Pokemon Legends: Arceus injected some much-needed life into the Pokemon franchise. Fans have long clamored for an open-world Pokemon game, and with Legends: Arceus, Game Freak finally delivered. In Legends: Arceus, trainers visit Hisui, a past iteration of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl’s Sinnoh region, complete with an aesthetic straight out of feudal Japan. The time-traveling trainer helps the Diamond and Pearl clans complete a rudimentary Pokedex and uncovers the region’s folklore and mysteries.
The game achieved critical and commercial success thanks to its new, open-world gameplay formula, new mechanics such as Alpha Pokemon and crafting, improved graphics and animations, especially when compared to other Switch Pokemon games, and its new take on battle mechanics. The game set a high standard for future Pokemon games which unfortunately hasn’t been reached since.
However, while most of the gameplay elements remain the same from past Pokemon entries, there are quite a few differences between past games and Legends: Arceus. As such, it might not be right for everyone. Here are 3 reasons you should avoid Pokemon Legends: Arceus.
Reason 1: It’s Challenging
Immediately, it’s clear that Legends: Arceus is a different beast (no pun intended) altogether. Your Pokemon are always at risk of fainting, even when battling lower-level Pokemon. When battling Pokemon of the same level, you’re always at risk of getting one-shotted. Against higher-level Pokemon, you’re at a serious disadvantage, even if you have a favorable type. In some cases, you will have to battle multiple Pokemon at once thanks to the open world. They can gang up on your single Pokemon and faint them before you can act.
Even more fearsome are Alpha Pokemon, the game’s new Pokemon mechanic. Alpha Pokemon are larger than typical Pokemon of the species, have glowing red eyes, and are very aggressive. If an Alpha Pokemon has you in its sights, it will chase you down and try to attack you no matter what. Alpha Pokemon are also at higher levels than the other wild Pokemon found in the area, which can spell doom for your low-level team. They are also often surrounded by regular Pokemon, meaning you may not be in for a fair fight against this superpowered foe.
In Legends: Arceus, wild Pokemon can attack your player character, setting it apart from other games. If you take too much damage from wild Pokemon, your character can black out and lose items. Luckily, other players can retrieve your items for you. However, you’re at the mercy of others to get your hard-earned materials back. You can also take fall damage from navigating the open world, which can also cause you to black out.
Lastly, the game’s combat system can create a challenging situation for players. New features added to Legends: Arceus are the updated turn-based combat system and the introduction of move “Styles.” There are two different Styles available: Strong Style and Agile Style. Agile Style moves hit weaker but can allow Pokemon to act sooner than if they used the move regularly. On the opposite side, Strong Style moves hit much harder but force the Pokemon to take longer to act. If you’re not careful, opposing Pokemon can utilize these styles to defeat yours.
There’s a lot here and while it sounds daunting, in practice it’s not really that bad once you get used to the increased difficulty. However, if you’re someone who isn’t a Pokemon Master or would prefer to steamroll through your Pokemon experience, then Legends: Arceus probably isn’t for you.
Reason 2: It’s A True Open World RPG
Legends: Arceus isn’t a traditional Pokemon RPG game. It provides an open-world experience with a hub world and vast, open maps that you can travel to. The in-game reason for this is that, of course, humanity hasn’t created the cities and towns that populate older Pokemon titles. After completing their “mission,” the player must return to home base.
Players face open wilderness, rough terrain, and few chances to rest and stock up on items once they enter these wild areas. There are some base camps, but the items and services they provide are minuscule. This is especially true when compared to modern Pokemon Centers and PokeMarts. Players can also establish new bases to make it easier to travel the map in the future.
But don’t worry — there are plenty of ways to maneuver around Hisui. Rather than use a bicycle, you’ll use a Wyrdeer and Ursaluna as your mounts. You can even fly around on a Braviary or use a Sneasler to climb walls. You can utilize these Pokemon to help you explore new areas and gather resources. You’ll need plenty of resources to craft items like Pokeballs and Potions.
Money is hard to come by early on. As such, crafting will be the only way you’ll have access to healing and battle items. If you don’t take some time to gather resources, you may find yourself without certain items. This can put you in a precarious situation if your Pokemon need healing. If you’re not a fan of gathering and crafting, and would rather just buy your items from a Pokemart, then Legends: Arceus may not be for you.
Reason 3: This Is Your First Pokemon Game
If you’re considering Legends: Arceus as your first Pokemon game, you may want to reconsider. This game assumes you have already played at least one prior Pokemon game and have a basic understanding of types, moves, battle mechanics, and the game’s lore, especially those found in Pokemon Diamond & Pearl. Since the game is a prequel to Diamond & Pearl, many of the landmarks and legendary Pokemon featured would go over a new player’s head, which could make things more challenging in the long run.
If you haven’t played any other Pokemon games, we recommend playing Pokemon Sword & Shield or Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl first before diving into Legends: Arceus. These games are much easier and are closer to traditional Pokemon games than Legends: Arceus. Once you establish a Pokemon knowledge base, you should definitely give Legends: Arceus a spin.
Should You Play Pokemon Legends: Arceus?
If you’re on the fence about playing Legends: Arceus, then you should absolutely play it. It’s a challenging, well-made, and well-polished Pokemon game amidst a generation full of buggy messes that may be a little too easy, even for children’s games. Once you get a hang of how the game operates, you’ll be rewarded with a thrilling narrative, fun mechanics, a beautiful world that’s yours to explore, and a Pokemon game that will actually push back for once.
However, if you’re someone who’s sheepish when it comes to challenges, isn’t a fan of open-world RPG mechanics, or haven’t played a Pokemon game before, then Legends: Arceus probably isn’t for you. This is definitely an intermediate Pokemon game. It’s not as easy as the mainline games, but it isn’t as challenging as some ROM hacks out there. If you prefer simplicity, consider sticking with the main series of games. But you’re doing yourself a disservice by not playing this game.