Pokémon Legends Arceus: Story Details, New Trailer & Gameplay Revealed

Pokemon Legends Arceus Release Date Trailer Gameplay Story
We finally got our real first gameplay-look at Pokémon Legends: Arceus. | © Nintendo, Kelvin Trainerk

We got some new Pokémon Legends: Arceus details and a new trailer for the upcoming game during the Pokémon Presents. Gamefreaks finally revealed some gameplay features of the new Pokémon open-world game.

So the Pokémon Presents ran for 30 minutes and for about ten of those, we got some juicy new details on Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Let's tackle this one swiftly – I'll bullet point the major details for you, and then we'll dive into The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Pokémon Arceus.

Pokémon Legends Arceus Quick Notes

  • You can fly with Pokémon similarly to gliding in Breath of the Wild
  • You can ride and surf Pokémon
  • Pokémon fight with two styles: Strong and agile
  • You manually catch Pokémon and engage in battle by throwing your Pokéball
  • There will be no ranked mode

Pokémon Legends Arceus Gameplay

The Good

The most interesting and exciting thing is easily the ability to fly, ride and surf Pokémon. This is, naturally, very, very reminiscent of Breath of the Wild's mechanics of traversing the wilds. Whereas in BotW you use a glider, horse or your own arms and legs, you use Pokémon for all these things in Arceus. This is hardly a surprise, as this has long been a staple of Pokémon, but actually riding around on a Pokémon in an open-world... not gonna lie, that's pretty hype.

The Bad

It does seem like flying, riding and surfing are only limited to three Pokémon: Hisuian Braviary, Wyrdeer and Basculegion. I really, really do hope that's not the case. We've all long imagined riding our favorite Pokémon (wait... that came out wrong...) or surfing on Kyogre. Limiting us to just three Pokémon would be extremely disappointing.

The Ugly

The frames per seconds seem better than before, but the entire game still looks stiff and lifeless. The animations are far from pretty, and it all seems lackluster. Considering that Breath of the Wild 2 looks breathtaking (no pun intended) and is currently actually being developed at the exact same time, on the exact same hardware... this is just not acceptable for Pokémon Legends: Arceus. As far as visuals go, this performance is mailed in, and it is sad to have to state the fact that this game looks much worse than even the first Breath of the Wild that was released years ago did. From the sparse environments to the stiff animations, there is nothing visually appealing to be found here.

Pokémon Legends Arceus Story

The Good

There actually seems to be a cool story and world in place: You play in the Hizui region, which will later become the Sinnoh region we all know. Your task is to complete the first Pokédex and to do so, you can employ the help of various corps like the security corps or the survey corps. It is not stated if you can join said crops, but being able to do so would certainly add cool RPG-elements.

Other than that, we now know that you are based and operating out of Jubalife village, as you try to bring Pokémon and humans together – this is especially pressing since an evil godly force seems to turn Pokémon evil: They are an actual menace, and you are an actual solution to a real problem. There are a lot of elements in place here for a cool story, and I really hope Pokémon Legends: Arceus delivers.

The Bad

We've seen this all before in Breath of the Wild. The evil force, the Pokémon turning evil or more dangerous within certain cycles... this has the Calamity from Zelda written all over it.

The Ugly

From what we've seen in the second trailer, the world doesn't seem very populated. This is especially troubling since this game wears its Breath of the Wild copy-paste on its sleeve. Thus, Arceus will forever be compared to the last and upcoming Zelda entry and this has me worried: The village looks more lifeless than the deadest of villages in Breath of the Wild and the story has the makings of a carbon-copy, which wouldn't be ideal, as storytelling is the one thing where BotW didn't excel at. We really hope that Gamefreaks showed us (yet another) very early access and limited trailer, or else, everything that could be good about Arceus can turn ugly with a quickness.

Pokémon Legends Arceus Combat

The Good

The battle system has some neat features to it, with the strong and agile style: You can choose which style your Pokémon choose to attack with – strong goes for higher damage, while agile will allow for several attacks in one turn. Also, getting into battles seems a lot smoother, since you know have to manually throw your Pokémon-containing Pokéball next to the wild Pokémon you want to fight.

Another cool thing is the fact that you can be hurt by wild Pokémon if they catch you in-person while you're sneaking up on them, or if they just happen to be aggressive enough to do it for no reason. Oh yeah, I should've mentioned that before: Pokémon have different traits now – some will not attack and will actually trust you, while others will just run away while you sneak through grass. Love that.

The Bad

Agile and strong style aren't exactly a tactical revolution, and it's worrying that not much else might have changed about the battles. Also, the wildlife mechanics are super cool in theory, but seem lackluster in their implementation: Pokémon are just bunched together in an area and roaming around aimlessly. I really hope they will have more life to them and also engage in battles and activities amongst each other, rather than just wandering around for no reason other than being caught or interacted with. Again: The whole trailer feels lifeless, and the Walking-Dead-Pokémon we see in it are a major reason for that.

The Ugly

The throwing animation still looks like utter, utter trash. For a game that revolves around throwing a Pokéball, I can't figure out why Pokémon has the worst throwing animation in any game ever. Period.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus Trailer


All in all... well, make of this what you will. I'm hyped, still, but at the same time, I'm aware that it is nostalgia and brand-loyalty that might be selling this one for me. From a neutral point of view, Arceus has the looks of an outdated game, or, to put it bluntly: It looks like a cheap Breath of the Wild knock-off cash-grab with monster-hunting mechanics.

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