Pokemon Legends: Arceus Review

An insight into what some call the most innovative title in the franchise

More stories from Ally Ingram


With the start of the 2022 new year came many new and groundbreaking video games. Among these was the newest installment of the insanely popular Pokemon franchise, Pokemon Legends: Arceus.

Many fans regard the game as a fresh breath of air for the franchise. They appreciate how Legends: Arceus breaks from the long-time pattern of facing gym leaders, meeting the mascot legendary of your choice and then becoming the champion. It introduces a deep historical lore to the franchise and many new and interesting mechanics, like crafting, open world catching, space time distortions and a story that keeps you wondering what will happen next.

It also brings back features from old games, such as the feature of Ride Pokemon, creatures that you can use to travel the region’s land, waters and skies, from the seventh generation of games set in Alola, Pokemon Sun and Moon. With a combination of old and new features, Legends: Arceus is a good blend of new and old for fans of any caliber to enjoy.

The game follows the protagonist as they’re sent back in time to the Hisui region, the precursor to the Sinnoh region from the fourth generation of games. The Hisui region is based on the island of Hokkaido in the period of early Japanese colonization, and this inspiration is reflected in the clothing off the characters and the style of the buildings within settlements. The player is tasked with creating the region’s first Pokedex- a tool to document all creatures within the region, their evolutions, their move sets and their mannerisms. This task takes them to many different areas where they can find a variety of Pokemon, even those not normally found in the present Sinnoh region and regional variants that have never been seen before.

The game’s musical score frequently references motifs and tracks that appeared in Pokemon Diamond, Pokemon Pearl and Pokemon Platinum, giving fans of the olders games a nostalgic and enjoyable run around the Sinnoh region while enjoying the new story of Legends: Arceus. The game features music from composers such as Go Ichinose, Hitomi Sato and Hiromitsu Maeba. All three have worked on video game soundtracks before, with Ichinose and Sato making music for Pokemon games since the 3rd generation of games. Maeba has worked on games like “The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles” and “Devil May Cry 5.”

The game received overwhelmingly positive reviews and sold 6.5 million copies within its first week of release. Legends: Arceus got a 7/10 rating on IGN, an 83% score on Metacritic and a 4.5/5 score on Game Rant. Reviews call the game ‘the best Pokemon game they’ve played’ and ‘the Pokemon game that fans have always wanted.’ 

The game is said to be the perfect introduction to the series for new players without alienating older fans of the franchise. Though reviews have been mostly positive, there are those who dislike the newest installment. Some have compared the new art style to the one featured in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, claiming that the two are far too similar. Some even claim that the game is full of wasted potential and that it is half baked. The game does take away abilities and held items and makes online play almost entirely irrelevant, a feature that some are upset with but some seem to like.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is an innovative and unique concept that Nintendo can undoubtedly do more with in the future. Fans are excited to see if we get to see the past versions of other regions, such as a wild west version of Unova or a medieval version of Kalos. It’s only a matter of time before we see where Nintendo takes this idea.