

Pre-release

Following release of the reveal trailer, several news outlets such as Polygon, as well as fans of the series, drew comparisons between Pokémon Legends: Arceus and the The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, noting apparent similarities to the latter in both the open-world gameplay and art style shown in the trailer. Others criticized the game for a perceived lack of depth and inconsistent visual quality and raised concerns about apparent performance issues.

Critical reception

The game received positive reviews. The Verge praised the game's overhaul of the Pokemon formula, relating to Wild Areas and Pokedex challenges, writing that it was "the biggest overhaul to the Pokémon formula since the series debuted". Despite criticizing the battle system, Polygon liked the open world and how simple catching Pokemon was compared to previous entries. "It’s so easy and fluid to just grab a Pokémon and add them to my party while I’m exploring the game’s verdant fields or snowy tundra". Eurogamer enjoyed the new animations and art for the Pokemon in Arceus, saying "The way wild Pokémon, more vibrantly animated here than in any previous game, are all hops, rolls, lumbers. All splashes, naps, growls, and waddles. The way they exist so unelaborately but with so much personality is such a simple treat". Ars Technica disliked the graphical style and lack of new Pokemon, but felt the battle system and open world exploration mixed well together, "And when the battle is over, you can go right back to exploring or catching other Pokémon, with no pauses for level-ups or learning moves... once you learn the ropes, it's easy to lose yourself in the rhythm of sneaking, catching, battling, and exploring".

Other media

A web series based on the game, Pokémon: Hisuian Snow, was released on May 18, 2022. It consist of three episodes and produced by Wit Studio. Kamado and Volo made cameo appearances, respectively. Cyllene appeared in the final episode.

Trivia

  • While never directly stated, Legends: Arceus can be inferred to take place less than 300 years before the Fourth Pokémon generation games. The Pokédex entry for Spiritomb states it was locked away 500 years ago, while Vessa in Legends: Arceus states that Spiritomb was sealed "hundreds of years" ago.
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