Pokemon Legends: Arceus Review (Spoilers!)

04 Feb 2022

I'm going to start this off by saying that I have never been a big fan of any of the Pokemon games that have come out since generation 5. Black and White, and Black 2 and White 2 were the last Pokemon games I personally really enjoyed playing.

With that said, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is the first in what is (hopefully) a new spin-off series of Pokemon games. Unlike the main-line series, PLA has no gyms or gym-alternatives. There isn't even a concept of a Pokemon League in this game's world. Instead the player's main goal is to complete the Hisui region's first Pokedex.

The Problems:

Before I begin gushing about how much I love this game, and how good its story and characters are, I first want to bring up the issues I personally have with the game.

Firstly, there's the fact that Pokemon battles are still turn-based. I would have loved to see the player take control of their Pokemon in a battle, having to dodge and select attacks in real-time rather than have time effectively pause until the player makes a decision.

Secondly, Pokeballs come out of the player's face, which is normal for first-person games to do, as the centre of the screen is where they aim, so having projectiles and whatnot come from there saves on extra math. However, PLA is a third-person game, so if you just get your arm around a wall to throw a ball, it'll often just hit the wall and break.

Thirdly, there's the sheer grind I felt I had to do just to increase my ranking with the Galaxy Expidition Team. I know a lot of other people didn't seem to have this be an issue for them, but I didn't really catch all that many Pokemon while playing through the main story, so I often had to pause it just to raise my ranking.

And finally (I know, only four real gripes? Insane for a Pokemon game), I really, really wish there were more incentives to dodge wild Pokemon's attacks once they've spotted you. The Noble Pokemon fights were so much fun for me, and I would enjoy being able to do more of that.

That's all the problems I really have with this game. I know a lot of people have brought up that its graphics are comparable to the GameCube, but honestly, I didn't really notice it while playing. I was just enjoying the game too much to really care about the graphical fidelity of the game.

The Good:

Now that I've addressed the issues the game has (again, in my opinion), I want to talk about what parts I enjoyed immensely. Primarily, the characters. I normally don't pay much mind to Pokemon characters, as they're rarely all that interesting, but at least most of PLA's cast had my attention whenever they were on the screen. The two that stand out the most are Professor Laventon and Vollo.

Professor Laventon is, as you may have guessed, the Pokemon Professor of this game. He's shown to lack confidence in himself quite a lot, and just from a character design perspective, he stands out. His clothing looks significantly more modern than any other characters', but he's still clearly set in the time period that PLA takes place in. He's also one of the friendliest characters towards the player, compared to some others who are distrustful of the player for effectively the whole main story.

Speaking of friendly characters, there's Vollo. The first time he showed up on screen, my immediate thought was "This guy is way too chipper to not be the villain."