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Pokémon Legends Arceus

Three keys to Pokémon Legends Arceus before release

We've witnessed a brief presentation to uncover some of the secrets hiding within Hisui and the first Pokédex ever.

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Very soon, Pokémon trainers from all around the world will get back to their Nintendo Switches to explore the Hisui region and to build the first Pokédex in history. Pokémon Legends Arceus releases on January 28 with a formula that is far away from the traditional main entries to the franchise, and we've been able to attend a hands-off presentation to see and learn more about this sort of renaissance for the series.

Pokémon Legends Arceus

Now, you'll have to wait for our full review later in the month to get a firm verdict, but for now we have a couple of new things to tell you about. These are the three bullet points we gathered from the new footage:

1. Hisui is bigger and more alive than meets the eye

Hisui is large, more than we originally thought. We won't be able to explore it freely as we'll need to select the destination area every time we leave Jubilife Village, but the map we've seen is by no means small.

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The use of markers and the map/player relation are good indicators, which, together with the fact that you can switch mounts on the fly by pressing a button, shows that the devs wants players to navigate the world with ease.

Pokémon Legends ArceusPokémon Legends Arceus

This all happens while the Pokémon wander around naturally, as they might flee, come closer, or attack once you approach them. It might not be the most spectacular game on the Switch at a technical level (keep an ear on its OST though as it may surprise), but it does create an interesting atmosphere, a lively and more organic world compared to the mainline series. That wasn't difficult, though.

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2. It encourages exploration

We still don't know if there will be more towns to visit other than Jubilife Village, which is the main location and the operation centre of the game. However, Pokémon Legends wants players to explore the wilder side of Hisui.

By building the first Pokédex our trainer levels up, which gradually unlocks new locales at Jubilife Village. Besides, there are all sorts of quests acting as a excuse for you to visit forests, meadows, snowy peaks, volcanoes, deserts, or lakes.

Pokémon Legends ArceusPokémon Legends ArceusPokémon Legends Arceus

Then there are the tasks or errands (side quests), though so far they didn't seem very inventive. Fortunately, for each trek you'll gather resources and get to revisit certain areas at different times and weather conditions. The latter impacts the creatures you'll find, and it'll keep our interest for longer if it's well balanced. That will be key to the game's success, as completing the Pokédex requires repetition, and that's never good.

3. Pokémon Legends: Arceus will not be easy

You spot a monster, throw your Poké Ball, fight! Combat won't be a walk in the park in Pokémon Legends. Combining the elemental types with the new Agile and Strong styles will be crucial, as not only do you need to find weaknesses and strengths, you also need to keep turn-managing in mind, and to use the items (purchased or crafted on the work bench) wisely.

Pokémon Legends Arceus

Besides, the player character can actually be damaged if a Pokémon attacks them, to the point of fainting and losing items, and some creatures are quite strong. In a combat versus an Alpha Walrein (dominant Pokémon) at level 50, we've seen them beat a level 54 Raichu with a single blow.

It'll be worth tackling these challenges, as then these stronger Pokémon could join our party. It will be rewarding, and that is something that will probably please those fans who have been asking for more difficulty for years.

Pokémon Legends Arceus

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Pokémon Legends ArceusScore

Pokémon Legends Arceus

REVIEW. Written by Jakob Hansen

The Pokémon series finally takes a bold step in a new, exciting direction, but also leaves a lot behind.

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