Why Pokemon Legends Arceus trailers are actually worrying
The release of Pokemon Legends Arceus is very close and Game Freak has dropped a few gameplay trailers so far. However, the contents of these trailers are leaving me a bit more concerned than excited.
First off, I want to say I was a huge fan of Pokemon Sword & Shield. I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into my copy of Sword and am still in love with the Wild Area. So when I initially heard that Pokemon Legends would be expanding on this, I was starstruck.
When the first trailer for Pokemon Legends Arceus dropped, I felt like a giddy grade-schooler. The internet was up in arms over the game’s graphics and frame rates, but I couldn’t care less. I kept telling myself it would all be buffed out, and what we saw was more of a tech demo.
However, we are now a few days away from the game’s release, and all of the recent trailers are very worrying. Will Legends Arceus be the Breath of the Wild of Pokemon, or will it be a hollow and repetitive experience?
Where are all the Pokemon?
When the original trailer showed just one or two Pokemon on screen at a time, I thought this was because Game Freak hadn’t fully developed the open areas. I wanted to believe that these massive open fields would be populated in the final release. But now, I’m not so sure.
The Pokemon YouTube channel recently uploaded a 13-minute gameplay preview, and the open areas are still pretty sparse. Suffice to say, unless they are hiding the amount of Pokemon we will see until launch, we probably won’t be walking among large diverse groups of Pocket Monsters.
This is disappointing, especially when compared to Pokemon Sword & Shield and New Pokemon Snap. These games show large numbers of Pokemon lumbering about, and it’s the experience you’d expect to see from a game that boasts Pokemon in their most natural habitat.
Quests seem very repetitive
In the aforementioned gameplay preview, we also got a look at one of Pokemon Legends Arceus’ quests. It’s pretty underwhelming, to say the least. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Legends Arceus quest, but it doesn’t differ much from the ones we’ve seen.
The quests boil down to catching a Pokemon and bringing it to someone and you get Pokecoins or crafting material. At first, this will be delightful, but it feels like the player is being treated more like a Door Dash employee than a research assistant.
And why does the game keep boasting having to catch the same Pokemon multiple times as a core gameplay mechanics? There are some Pokemon I couldn’t be bothered to capture at all if it weren’t for the Pokedex, but now I have to go and catch them numerous times.
If Pokemon Legends Arceus is just one massive catch-athon, it’s going to get old pretty fast.
Where are all the Pokemon? (part 2)
Admittedly, this next point doesn’t derive from a trailer, but it makes the trailers even more worrying. Trusted leaker Riddler_Khu claims that there will only be around 200 Pokemon in Legends Arceus.
If true, then my former two points should be even more concerning. Pokemon Legends Arceus boasts massive open areas, and Game Freak will have to spread those Pokemon pretty thin to cover all that area.
This also means Legends’ gameplay could consist of repeatedly catching the same Pokemon from a very small pool of candidates. For reference, Pokemon Sword and Shield was released with around 400 Pokemon, and players considered that to be a pretty low number.
Boss battles are “intense”
One of the most exciting trailers to release was a six-minute video from Pokemon Japan that showed clips of the trainer battling Alpha Pokemon. The internet exploded with excitement for how deadly these wild Pokemon seem.
And at first, they do seem like very intense battles. However, when you understand how battling works, these “intense” sequences are all-to-easy to interrupt.
In order to engage a Pokemon in battle, all you need to do is throw a Pokeball containing a Pokemon near a wild Pokemon. This will automatically put the player in a turn-based battle with that Pokemon.
The trailer shows the player get man-handled by frenzied Alpha Pokemon, but tossing down a Pokeball stops the Alpha in its tracks. And with no way to deal damage without a Pokemon, there’s no point in mindlessly running around and dodging attacks.
I am excited for Pokemon Legends Arceus, but I’m not getting that sense of childlike wonder I was when the first trailer dropped. I’m ready for exploration and discovery, but I’m not convinced Pokemon Legends Arceus will effectively lend it to those things.
If I’m galloping through Hisui on the back of Wyrdeer, I want to pass by tons of on-looking Pokemon. But from what we’ve seen so far, it looks like I’ll be speeding through barren fields dotted with empty trees.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope that Game Freak is hiding all of Pokemon Legends Arceus’ best bits behind the game’s release, but I won’t be surprised if they aren’t.