Wow! That was the word circling around my head for the first two hours of playing the new Pokémon game.
I want to start by saying that this is the first Pokémon game I’ve played of its kind, but I also need to inform you that I haven’t played the Sword/Shield game yet and so my opinions will strictly be in comparison to the games that came before that one. I’m also going to start with the few negatives as I always think it’s a good idea to finish on the positives. So, let’s dive in, shall we?
- Slow start. It takes a good hour or so to actually get through all of the tutorials and the other characters exposition dumps before you can actually go out and explore and do the quests you wish to do. I understand why that is, though, as new players to the Pokémon games need some information on what Pokémon is all about and the base tips for playing such games. Also, this game has a LOT of new features and game mechanics compared to the past games – so, as much as we’d like the tutorials to hurry up and go away, they are necessary.
- Fast travelling. This game is a lot more open-world than the ones before it. However, you can’t just waltz out of Jubilife Village and jog to your next destination. Instead, you have to talk to one of the security corps NPCs and then a map is brought up and you select where you want to go. You’re then plopped down in that location. I would have loved to have walked EVERYWHERE and just explored the land but perhaps as you get to other villages that becomes a thing?
…That’s it. That is all I, currently, have to say negatively about this game. And I think I was scraping the bottom of the barrel for those!
- Open-world and RPG. I loved when I first went out into the wilds and actually ran around the lands (I do believe this was also a bit of a thing in Sword/Shield. It was great just being able to explore, gather ingredients (by sending your Pokémon out to collect them for you as well) and literally bump into Pokémon prowling about. You can also get attacked from the Pokémon and take damage yourself! I thought that was pretty neat. There’s also quests, missions, etc for you to do – a lot of them as well so you’re always kept busy. The new Pokedex (book form because we’ve gone back in time – it’s the little details) is also much more complex and you actually have to complete research objectives to fill it in and gain money as that’s the main way you’re paid in the game. It all just feels very old-school fantasy RPG and I love it for that!
- Interface. I love how it looks now! The battle interface has a very Shonen anime fight feel to it. Plus, all the interfaces are super easy to navigate and use.
- New features. There’s so many and I absolutely won’t be able to include them all here but a few examples are: you now have to literally throw pokeballs yourself by pressing ZR and aiming at a Pokémon before you release and one flies its way. When in combat this is different as the game throws them for you like previous games. There’s also crafting and I’m a huge sucker for a games that include this – especially when its easy to do. You can now even craft pokeballs on the go so you don’t have to worry about running out, you just have to make sure you’re always gathering the ingredients needed to craft them! You can also now press and hold ZL which zooms you into first person – pretty cool little feature. Also, that button can be used to zoom and focus on a specific Pokémon that’s in your sights.
- CUSTOMISATION!! As you can see, I’m excited about this one. I LOVE me some good game character customisation and this game provides it! Maybe not as in-depth as some other fantasy games. But it’s there and you can change your hair, clothing, eye colour, glasses, hats, etc.
- Story. I’m actually hooked to the story and I think it’s because this game is, essentially, a prequel. All the events that happen in this game come before the events in any other Pokémon game (as far as I’m aware). So, it’s really interesting to see where the characters and story go. But, I shall withhold on sharing any more of this so I don’t spoil you!
I’m really pleasantly surprised by this game! I was growing a bit bored with the Pokémon games as they all started to feel very much the same but this game has come along and added some new spice to the series. I’m honestly enjoying my experience so far with it, and I know I’ve barely scratched the surface, which just makes me even more excited to discover and explore the rest of the game. Have you started playing Pokémon Legends: Arceus? If so, what are your initial impressions of the game?