Pokemon Legends: Arceus is trying something that could really enhance the Pokemon experience, but it'll take a lot to compete with the anime's depiction of the Pokemon world. It seems Game Freak is finally realizing the dream that many fans have had for the series for a long time with Pokemon Legends: Arceus.
An open world game might be exactly what the franchise needs, but capturing the fantastical beauty of the anime won't be a simple task by any means. While this new game won't be able to look back to the past for inspiration the same way that other titles have, it can look to the Pokemon anime series, which stands as one of the best renditions of the RPG series' world.Pokemon Living Naturally
It might sound obvious, but the defining feature of the Pokemon world is the Pokemon themselves. Aside from titles like Pokemon Snap, most Pokemon games haven't really shown Pokemon truly existing outside of battles. The anime, however, tries to show off as many creatures as possible in their natural habitats. Fiocks of Pidgey can be seen soaring through the skies, while school of Feebas are shown swimming together. Sights like these make Pokemon appear as living creatures rather than collectables waiting to be obtained.
While it's still a ways off from release, this is already a concern some fans have with Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Judging by the sole trailer, many of the wild Pokemon seen were simply wandering around without purpose. Hopefully, this won't be the case when the game releases next year, and players can observe some of their favorite Pokemon living freely. As many of the series' Pokedex entries describe how different Pokemon interact with each other in the wild, it would be great to see that showcased in the new game.Real Companionship
For everything the Pokemon anime does right with wild Pokemon, it does an even better when it comes to Pokemon with trainers. Even outside of some of the more memorable story arcs like Ash and his Charizard refusing to take orders, small details like Misty carrying Togepi or Pikachu wearing Ash's hat made the Pokemon seem even more loveable and gave them a sense of personality. Beyond a few of the older titles allowing a Pokemon to follow behind the player, this is something that the games have never really done.
In the same way that players will be allowed to crouch and roll around in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, the game should allow the player's caught Pokemon to do the same. A player's Staraptor should be able to freely fly around, becoming aggressive when larger Pokemon are in range as the their Pokedex entry suggests. If Pokemon Legends: Arceus does include different personality traits as past titles have, it would be great to see these integrated into a Pokemon's actions as well, making for more unique relationships with players.Dynamic Battles
The Pokemon anime has always done an excellent job at turning the turn-based battle system of the RPG series into intense and interesting duels. While the show occasionally plays around with the rules and ways certain moves actually work, it's always been an adaptation that can make even some of the least interesting Pokemon look cool in ways that the games have never quite managed to do.
From the looks of things, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is already on the right track to making battles closer to what's shown in the anime. Rather than having Pokemon stand in place like previous mainline entries, they now approach and make direct contact with each other. To bring things above and beyond, Pokemon Legends: Arceus would need environmental damage. Fire blast should leave the surrounding field on fire while dig should tear up the ground. If the new game can make simple moves like vine whip or double team look as aggressive and cool as they look in the anime, any battle should be a blast to watch.True Exploration
Between the anime series and mainline games, the journey to be the very best has never quite looked the same. The Pokemon world presented by the anime has always been presented as a much larger place. Ash and his friends often need to camp out at night, find shelter from the rain or snow, and meals rarely seem to be skipped. While Pokemon Sword and Shield did feature campsites and the ability to cook curry, these felt far more like side activities as opposed real mechanics that were part of the adventure. In the games, characters never get tired or hungry, and time isn't even always relevant in some titles.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus has the opportunity to offer players an adventure like never before. Although it wasn't shown in the trailer, leaked screenshots have shown characters riding on the backs of Pokemon and scaling walls, already giving fans hope that the world could be larger than what any of the past games have featured. If exploring is going to be the main focus of Pokemon Legends: Arceus, early Sinnoh will need to be made into a region worth travelling.
Many fans are eager to hear more news about Pokemon Legends: Arceus and with good reason. With its new approach, this game may have the best chance to capture the beauty of the Pokemon series that the anime has had all along.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus is releases on Switch in early 2022.
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