Alpha Pokemon make for the most memorable and rewarding encounters in Pokemon Legends Arceus

Pokemon Legends: Arceus
(Image credit: Nintendo )

A highlight of my time with Pokemon Legends: Arceus has been encountering Chansey. The adorable pink egg Pokemon has always been a favorite of mine, and the thought of finding one out in the wild was one of the reasons I was so excited to jump into Game Freak's latest adventure. After all, you can physically see Pokemon roaming around in the wild in the Hisui region, which makes it all the more exhilarating when you do meet with a critter you have your heart set on catching. The first Chansey I happen to run into, though, is unlike any I've seen before. The familiar pink form stops me dead in my tracks. As well as being far larger than normal, I catch sight of her intimating fiery red eyes that can only mean one thing: This is an alpha Chansey. I have to catch it… but if only it were that easy.  

Gotta catch 'em all  

Pokemon Legends: Arceus

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Alphas are newly introduced variants in Pokemon Legends: Arceus that I just can't get enough of. In fact, I would go as far as to say they're one of the best additions – presenting a satisfying new challenge for long-time Trainers. As bigger and stronger versions of Pokemon, alphas can really pack a punch if you aren't prepared to face them. The wild might they possess also means they're much tougher to catch, making them highly covetable additions to your team.

So when I do happen to stumble upon Chansey, I can't quite believe my luck. There was no way I was going to let this opportunity pass me by. A wave of determination washes over me at the thought of having her join my little team; I've never wanted to catch a Pokemon more than I do at this moment. The trouble is, this giant Chansey is 10 levels higher than me. From past experiences of being almost entirely wiped out in battle against other alphas, I know this is not going to be an easy task. 

Since you can actually see Pokemon out in the wild, much like you can in Pokemon Sword and Shield, Arceus offers up different approaches to taking on battles and using your Pokeballs. You can run straight up and start battling, or you can opt to be stealthy and catch them by surprise. I often go for the latter and make use of tall grass to sneak up close. It tends to pay off if you do throw a Pokeball from behind since you're more likely to catch your target, and this tactic also gives an advantage if you initiate a battle. But with an aggressive nature, alphas will attack you on sight, which can make approaches tricky to pull off. Time and again I find that the power and nature of alphas encourage me to spend more time thinking about the best strategy to take, which is why it's so rewarding whenever I do see my efforts pay off. 

Memorable moments

"Alpha encounters are always far more memorable – even if that's because they sometimes scare the hell out of you."

I find Chansey on a little island with a conveniently placed patch of grass that makes for the perfect hiding spot. When I get right up close, I look up in awe. I never in my wildest dreams thought this sweet round Pokemon would intimidate me, but alpha Chansey is another story. There's no escaping the fact that alphas can be downright terrifying when you see them roaming around. They range in size depending on the Pokemon in question, but each and every one is big enough that they never fail to grab your attention. When they're hot on your heels with the glow of their red eyes looking right at you, it's pretty unsettling. Sometimes it feels like they're there to remind you of just how small you really are… and how dangerous the world of Pokemon Legends: Arceus is. 

Even if they have all the ingredients for nightmare fuel, I still never tire of seeing supersized versions of my favorite Pocket Monsters. It's a similar kind of thrill to seeing the Dynamax and Gigantamax forms in Pokemon Sword and Shield. I mean, who wouldn't want to go to a stadium and see a Pikachu that's the size of a small house, or a colossal Gigantamax version Alcremie that looks like a towering, multi-tiered cake? Sure, the alphas aren't nearly as big in comparison, but they're still very large compared to you in the game world. From seeing a sizable Psyduck waddle by a nearby lake to finding an absolute unit of a Bidoof (now lovingly called Loaf) bounding around in woods, alpha encounters are always far more memorable – even if that's because they sometimes scare the hell out of you. 

My meeting with alpha Chansey is definitely one I know I won't forget any time soon, and not only because of her imposing size. After throwing many Pokeballs from the grass in an attempt to catch the large pink egg, there's nothing else for it. I have to engage in battle. Lots of my Pokemon don't stand much of a chance against her might, but I eventually get her health right down and fling who knows how many more Pokeballs her way in the process. The battle goes on for what feels like an eternity… In fact, it goes on for so long that Chansey runs out of her own moves and resorts to using the damage inflicting Struggle to deliver the bitterest blow of all. As well as taking down my health, the pink egg hurts herself in the process. Alpha Chansey is no more. I may not have been able to catch an alpha of one of my favorite Pokemon this time, but I already know that when I do, the taste of success will be all the sweeter. 

Pokemon Legends: Arceus Starters | Pokemon Legends: Arceus Pokedex | Who is Arceus in Pokemon? 

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.