Pokémon Legends Arceus Preview: How does the new Pokémon video game work?

Pokémon Legends Arceus Preview: How does the new Pokémon video game work?

Pokémon Legends Arceus Preview

What is Pokémon Legends: Arceus? Great question. A little over two weeks after launch, this is by far the greatest atmosphere of secrecy the Pokémon Company has ever maintained around one of its main series titles, at least to our memory.

Preview of Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Publisher: Nintendo, The Pokémon Company Developer: Game Freak Availability: Released January 28 on Switch Finally, on the other hand, we were able to take an extended preview look at the last "Explainer", and that gave us a little better idea of ​​what this game really is. This is in any case a "hands-off" based on the trailer that was released to the public today, and we haven't had the opportunity to ask any questions whatsoever, meaning we can't really formulate critical views on how the project is taking shape.

What we can do, however, is to explain all the mechanics as completely as possible. So let's not waste any more time: what exactly is Pokémon Legends: Arceus?

Watch on YouTube. Apparently, "Legends" is a cross between a traditional Pokémon game from the main series and the formula behind Monster Hunter. The premise is that we will play as a new recruit of the Galaxy Expedition Team, an organization that has just arrived in the Hisui region, which is an ancient version of the fourth generation protagonist area currently known as Sinnoh. We will join the Galaxy Survey Corps, one of the groups the team is divided into (there is also a Medical Corps and a Security Corps, for example), and our job as a member of the Survey Corps will be to conduct research on wild Pokémon. Hisui, gradually building the region's first Pokédex himself.

This is just the first of many new features compared to the usual games of the main series. In light of the fact that we will be creating, rather than just completing, the Pokédex, catching a single Pokémon of a particular species will not completely fill its page on the Pokédex. Catching a Pokémon will add some information to its page - a literally handwritten page - and we'll have to complete several research tasks (an obvious link to Pokémon Go) for the local professor to find out more. These tasks include things like catching a number of Pokémon, feeding them different types of food, watching them use certain moves in battle a number of times, or watching them show "certain behaviors". Doing so apparently increases that Pokémon's research level in the Pokédex, until its page is fully completed. , as it guarantees something called "Research Points". When we have accumulated enough, we will get a star that indicates that the rank has increased (in the last trailer there are no stars, but they are clearly visible in the Japanese trailer released a few days ago). What that rank actually means, and what it allows to do, is not yet clear.

It may be, for example, that the unlocking of Hisui's new areas is related to this particular rank. It is not yet known how to advance in the different sections of the game world, but from the trailer it can be seen that there are a handful of large areas similar to biomes in the borders of the region, and the latter are divided into many other sub-areas. "The Obsidian Fieldlands", for example, is the grassy biome made up of woods and meadows that has been shown in most of the gameplay footage seen so far, and features around 25 sub-areas judging by the appearance of the world map. .

Exploration seems to be a fundamental part of the adventure, but apparently in a simpler and more direct way than other similar titles. Rumor has it that Jubilife City is the only Sinnoh city present and, in keeping with the handcrafted theme of the historical period in which the game is set, we will have to manually place waypoints on the map to remember things we have discovered or have heard of. We noticed some indicators showing the location of special Pokémon, particular targets, and even certain trees, and briefly talked about a feature that tracks our movements around the world. It all seems very similar to the functioning of the Sheikah Tablet, which you will remember in case you have played a "little known" work that responds to the name of Breath of the Wild. Except that in Pokémon Legends this is called Arc Phone, which is definitely a reference to the legendary Pokémon that gives the work its name.

Here is a map of the Obsidian Fieldlands and its sub-areas. As we already knew, there are several rideable Pokémon: the new Pokémon Basculegion for crossing the water, Weirdeer for riding fast on the ground (and apparently navigating hard-to-reach spots on mountain slopes), and Hisui's Braviary for "soaring" through the game world. (Keep in mind that "Soaring" is the term in the Pokémon universe for the operation of flying "manually" in the sky, as in the post-game phases Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, in contrast to the fast travel system that in these titles are indicated by the "Flight"). These are special unique Pokémon that have received "blessings" of some kind that allow them to use these abilities. Gaining access to these moves could be an alternative method of slowly unlocking progress in the world - after all, the main series Pokémon games have always had a hint of Metroidvania structure thanks to the implementation of HMs.

In anyway, we know that the progression system is somehow tied to the completion of missions. These represent the objectives that advance the main story as we complete them, and some were briefly shown on screen throughout the trailer. Another kind of tasks that will be assigned to us are the Requests, which come from different NPCs and generally seem to be based on the capture of standard wild Pokémon: the examples shown concern the discovery of a specific Pokémon, the search for particular objects, the defeat of certain Pokémon in battle, catching a certain number of Pokémon of a specific species, or even just one to give or show to a person, like the Shinx shown in the trailer.

This dude wants to check it out to a large Buizel, asking you to catch one of a certain size. The other fundamental element of the overworld is the addition of "raw materials" which are used for a new crafting system. These include previously seen items such as Berries and Apricorns as well as some additions such as "Tumblestones". There seem to be some new methods of obtaining these items as well: it is possible to throw a Poké Ball containing a member of our team at a pile of weird looking crystals, and the Pokémon will jump out and give it a hit, gathering the resources it they detach from it. In the same way we will be able to drop objects from trees thanks to Pokémon, or collect them from patches of tall grass, not to mention that they are left as drops by defeated or captured wild Pokémon. Once we have enriched the Pokédex page for a Pokémon, it will show which items they "drop" in the wild. We also noticed the presence of a couple of recipes: to build a Poké Ball you need an Apricorn and a Tumblestone, while to synthesize a Potion you need a Baccharan and a Medicinal Leek.

Speaking of Poké Balls, the capture works very differently than any other previous Pokémon game. It's the fruit of a seamless transition from wandering the world, looking for a Pokémon, to trying to catch it, but there are some crucial mechanics to keep in mind. You can sneak up on Pokémon before throwing a Poké Ball, and being able to do a "back shot" - literally hitting them in the back with a hand-thrown ball - will apparently have a better chance of catching them. You can also take advantage of baits, such as berries or other items, that Pokémon will eat, making them much easier to catch. We noticed a number of notifications popping up at the top left, and some of them required you to feed a specific Pokémon and catch it a number of times, tasks that are apparently part of the research process.

The wild Pokémon themselves , however, they adopt different behaviors: a Bidoof for example will ignore us, allowing us to calmly approach it; Starly will be circumspect and will run away as soon as we are spotted; Shinx will have aggressive behavior, and will attack anyone who approaches on sight. Pokémon that choose to attack go into a kind of alert state, whereby any Poké Balls thrown at them will simply bounce without having any effect. We will first have to engage them in battle with our Pokémon, after which we can throw a Poké Ball at any time, and obviously that of weakening them without knocking them out seems to have remained the best option. We will also have to be very careful not to be attacked when we are alone, which is a major change from any previous game in the series. Any Pokémon with an aggressive temperament will attack on sight and can KO us, and at that point we will lose some items before returning to base.

Some can manage to knock us out very easily, especially the new Alpha Pokémon. These are much larger and stronger versions of Pokémon that can be recognized by bright red eyes - one example featured in the video is a giant Walrein, while others recently shown include Snorlax, Electivire, Garchomp, and many more. Walrein Alpha's attack knocked out the protagonist's Raichu in one fell swoop and damaged the protagonist at the same time, so even during the battle phase one can never feel completely safe. According to the latest information, these Alpha Pokémon will become "very strong" allies if we manage to catch them, although it is unclear whether this is due to higher stats, stronger moves or something as yet unknown.

The battles they will still be a central element of the game. It seems that the vast majority of the fights we will face will be against wild Pokémon, because there has only been a brief mention of battling other trainers on the official Pokémon Legends website - but interestingly, no reference has been made to the possibility. to fight other human trainers in multiplayer (however, you can trade Pokémon with other players via an area of ​​Jubilife City). The real big change, however, is in the combat system itself.

This is still based on a turn-based formula, but the turn order can be manipulated by the player (or his opponent) by changing different "battle styles" during combat, and the order of actions is displayed in Final Fantasy X style to the right of the HUD. Most, or perhaps all, of the moves can be used in Agility Style or Strength Style. Agility increases speed at the expense of damage, which means you are likely to get a second move after one done in Agility style; Those Strengths, on the other hand, seem to do the opposite, slowing us down but allowing us to inflict much more damage in one fell swoop. In the Explainer video the trainer uses the Agility Style to execute a move, gaining a second one to use immediately after, for which he switches to the Strength Style in order to deal massive damage, which seems like a useful combo to keep in mind (assuming the extra damage from Strength is not offset by weaker damage from Agility).

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Last but not least, towards the end of the trailer we see yet another playthrough of the battle with the "Frenzied Noble Kleavor". In case you are unaware, there are a handful of "Noble" Pokémon in the Hisui region, but something has set them on a rampage, which means they will attack aggressively on sight. These are essentially boss battles reminiscent of Sun and Moon Totem Pokémon, even if you participate in much more elaborate real-time actions, and our task at the beginning will be to avoid their powerful well-telegraphed attacks by returning fire. with "Balms" made with their favorite foods, presumably after doing some research to find out what those favorite foods are.

We'll throw dozens of these little food bags at them until they let their guard down for a while ', and only at that point will we be able to with the Pokémon team up to zero their temporary health bar. They'll be stunned, we'll throw some more conditioner at them, and we'll have to repeat the whole process a couple of times. In theory this is an exciting feature, dodging powerful attacks from wild Pokémon in the guise of a relatively fragile trainer, although it is hoped that in practice the boss fights are slightly more varied than shown in the videos. We also heard the protagonist emit a few grunts when hit, which officially represents the first time a main series Pokémon protagonist makes a real sound (!).

Put all these mechanics and Pokémon Legends together: Arceus will sound like a small revolution to longtime gamers. The structure of Monster Hunter, some elements of Breath of the Wild, a vast grassy world to fly over and the unparalleled charm of the Pokémon themselves are the essential elements behind the project. This last consideration is worth mentioning in a whisper: there is also a hint of charm in the watercolor aesthetic that is well suited to the limited technical scope of these titles, which is a little better than some recent "plasticky" interpretations. by Game Freak and company. Sometimes Pokémon Legends: Arceus even gets to look pretty cute. We don't want to get too out of balance - after all there are fifteen days to go and no one has played it in person yet - but can you tell us we're pretty excited?

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