Pokémon Isekai: Pokémon Legends Arceus Review
Earlier this month, you’ve probably read about our game review about Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl (if not then go read it now). This time around, we’ll be talking about the latest game in the main series of Pokémon games: Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a prequel to basically the entire Pokémon main series plotline. It is set in the Hisui region, a precursor of the region that is now called Sinnoh. Officially released back on January 28 this year, Pokémon Legends: Arceus offers a fresh new take on an RPG franchise that was in dire need of something new. As such, here’s what you need to know about the newest Pokémon game.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
The god of this universe kidnaps the main character and transports them to another dimension. The god doesn’t abandon the main character and has given them tools to help them in their journey. Sounds like one of those isekai anime right? That’s basically the gist of Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
So, Arceus basically takes you to his dimension and transports you back in time to the Hisui region. Once he bestows you the Arc Phone, a literal Deus Ex Machina that also serves several functions like instant teleportation to certain areas, you are now set on an adventure to catch ’em all. You then meet Professor Laventon who works for the Galaxy Expedition Team (the possible antecedent of Team Galactic). Together with the various corps in the game, you’ll be working with the Diamond and Pearl Clans to quell the rampage of Noble Pokémon. After that, you just need to catch, catch, and catch more Pokémon until you meet god again (and enslave it as well).
Due to the game’s grind-heavy nature, you will take time to finish the game (hence why this article took so long to finish). In fact, if you’re aiming for a 100% completion then you’ll have to finish the arduous task of completing the Pokédex. The ENTIRE Pokédex. Thankfully, you can catch every Pokémon you’ll ever need in the game (no need to rely on a friend or another Switch for trades).
Besides that, some mechanics make it naturally hard for players, both old and new. Here’s a list of some features that makes the game a bit challenging:
- The ability to recall Pokémon upon defeating an opposing one (the switch battle style) is non-existent. You simply stick with the Pokémon your currently battling with until you choose to switch them.
- No held items.
- Multiple Battles only allow you to send one Pokémon at a time.
- Earning money is a tad difficult (as you only earn money by catching, filling up your Pokédex, or selling items).
- No Pokémon abilities (no more Guts exploit).
- Getting knocked out results in losing items (your rare items are always in danger).
- Satchel upgrading is expensive.
I guess some long-term fans of the Pokémon franchise who have been complaining about the games’ lack of recent difficulty got what they wish for.
Interesting New Features
Pokémon Legends: Arceus brings new features that everyone surely adores and welcomes.
First and foremost, Alpha Pokémon is a new variety of Pokémon found in the game. The difference? Alpha Pokémon are notably bigger (almost gigantic, but definitely smaller than Gigantamaxed Pokémon) compared to regular Pokémon. They also have glowing red eyes (which return back to normal once you catch them) and are much more aggressive in the wild.
New Hisuian forms have also been introduced. Sixteen Hisuian Pokémon to be exact (Growlithe, Arcanine, Voltorb, Electrode, Typhlosion, Sneasel, Qwilfish, Samurott, Lilligant, Zorua, Zoroark, Braviary, Avalugg, Sliggoo, Goodra, and Decidueye). Seven new Pokémon (which are Kleavor, Wyrdeer, Ursaluna, Sneasler, Overqwil, Basculegion, and Enamorus) were also added.
There’s also Noble Pokémon which the Diamond and Pearl Clans look after. They are basically descendants of the ten companions of the ancient hero of legend (which are blessed by Arceus). After calming them from their rampage, they will give you their respective plates and can be now called by the player for help. The Noble Pokémon are as follows:
- Lord of the Woods: Kleavor
- Lady of the Ridge: Lilligant
- Lord of the Isles: Arcanine
- Lord of the Hollow: Electrode
- Lord of the Tundra: Avalugg
Pokémon Legends: Arceus also introduces Dialga and Palkia’s respective Origin forms (although opinions on them are split).
The Poké Balls, including the Great Balls, Heavy Balls, and Ultra Balls, also had a new Hisuian design. There are also new types of poké balls which are: Leaden Balls, Gigaton Balls, Feather Balls, Wing Balls, and Jet Balls.
Status conditions also had their own mixups. Freeze and Asleep were replaced with Frostbite and Drowsy respectively. Drowsy made Pokémon less likely to attack instead (just like Paralysis) while Frostbite damages the Pokémon (similar to Burn and Poison). Meanwhile, new status conditions also replace existing conditions instead of a Pokémon being immune once affected.
AAA Game Title? Not Quite
Prior to the game’s release, fans were hyping and touting Pokémon Legends: Arceus as a AAA game title. However, that isn’t really the case as the game has some gaps to fill in order to be fully considered as one.
For starters, Pokémon’s notoriety for not producing titles with good quality graphics applies to this game. Real Pokémon fans will be the first ones to tell you that you don’t play Pokémon for the graphics. Thankfully, the franchise had always managed to fill the gap by creating impressive gameplay. For this game, the graphics aren’t certainly shabby, it’s as good as what you can get with a new Pokémon game title, it’s just right in the correct ballpark. No home runs for this game in the graphics department but is relatively better than the older titles. But to be honest, having subpar graphics in this day and age is something we can’t turn a blind eye to – especially considering the gargantuan success and reputation Pokémon has had over the years.
Another bone to nitpick with the game is that it still has no voice acting for its characters. One criticism of the Pokémon franchise is its refusal to do voice acting despite having the financial capabilities to do so. It’s certainly eerie during cutscenes when none of the characters just nod or do other facial reactions to communicate. I mean, they have decades and multiple seasons of anime as well as several movies to boot. Why can’t they hire voice actors?
As with all new games, it had bugs. From typical texture and shading errors to bugs that result in weird Pokémon behavior, it had a lot. The most frustrating one? The Cherrim bug wherein you can’t catch it once it changes its form. Thank god (or in this case, Arceus) for the latest patch.
A Step In The Right Direction
It has been said a lot of times before and I’ll say it again: Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a breath of fresh air. Longtime fans collectively agree that Pokémon Legends: Arceus is one of the best, if not the best, Pokémon games ever. It certainly revitalizes the franchise by offering a new spin on the overall Pokémon experience. For new fans, it might be a tough hill to climb on but it does not diminish the fun you get from playing the game. So should you buy it? Definitely for sure. Just hope your local game store has gotten a restock if you’re planning to buy a physical copy.
Retail Price: PHP 2,650
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.