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5 ways Pokemon Legends Arceus will shake up the series' formula

Pokemon Legends Arceus
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Key Info

Pokemon Legends Arceus

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Game Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Developer
 Game Freak
Publisher Nintendo
Platforms Nintendo Switch
Release January 28, 2022

From everything we've seen so far, Pokemon Legends: Arceus looks set to be a true evolution of the long-running series many of us have come to know and love. Over the past 25 years, each core Pokemon entry has delivered an increasingly familiar formula. As we've set out to be the best trainer there ever was, we've gone up against turn-based battles, with gym leaders to defeat and a Pokedex to fill. While we've seen some slight differences throughout each release, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is bringing us an experience that will shake up some of the tried and true conventions of the series. 

Set in the distant past in Hisui, the ancient region that will someday be known as Sinnoh, the journey we're about to embark on will take us to a world of Pokemon we've never seen before. With changes to battling, a departure away from the classic trainer role, and more, here are some of the biggest ways Pokemon Legends: Arceus will take us on a different kind of adventure when it releases on January 28, 


Battle styles  

Pokemon Legends: Arceus

(Image credit: Nintendo)

In every Pokemon entry in the series so far, we've been faced with turn-based battles against fellow trainers. Pokemon Legends: Arceus, on the other hand, is putting an interesting new spin on the tried and true formula by changing up how battles play out. After entering into battle "seamlessly" by throwing out a Pokeball, your Pokemon's stats will now determine when they can perform a move instead of going turn by turn – this change means that each battle can flow differently depending on who you're up against. The introduction of Agile and Strong battle styles also offers new ways to perform and tactically make use of your Pokemon's moves for the first time. The Agile style raises the speed at which actions can be performed, but lowers the power of the moves, while Strong increases the power but lowers the speed. 

Survey Corps  

Pokemon Legends: Arceus

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Since Pokemon Legends: Arceus is taking us back to a time before it was common for Pokemon and people to live and battle together, we'll be taking on a new role in the adventure. Instead of being a trainer, we'll be joining a new organization known as the Galaxy Expedition team as a member of the survey corps. While we traditionally catch lots of Pokemon to fill in our Pokedex entries, we'll be setting out to create the first ever Pokedex. There's still lots of familiar aspects to this new role, such as aiding a professor by the name of Laventon and, of course, catching Pokemon, but this time we'll have a new goal to work towards. It's refreshing to think about the prospect of setting out on a different kind of journey that will give us insight into a different time in the history of Pokemon lore. 

Open-world areas  

Pokemon Legends Arceus

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Pokemon Company confirmed not too long ago that Pokemon Legends: Arceus will feature open-world areas. So, while it's not strictly open-world in the same way that, say, Breath of the Wild is, there will be areas we'll be free to explore as part of our role in the Survey Corps. In Pokemon Sword and Shield, we got to freely traverse Wild areas in certain parts of the Galar region, and it sounds like there's a similar set-up in Legends but in a border sense. The Hisui region is said to have diverse environments, and different Pokemon can be found and encountered in the various ecosystems of the region. What's most exciting about these open-world areas is the way we'll get to explore them. Equipped with a Celestica Flute, we can summon Pokemon who we can ride on land, in the air, and across water. 

Excursions  

Pokemon Legends Arceus

(Image credit: Nintendo)

As part of our role in the Survey Corps, Pokemon Legends: Arceus will task us with setting out on excursions to research. These excursions will give us the chance to explore the open-world areas and learn more about the Pokemon residing in the region. Jubilife village acts as a sort of home base for your operations, where you'll meet a host of different characters and visit your own lodgings. In much the same way as games past, adding to the first ever Pokedex will require catching Pokemon. With some similarities to Monster Hunter, each time you set off on a surveying mission to study the areas of the region, you'll find yourself in a base camp where you can rest and recover your Pokemon's health. It's great to have new goals that will motivate us to catch them all. 

Noble Pokemon 

Pokemon Legends Arceus

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Of course, with a new setting comes new Pokemon. Not unlike the variants in the Galar region in Pokemon Sword and Shield, Pokemon Legends: Arceus will feature new Huisian forms of familiar critters – such as Huisian Growlithe and Huisian Voltorb. In the tradition of games past, you'll also once again be able to choose a starter Pokemon before you set out to study the region, only this time the starters are from various generations for the very first time. What is perhaps the most interesting addition is the fact that some Pokemon are known as nobles by clans in the region. A strange phenomenon is said to be causing these noble Pokemon to go into a frenzied state, and it's up to us to calm them by dodging attacks and throwing balm in battle. From the sounds of it, we'll have lots of new challenges and Pokemon to encounter in store for us. 


Big in 2022

(Image credit: Future)

Throughout January, GamesRadar+ is exploring the biggest games of the new year, hands-on impressions, exclusive interviews, and in-depth editorials. For more, be sure to follow along with Big in 2022

Heather Wald

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.