Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Pokemon Legends: Arceus (Nintendo Switch, 2022)

 

It's 2/22/22, you know what that means.



...God?

Oh.

Yeah, so this game...I wasn't planning to cover it. When it first launched I wasn't even planning on playing it, but I heard enough good things to get ahold of it. The next Pokémon game I was likely to cover on here was Pokémon Platinum but hey, this works too.

Usually I'd go with the lower right character, but I like the cut of the blue-ish haired one's jib.

Same name as in some of the others. I have very little idea of what to expect from this game. Heeeere we go.

The objective of the game: Find all the Pokémen, then Arceus will appear before you and explain the secrets of the universe. Which I already know: The secrets of the universe are 42 and the Golden Ratio.

Cataluna channels a Spirit Bomb to hurl at Arceus! DON'T DO IT, CATALUNA!

She then falls out of a void in the sky (presumably from our world) into the Pokémon world. So that's a bit different from the usual story revolving around trainers who grew up in that world.

Cataluna is totally lost and alone and homeless in this strange new world. It's actually horrifying.

She gets over it within a couple minutes and the journey begins!

Not sure why they didn't just go with the standard trainer-in-training, but I can say this is a bit more interesting...if it goes anywhere in the story.

The starter choices for this one are from three different gens. REPRESENTING GEN 2: Cyndaquil, the fire rodent. REPRESENTING GEN 5: Oshawott, who is adorable and Gen 5 needs more attention in general. AND REPRESENTING GEN 7: Rowlet, the handsome owl.

This is a tough choice because all of them have new final forms that they didn't have in the past. Cyndaquil ends up being Fire/Ghost which is intriguing, Oshawott ends up being Water/Dark, and Rowlet ends up being Flying/Fighting (not to be confused with music sensation Five For Fighting).

They're all good choices and very well-balanced. Supposedly Rowlet has the most overall advantage over the game's bosses, but it's only by a shade.

This weird professor guy with a helmet on is really interested in this random 12 year old that appeared out of nowhere. Are you flirting with her, ya rat bastard? I'm gonna need you to take a seat.

While he yammers on, the starters all run off. Here's Oshawott making a sprint for the border.

Cataluna finds her phone, which has metamorphosis'd into a Poké-phone with cat ears.

Looks like this is a sort of open-world game where you actively run around catching 'mons, with a fully rotatable camera and everything. It's a truly 3D, console Pokémon. Sword/Shield is prettier to look at in terms of visuals and colors etc, while this has more freedom of movement. I could see the series going in this direction for Gen 9, but I hope it has more of Sword/Shield's striking visuals as well.

The battle begins as I hurl Pokeballs at various wild 'mons. No battles here (unless they resist capture) and your Pokémon get exp for each one you catch regardless. I was wondering why it gave me 50 Pokeballs at the outset since that's usually a LOT at the beginning of any given game in this series, but not here. You burn through them fast since they're essentially ammo.

Next up is a town. Cataluna's leggy outfit is super-strange to the people of this world, who have never seen such clothes. Matter of fact that's all they can talk about.

"We don't take KINDLY to you shorts-wearing folk" yells somebody from a nearby porch.

This guy is wondering how much he could get if he caught Cataluna in a Pokeball and sold her at the market.

Who?

"Go back to your own world!"

"Well ah never!"

The local bar is only for people who are on Galaxy Team, whatever that is. That's fine, I didn't want a drink anyway!

That weirdo professor guy with the helmet is Laventon, which totally sounds like a villain name. And this red-capped ruffian right here is Rei, which totally sounds like a hot-ass Sailor Scout's name.

I'm guessing that if you choose a male character at the outset, Rei is a female character, sorta like how some of the other games have your non-chosen character be the rival.

Not sure if Rei is the rival though. Right now, it's time for FOOD. I mean, Cataluna is stranded in this world with nothing to rely on except the kindness of strangers, and all these dolts can talk about is "Pokemon this" and "Pokemon that"

"I don't take KINDLY to people having leisurely meals with some outsidah!"

Here's Cataluna's apartment. It has a wok and campfire, and you better like sitting on the floor because there are no chairs. The bed is basically a thin cushion at best. I don't know if I could handle this place.

Next up, this Resting Angry Faced lady? is a bigwig for the Galaxy Team.

I wonder if Galaxy Team is going to turn out to be the bad guys. The name is way too similar to Team Galactic. Wait...this game takes place in an early version of Sinnoh, the Gen 4 world. So Galaxy Team being an early incarnation of Team Galactic makes sense. That means these guys are going to turn out to be villains, though maybe not within this game.

Cyllene here might be a predecessor of Team Galactic leader Cyrus, since she has a similar look. Interesting stuff. Now I really wish I'd covered Pokémon Platinum already so I could draw some direct comparisons. Well, I'll get to it.

The professor really talked a big game about Cataluna once he saw that she has a good throwing arm, and now Galaxy Team expects lofty things from her.

This is basically Idiocracy, with this random average person from our world being Teh Savior of this new fish-outta-water world they end up in.

Thanks for adding that in for some reason, Ayn.

Those are short shorts, dude. Also, Cataluna isn't here to "suit your satchels" ya plug.

I finally get to choose a 'mon, as the Mortal Kombat II character select theme plays.

This is a tough call because it's a real murderer's row here. They picked out a trio of very solid starters.

I can't deal with how cute this guy is. TAKE IT AWAY

Cyndaquil really dominated Gen 2, and demolished the other starters. Fire was the dominant starter in Gen 2, 3, AND 4.

I'll have to go with Rowlet, even though my gut tells me Cyndaquil and my heart tells me Oshawott.

No sooner than choosing, and I already have to fight some dork. Pokémon is brimming with these overconfident 20-something guys who are all like "lol" as they pick fights with teenagers. It's pretty messed-up.

The battle system seems to be pretty similar to the others. The main difference I can see off the bat is the wild font. Did I step into Ghost of Tsushima?

Actually I'm really liking the world theme in this game. It has a sort of Wild West feel to it while simultaneously being Japan. So basically exactly what you'd expect an early, developing version of Sinnoh to look like.

After demolishing that guy with Gusts, it's time to embark on some missions. You have to check in with this guy before you can leave town, and choose an area to warp to. Similar to the Monster Hunter series...except this actually has objective markers. Which is great and speeds things up a lot. Some players like to roam and wander, but I'm not usually one of them.

The map. Not sure if this is the entire world map for the game. If so, it seems kind of small. I think it is, since the large mountain in the center is in a lot of screenshots from the game and seems to be a sort of anchor point for the rest of the map.

Here's the Gen 4 Sinnoh map, for comparison. Outside of the northeast part, the mainland looks a lot like the map in this game, complete with the central mountain. Safe to say that if this is the Gen 4 map, then the above map for this game is indeed the full world. I'm guessing it's larger than it looks once you're running around on foot. Also guessing that the routes and towns of Gen 4 mostly don't exist yet, hence the wide-open plains.

And speaking of wide-open plains... there's a definite Breath of the Wild feeling going on here.

I capture Shia Bidoof next. Already I've used more than half of the starting Pokeballs, amazing. Probably gonna focus on keeping those as stocked as possible if you burn through them this quick.

Already got Starly and Bidoof on the team. Rowlet seems to be able to handle business by itself. However Starly turns into the OP Staravia later, and Shia Bidoof is a tremendous actor.

Looks like there are Shinx available in this first area. He evolves into Luxio and Luxray, some of the best electric Pokémon you can get in Gen 4. Come to think of it, Staravia and Luxray are both endgame-level 'mons in that Gen, so getting them early here is fine by me. Not sure about Bidoof, so the other 3 spots on the endgame team are still open as we progress.

In the immortal words of Scott Hall, "don't call us, we'll call you"

"On we march"? Somebody's really sipping the Galaxy Team koolaid.

Some Pokémon don't just stand around waiting to get trapped in tiny balls, however. Some of them PICK FIGHTS.

Shinx, the electric menace, is one such foe. I make sure to capture him, and the endgame team is now 50% done!

Now that the tutorial levels are done, time to get to the actual game. What awaits? Gym leaders? More RPG-standard bosses? Will gyms even exist? I'll find out.

But first, they tell you to change your outfit, whether you like it or not!

Yeah, naww I'm good with the starting outfit. Though the Galaxy Team uniform does look fairly good, sort of a hybrid of Japan and Eskimo.

I back out, and...

"PUT THE TEAM GALACTIC UNIFORM ON, CITIZEN."

Here's Kamado, leader of the Galaxy Expedition Team. Does that mean he's the leader of Galaxy Team, or is the Expedition Team a separate division? I think they're one and the same. This guy randomly yells.

"Beware the enemy, soldier" he says. "WE'VE LOST GOOD MEN TO THE MANKEYS."

Now that I've conformed to the authoritarians, it's back to the plains. At this point you can get all kinds of sidequests from people, and most of them seem super easy (i.e. showing someone a 'mon you've likely already obtained). Looks like there's a ton to do if you want to do a ton. Main story followers can just stick to that, as well.

Looks like there are ten dots available for badges. So the game has ten gyms, perhaps? We will see. Cataluna seems pretty relaxed for someone who warped between dimensions and fell out of the sky. We'll see how relaxed she is after she finds out that in this new world, the Berenstein Bears are called the Berenstain Bears.


2 comments:

  1. Man, I forgot how much of a jerk Beni was at the start.

    You're right about the characters swapping, though her name is Akari.

    Put on the glasses!

    ReplyDelete
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