Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the most ambitious new Pokémon game in years, and whether you’re already into the franchise or you’re just looking on from the sidelines, this is one upcoming title you should watch.
While Pokémon games have traditionally used a very simple formula, it does appear Arceus will be the first game to break it in a massive way. With new additions like free roaming, an open world, a new combat system and intriguing new types of Pokémon, this might be the freshest and most exciting Pokémon game yet.
Here’s everything we know about Pokémon Legends: Arceus so far, including when you can grab a copy for yourself.
When is Pokémon Legends: Arceus set?
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a prequel story set in “an age long ago when it was rare for people and Pokémon to live in close harmony”. It takes place in the unique Hisui region, which later came to be known as Sinnoh (where Diamond and Pearl take place).
You’ll start as a junior Pokémon trainer and researcher in Jubilife Village, and work as part of Galaxy Team, an operation studying the nature of Pokémon and the beautiful surrounds of Hisui.
As you survey your surrounding towns, you’ll encounter new Pokémon, discover beautiful locations and work on completing your region’s first ever Pokédex.
According to the game’s official website, Arceus will connect directly with Diamond and Pearl (which also explains the appearance of those remasters), but where your journey will take you and how they connect is still a mystery.
Is Pokémon Legends: Arceus an open world game?
This one is a bit of strange. While fans initially assumed Pokémon Legends: Arceus was open world due to the game’s sweeping trailers and beautiful locales, a newly reveal map seems to imply parts of the map will be segmented.
It is coming increasingly clear that Pokémon Legends Arceus may not be full open world but rather segmented open areas like Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Monster Hunter etc. separated into different areas like the Wild Area/Crown Tundra did
I'm fine with this really. pic.twitter.com/llpCUUvQGx
— Joe Merrick (@JoeMerrick) September 30, 2021
The game’s official description states players will need to rank up to unlock new areas, so it’s likely these segments will actually split up the game’s world into smaller, more manageable pieces. The more you level up, the more you’ll be able to explore.
While we only have assumptions to go off for now, it doesn’t appear the game will truly be open world. Instead, you’ll likely be able to explore smaller locales, one at a time.
Update 6/10: New details have emerged about how the map works in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. This segment has been updated to reflect this information.
Who are the starter Pokémon in Legends: Arceus?
In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, you’ll have a choice of three Pokémon starters from across multiple generations: Cyndaquil, Rowlet and Oshawott.
Oshawott is a water Pokémon that resembles a seal and hails from the Black/White/Black 2/White 2 generation (V).
Rowlet is a grass Pokémon that looks like an owl and hails from the Sun/Moon/Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon generation (VII).
Finally, Cyndaquil is a fire Pokémon that looks like an anteater and hails from the Gold/Silver/Crystal generation (II).
How do battles work in Pokémon Legends: Arceus?
Pokémon battles work a bit differently in Legends: Arceus than in traditional Pokémon games.
First, you’ll initiate these battles by throwing Poké Balls at Pokémon in the wild — then, you’ll be tossed into a turn-based battle where moves are determined by power, rather than turns.
While past games featured balanced turns, Legends: Arceus now lets players take more or less turns based on their Pokémon’s power level, which can make strategising against more powerful Pokémon trickier.
In addition to regular battles, you’ll also face off against ‘Alpha’ Pokémon, which are larger and have red, glowing eyes. These will chase you down and attack you as you explore, but are more powerful than regular Pokémon companions if you can catch them.
To gain an advantage, you’ll need to deploy new ‘agile style’ moves to speed up your Pokémon or ‘strong style’ moves to increase your Pokémon’s power.
This will also come in handy during the game’s new boss fights, which require trainers to go head-to-head with Pokémon in completely new fashion (as seen in the new trailer below).
Is Pokémon Legends: Arceus multiplayer?
So far, not much is known about the multiplayer component of Pokémon Legends: Arceus. It does appear you’ll be able to trade Pokémon with friends (via Nintendo Switch Online), but beyond this, no other multiplayer features have been detailed.
This is a major change from Pokémon games of the past, where battling was a key element. We may hear more closer to release, but for now it does appear the game has limited multiplayer functionality.
What new features are in Pokémon Legends: Arceus?
Pokémon Legends: Arceus appears to be jam-packed with new features that’ll change everything you know about the world of Pokémon.
The first major change is to the battle system, as detailed above. It’ll be more strategic this go around and feature the debut appearance of those tougher ‘Alpha’ Pokémon. Then, there are also new ‘boss’ battles, where trainers will be required to calm down raging Pokémon in one-on-one battles (see the video above for how this plays out).
The Pokédex has also changed in Arceus. While you’ll catch Pokémon as usual, you’ll also need to complete research tasks to really flesh out your Pokédex and gain all the knowledge you need to progress.
Another new feature that should help you along the way is the Celestia Flute, a special item that lets you ride Pokémon across plains, through water and into the skies. This functions similarly to the HMs of the past, with a neat little twist that should make exploration more fun.
This time, there’s also a new crafting system that lets you create your own items — and these items will help you distract and confuse Pokémon while you’re tracking them in the world.
Everything here sounds very neat, and these features should make for great additions to the Pokémon franchise. Luckily, we don’t have to wait too long to see all this goodness in action.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus Release Date
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is currently set to release on January 28, 2022, exclusively on Nintendo Switch.
The Best Prices for Pokémon Legends: Arceus in Australia
If you’re looking to grab a copy for yourself, the current cheapest price is $68 at Amazon. Most other stores have it for around $69, so you won’t be too out of pocket if you’d prefer to walk into a store on launch day.
Stay tuned to Kotaku Australia for more news and updates on Pokémon Legends: Arceus as we get closer to release.