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What The Critics Are Saying About Pokemon Legends: Arceus

"Pokemon" fans around the world have been waiting for the franchise to make big changes, with several claims that the series is too easy or that the games are too similar to each other. "Pokemon Legends: Arceus" was like a breath of fresh air, and critics were able to confirm that the game is everything "Pokemon" fans wanted — and possibly even more.

Coming right on the heels of the "Pokemon Brilliant Diamond" and "Shining Pearl" games, "Pokemon Legends: Arceus" takes place in the same region but way earlier on a timeline. The region is known as the Hisui region, and Pokemon and people aren't on the best terms just yet. Players are tasked with filling the first-ever Pokedex and connecting the people of Hisui to the Pokemon in the area.

Dexerto's Brent Koepp described the game as a "love letter to the overall franchise," and Jordan Miller from Nintendo Life called it "one of the greatest 'Pokemon' games ever made." Even Game Informer's Brian Shea said that the game nailed the core elements of the "Pokemon" franchise better than the majority of mainline "Pokemon" games.

A lot of this praise for the game came from the open-world areas surrounding the village in the game and how wonderful it felt to play.

The open areas of Pokemon Legends: Arceus

While it's up for debate whether or not "Pokemon Legends: Arceus" is an open-world game, most of the gameplay takes place in open areas that opened up the "Pokemon" universe even more than "Pokemon Sword/Shield" did. Players throw Pokeballs in a sort of FPS style, and they can even be attacked by wild Pokemon themselves.

This change was something that critics across the board were highly pleased with. Brian Shea pointed out that it made the game areas flow quite well, and Jordan Miller explained that these changes made the game feel much more rewarding compared to previous "Pokemon" games. Players will actually remember the struggles and plans they had to catch rare Pokemon much more than the traditional battle-weaken-catch system.

Combined with the new and improved combat system, "Pokemon Legends: Arceus" felt like a true JRPG to several critics. Brent Koepp even likened the system to combat in "Bravely Default," a critically acclaimed JRPG for the 3DS. Miller also commented that the combat was much more difficult than the mainline series has been in recent years, something that veterans of the franchise will no doubt love.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus and technical issues

While there was a nearly endless amount of praise for "Pokemon Legends: Arceus," almost every critic pointed out that the game's downfall was its technical side. Many explained that the Switch's hardware lacked the power to deliver on some of the more graphically intense aspects of the game.

Will Greenwald from PC Mag explained that the render distance can be painful, especially as players progress through the game and need to catch rare Pokemon — as some rare Pokemon, like Abra, will flee once they see the player. However, with the render distance factored in, sometimes the Pokemon sees you and runs before you realize it's popped up on the screen.

However, critics didn't really have an issue with the game's graphics. Brian Shea called the game "beautiful" and even praised the various environmental biomes, while Jordan Miller pointed out the new character models and animations for the Pokemon themselves.

"Pokemon Legends: Arceus" seemed to be what a lot of critics were hoping it would be. While some, like Greenwald, were hesitant to compare the game to "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" — as so many did when the game was announced — other critics disagreed. Miller summed it up by saying that the game was exactly like "Breath of the Wild" for the "Pokemon" franchise because it pushed the game to new limits for the series, making it "the most important release in the series since 1996." That's some incredibly high praise.