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Is Pokémon Legends Arceus Worth Playing?

Pokémon is a popular video game series created by the company Game Freak. According to Gökhan Çakır on DOT ESPORTS, their first Pokémon game was published on February 27, 1997, and this game was known as Pokémon Red and Green. Throughout the years, Game Freak has come out with many different Pokemon games, each game following the set style that Game Freak implemented. That is until they released their new Pokémon game for the Nintendo Switch, known as  Pokémon Legends Arceus.


Let's rewind so that everyone understands the format that Pokémon has been in until recently. In every Pokémon game that has been released so far by Game Freak, there has been the option to choose between three different starter Pokémon; these three were always the same type: fire, water, and grass, according to the Pokémon Wiki. However, as stated by Sara Peterson on Toynk, there are 18 different types, and each one has its own unique Pokémon.


As for the game mechanisms, a player could walk around in the game, but only in the set areas available for walking. A player could not walk wherever they wanted as a person could do in an open-world video game. No, there was always a set path for the player to move through, they could travel back to the locations they had previously been at or travel to new places designated on the map, but they could not just walk off the created path.


Another function relating to game mechanics is how players would battle with their Pokémon against other trainers or wild Pokémon. When it came to other trainers, they would walk toward them, and as soon as their eyes met, the battle would start. There was no way to avoid it, but you could walk through the grass to avoid the trainer. However, in my opinion, walking through the grass to prevent the other trainer is pointless. First off, by fighting the trainer ahead of you, your Pokémon would gain experience (Exp) for beating them, and you would gain the in-game currency known as Pokédollars.


On top of getting all those bonuses by fighting a fellow trainer, if a player decided to walk around them by going through the grass, they had the chance of encountering a wild Pokémon. By discovering a wild Pokémon, they would gain some exp after defeating it, but not as much as they would if they fought the trainer. However, they could choose to run away from the wild Pokémon, which does not always work.

In my opinion, it is pointless to avoid fellow trainers as you are giving up free exp and Pokédollars. However, that is not the main point today. In Pokémon Legends Arceus, you can also battle other trainers, but it is a bit different this time. 


I will not discuss the plot for fear of spoiling the story or game information that some people have not yet encountered. No, in Arceus, the trainers come to you and desire to fight you to see if you are worthy of helping the cause. Not many other trainers are just waiting for you to battle them.


As for running away from Pokémon in Arceus, you just run away from them if you do not want to battle them. You can even ride a Pokémon to get away faster (however, you do not unlock that function until later in the game). If a player did enter a battle with a wild Pokémon, they would still have the option in the battle menu to run away if they did not want to fight the wild Pokémon anymore. That is vastly different from other Pokémon games as you cannot just run wherever you want, nor could you see where the Pokémon were in the original games.


Another critical game function in Pokémon is the ability to catch wild Pokémon. Up until Arceus, if you wanted to see a Pokémon, you would have to do battle with them until their health points (HP) were lowered enough so that you could choose the option to throw a Poké ball and hopefully catch them. This was the standard way to see a Pokémon until Arceus was released. In Pokémon Legends Arceus, a player could crouch in the grass and throw a Poké Ball at a Pokémon. They did not have to start a battle with the Pokémon; they could throw a Poké ball and catch the Pokémon. They could even throw Pokémon berries or bait to lure Pokémon in and then throw multiple Poké balls to see tons of Pokémon.


For some players, such as Neo Blaze on Bulbagarden, net this new way of catching Pokémon was not what they were expecting or what they wanted. However, Jamie Pellikaan on TheGamer loved this new function. They could run around and capture whichever Pokémon they wanted to without initiating a battle. As for me, I can honestly say that I am biased towards the original Pokémon games and that this new gameplay is not what I was expecting.


Although, I believe that Pokémon fans will have to adjust to this new style that Game Freak has come up with. My reasoning for this is because Game Freak recently released a trailer for their next Pokémon game. Based on the trailer, this new Pokémon game is quite like Arceus. It just has a few upgrades and adjustments. Does this mean that Game Freak plans to focus its games on an open-world-like system? The evidence for it is lacking as they have only released one game in that style so far, and on top of that, it is not even considered an open-world game thoroughly, and they only have one more on the way from what is known.


Game Freak's original Pokémon games were designed with pixel art, according to Kyle Chayka at The New Yorker, and slowly it began changing around October 12, 2013, when they released 

Pokémon X and Y. Their art has always been beautiful to me; primarily, their recent games are known as Pokémon Sword and Shield. Those two games did have some rendering issues and graphic issues, according to Kirk Galitski on The Gamer, but it was still playable and nowhere near as bad as Pokémon Legends Arceus.


 What do I mean when I say that Pokémon Legends Arceus's art is not the greatest? Well, I mean that the rendering is even worse than in Shield or Sword. Zackerie Fairfax on Dexerto explains these issues. Arceus probably has some of the worst art that Game Freak has ever created. It has problems with the art, but the animations as well. According to Wood, the villagers do not even have walking animations from the YouTube channel BeatEmUps. And while the wild Pokémon have animations for walking and running, as soon as you catch one of those Pokémon, they no longer have animations for walking.


When you catch a Pokémon, you can let them out of their Poké balls to stand beside you or grab some berries from a tree or some minerals from the rocks. Yet, your Pokémon no longer have walking animations after being caught. Which, in my opinion, makes no sense? Even in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, your Pokémon could follow you, as stated on Serebii.net. It must be easy, especially since these Pokémon already had walking animations before they were caught. Was Game Freak just lazy and did not want to implement more functions to the game? A community of people got together to discuss this issue on Reddit.


Pokémon Legends Arceus may be new and exciting to some fans of Pokémon, such as Wood from BeatEmUps on YouTube. Wood was addicted to this new version of Pokémon and the ability to walk wherever you want and collect Pokémon whenever. However, there are still many fans of Pokémon, including Verlisify on YouTube.

I wanted to get some opinions on Pokémon Legends Arceus from some friends of mine who are also fans of Pokémon, and this was my one friend's answer to my questions about the new Pokémon game.

Victoria: "What do you think about Pokémon Legends Arceus's new gameplay compared to previous games?"


Friend: "I don't like the way it looks. It isn't what I came to enjoy playing with past versions. When I saw the trailer for this one, I was disappointed. I don't understand why they changed the way the game is played entirely. I want them to go back to how it was."

I then asked them why they chose not to buy the game after watching gameplay videos and seeing how the new game was made.

Victoria: "You told me that you did not want to buy Pokémon Legends Arceus. Would you explain why you do not want to buy or play the game? Is it possible that you are biased due to playing the original Pokemon games for so long?"


Friend: "I don't want to buy it cause I feel I won't enjoy it as I did with the older ones. I feel it is too weird to play. I am biased to the older games."  

I wanted to hear a second opinion on the topic of Game Freak's new game from someone who played open-world games quite often. This person was another friend of mine; they allowed me to mention their name, so I will refer to them as Paxton/ I proceeded to ask Paxton some questions relating to their opinion of the game.

 I am glad that I decided to get someone else's opinion on the game, but I wasn't satisfied.


Victoria: "What do you think about Pokémon Legends Arceus's new gameplay compared to previous games?"

Paxton: "As someone who considers themselves as a huge Pokémon fan, the direction that 'Pokémon Legends Arceus' took was a refreshing, new idea. In previous Pokémon games, the only option was to battle out each encounter if you had wished to catch the Pokémon. Whereas in 'Pokémon Legends Arceus,' you could hunt Pokémon in a hunting technique using cover, crouch options, and items to stun the Pokémon to make a quick capture. The player no longer had to rely on the levels of their Pokémon with fighting techniques but had another option to stalk which made catching Pokémon faster, and I often found myself preferring the option to hunt the Pokémon rather than to battle them."


After hearing their opinion, I decided to get their view on the art style, the animations, and the rendering.

Victoria: "What is your opinion on the art style, animations, and the rendering in Pokémon Legends Arceus?"

Paxton: "The look, animations, and overall style that 'Pokémon Legends Arceus' took close in rendition to 'Pokémon Sword and Shield,' except for the rural houses and clothing options which appeared to have an Asian style featuring kimonos, block sandals, and a ninja outfit, to name a few. 


I enjoyed this style as it was different from your regular clothing options from previous games and captured the illusion that you were in a remote part of the world trying to discover the secrets and stories the Pokémon had to offer.

I wanted to dive further, so I asked them what I considered a critical question.


Victoria: "What do you think could have been done better in gameplay mechanics, art style, or any other aspect relating to the game, and what would you have fixed if given the opportunity?"

Paxton: "As I was digging through the story, it was uncovered that there were Pokémon mounts you could obtain to make this open-world experience have options to cut the time it took to get from one side of the map to the other. Considering this, I was disappointed I could not use my Pokémon as mounts. Regarding the rest of the game, this was the only feature that I would've liked changed."


Finally, after hearing two very different opinions, I felt satisfied and as though I could move on from the interview process. I wanted to present a well-developed idea on Game Freak's new game; I had to set aside any grievances I had with the game based on previous games.


As for my final opinion on Pokémon Legends Arceus, I would like to say that I have issues with the game's animations, rendering, and some of the art that was created for the game. And the biggest one of all is how Game Freak copied a fan-made layout, as stated by Wood from BeatEmUps. Game Freak has made one of the biggest mistakes of all, using someone else's work and implementing it into their game without the credit where credit is due.


However, I cannot simply end without providing some light on some of the good qualities of Pokémon Legends Arceus. I would have to say that while the story and plot for Arceus are not as deep as they could be, it still has an exciting plotline and some half-decent writing. I specifically enjoyed learning about the history behind each of the frenzied Pokémon. Another thing I wanted within Arceus was the ability to let your Pokémon stand beside you or take pictures with your Pokémon at the Pokémon photo center in the village. Although your Pokémon could not follow you, I enjoyed being able to see a 3D form of my Pokémon and walk around them to see their details in full.


My opinion is based on what I am used to when it comes to Pokemon games, so I wanted to say that if you were thinking about trying Pokémon Legends Arceus and now you are not sure, I urge you to try it and to develop your own opinion on it. You may end up loving it just like Wood from BeatEmUps did.


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