we have seen it up close

2022 promises to be a great year for the current generation of video games, and things begin to get interesting already in the first month of the year, even for the now veteran hybrid from Nintendo.

In fact, on January 28th, it will hit shelves all over the world Pokémon Legends: Arceus, highly anticipated chapter of the famous series, obviously exclusively Nintendo Switch. The game will bring future coaches in the ancient region of Hisui, what will later become the Sinnoh recently seen in Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl.

Pending the review, we were invited by Nintendo and The Pokémon Company ad an exclusive presentation of the game, where we had the opportunity to review the key elements of the title, including information already known and some small news. We are therefore ready to tell you everything we have seen, waiting to finally get your hands on the game.

From Giubilo Village to Hisui’s exploration

From a narrative point of view, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a kind of prequel to Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl; in this episode, in fact, we will find ourselves exploring the region of Hisui, the name by which the current Sinnoh was once known.

Precisely for this time gap, we will not have to deal with gym leaders to defeat and medals to collect, nor with PokéDex to complete. Our task, in fact, will be instead that of contribute to the making of the first PokéDex, in a totally new Pokémon world compared to what we are used to knowing, where Pokémon Center, Pokémon Market and all the rest did not yet exist.

Our story will start from Villaggio Giubilo, which will be the center of our operations. Pokémon Legends: Arceus, in fact, it abandons the linear structure of the classic titles of the series (an exasperated element in the latest Pokémon Sword and Shield) to take an approach closer to the open world. At Villaggio Giubilo, therefore, we will be able to carry out various activities and take advantage of the numerous services available.

For example, here we will find a clothes shop to spruce up our protagonist at will, or a hairdresser to change his cut. Above all, however, it will be here that they will come to us entrust the missions to be accomplished to Hisui, which will be divided between main and secondary. The former, of course, will serve to advance the plot, while the latter will be entrusted to us by the NPCs present in the village to obtain rewards.

In the presentation we were told that the missions can be of various types: for example, we may have to capture or defeat a certain Pokémon, find a certain object or obtain more specimens of the same species. We do not know what and how many other types of missions there will be, nor how much they will be able to entertain pads in hand: surely, this is one of the biggest challenges for Pokémon Legends: Arceus, given that this type of structure had never been used in a title of the series, and the risk of falling into the most classic errors of the open world is concrete.

In the course of the game we will be assigned different missions.

Once the mission is in charge, we will be able to consult the mysterious arc phone to keep track of it: it will show us a map of Hisui and will allow us to put tokens and, more generally, to keep track of our path.

And this will be key, because Hisui still is a wilderness compared to civilized Sinnoh we met in Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl. The region will be divided into several freely explorable zones, each of which will offer a different ecosystem.

We will have to be constantly attentive to what surrounds us, because by interacting with elements such as trees, rocks and plants we will be able to collect useful items for crafting. This is also a totally new mechanic for Pokémon: we will be able to manufacture heals, lures, smoke bombs and Poké Balls, among other things.

To explore the region we will not have to rely only on our strength: some Pokémon, in fact, will allow us to climb on them to help us in our adventure. We will be able to sail the skies with Braviary, run with Wyrdeer and sail the waters with Basculegion, among others. In this case, more than a real novelty it is an adaptation of a classic mechanic for the series to the open world approach, certainly something that fans will welcome with pleasure.

A PokéDex to build

Obviously, the wild Hisui will be populated with many Pokémon, which roam free around the region. Not all Pokémon will react in the same way to our presence: the Starlys, for example, will tend to flee when they notice us, while others will ignore us or, worse, be irritated by our invasion of their territory.

Both in the case in which we intend to capture a Pokémon, and in the case in which we want to face it in battle we will have to approach it with caution, trying not to be seen and to exploit the element of surprise to our advantage. In some cases, in fact, not being seen will allow us to capture the Pokémon without having to fight it first, or it can give us a preemptive attack in battle.

Unlike the classic chapters, here the Pokémon spin freely on the map, and will attack the player directly if they feel provoked. If we run out of HP, we will lose consciousness and also some of the items we kept in our pockets.

For this reason, once engaged in a fight, we will have to turn to our trusty Pokémon as soon as possible. Once the orb is thrown near the wild Pokémon to be fought, the combat, which will happen in turns just like the canon for the series.

Some Pokémon will require special strategies to be tamed.

This does not mean, however, that there are no differences: there are, and how. The battle system is indeed very different, because the turn-based system is affected by a reload speed for moves. This means that the fastest Pokémon will also be able to attack twice in a row: an apparently small novelty, but which will completely change the strategic approach to battles.

Each move, in fact, can be used in two ways: Strong and Agile. The first will give you more power, but in exchange for a longer recharge time for the next move; the second, on the other hand, will do exactly the opposite. We will, of course, have to decide what is the best approach for a given battle, based on the moment and the opponent we will face.

In the course of our adventure, in addition to normal wild Pokémon we will also find some particular Pokémon. One typology is i Pokémon alpha, specimens characterized by a greater tonnage than the standard of their species and by the red color of the eyes.

These Pokémon will be particularly challenging to deal with, because they have greater strength; if we manage to defeat them, however, they can add weight to our team.

In addition to them, in Hisui we will also find the so-called noble Pokémon. These Pokémon have lost their minds due to a mysterious phenomenon, and we we will have the task of calming them. To do this, it will not be enough to defeat them or capture them: we will have to hit them with preparations based on their favorite foods, while we will have to be careful of their attacks. Once they let their guard down, we can finally face them in battle.

Waiting for the exit

This is the sum of what we have seen: if you have followed carefully Pokémon Legends: Arceus up to now, you will have realized that no huge changes have been revealed compared to what we already knew. The presentation, however, served to put the pieces back together, especially for those who may have missed some of the details revealed in small doses over the last year.

That said, the game continues to intrigue us, but many doubts also remain which will be answered only at the time of the review. Will the missions be varied enough and, above all, fun? Will Hisui be full of activity in every corner or will there be dead zones? Will there be secondary activities, unrelated to capture and battles, able to push the player to explore the whole region?

Ambition is not lacking in the latest creature of Game Freak: we will see how much it can do with what it promises, and what its impact will be on the future of the series.

In conclusion

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is confirmed to be an intriguing and ambitious title, which promises to rewrite, at least in part, the canon of this historic series. That said, many doubts still remain, mainly related to the open world mechanics, an absolute novelty for Game Freak, and to their resistance during the adventure in terms of fun and involvement.

The appointment now is therefore with the review, which you can obviously read on our pages over the next few weeks.

If you want to secure your copy of Pokémon Legends: Arceus on day one, we advise you to pre-order at the guaranteed minimum price.

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