The review embargo for Pokemon Legends: Arceus is over, which means that major video game sites can finally talk about their impressions of the brand new Pokemon game. Consensus for the game is that it’s a top-tier Pokemon game, with many reviews calling it the best Pokemon game released in a decade or more. Word of mouth should help drive more potential players to the game, as few trailers and previews were released before today’s review embargo lifted. Outside of a few overview trailers and a couple of new Pokemon reveals, today’s reviews were the first real deep dive into Pokemon Legends: Arceus.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus is set to be released on the Nintendo Switch on January 28, 2022.
Let us know if these reviews convinced you to pick up the new game in the comment section!
ComicBook.com – Christian Hoffer
Pokemon Legends: Arceus contains gameplay features that I and many other Pokemon fans have wanted to see for years and provides a fantastic foundation for the future of the franchise. The game takes the strongest parts of recent Pokemon games – the Ride Pokemon of Pokemon Sun and Moon, the roaming Pokemon of Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee, and the large open worlds of Pokemon Sword and Shield – and combines them with several new innovations to build something fresh and exciting.
Rating: 5 out of 5
You can read our full review here.
Nintendo Life – Jordan Middler
Pokémon Legends: Arceus feels like the truest realisation of the fantasy of Pokémon — a wonderful surprise considering this is notionally a spin-off title. It’s a game about actually going out to catch them all and document the world, not just earning thousands of dollars as a 10-year-old destroying every professional Pokémon trainer in the world in quick succession.
Rating: 9 out of 10
ScreenRant – Laura Gray
Pokémon Legends: Arceus has a delightful and clean art style that is a dramatic difference from older Pokémon titles. The areas players can explore are detailed, with textures on grass, rocks, and water that blend stylized graphics with atmospheric immersion. This is particularly noticeable regarding Pokémon spawning in the overworld. Models have numerous animations, from bouncing around and playing to curled up and snoozing. The Pokémon models also emote, showing irritation, fear, or excitement, adding personality to the different reactions they can display when encountering a trainer in the wild. However, there are issues with animations when the Pokémon are a good distance from the trainer. This can cause frame rate drops that make movements appear choppy and inorganic, which can be startling against the detailed environments they appear in.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Dexerto – Brent Koepp
Over the past decade, the biggest complaint players have had about Pokemon is that it’s “too easy.” Pokemon Legends Arceus addresses this in a big way by introducing the Alpha Pokemon variant. These “giant” versions are, at times, downright terrifying — imagine peacefully exploring a river only to turn the corner to find a massive Snorlax with red glowing eyes hurling itself towards you.
Not only do these enraged ‘mon create a real threat in the overworld, but they are genuinely difficult encounters. Trainers will need to keep leveling up to take on Alphas as even a strong team will struggle to bring them down. Once you eventually catch them, it’s incredibly neat to have a towering version of your favorite Pokemon.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Polygon – Ryan Gilliam
Still, Pokémon Legends: Arceus made me care about battling, and I actually wish there were more trainer battles scattered throughout the world. But I missed some of the predictability found in the mainline series. Whenever I’d go to swap out one Pokémon for another mid-battle, I held my breath, never knowing if I’d have to take a hit from the enemy before I could attack. Hours in, I felt like the game didn’t give me enough information to make some of the strategic decisions I wanted to. I love the direction in which the battles are going with Legends: Arceus, but a handful of “what the hell” moments killed some of my enthusiasm.
Digital Trends – Giovanni Colantonio
At times, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a dream come true. Creatures roam free and can be caught by simply tossing a ball at one without even initiating a battle, an improvement on Pokémon Let’s Go‘s streamlined catching. Wild creatures can attack players, forcing them to dodge out of the way. Players can ride creatures like Wyrdeer, jump in the ocean, and seamlessly switch to sailing around on a Basculegion. Whenever I found myself locked in the gameplay loop, it really felt like the seemingly impossible dream game I always imagined as a kid.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
VideoGameChronicles – Chris Scullion
This is what many Pokémon fans have wanted – a completely fresh Pokémon experience that feels like a natural extension of the series but still has its own identity. With one huge Alpha Pokémon-sized swipe, Legends brushes off almost all of the annoyances and irritations that have clung to the series for decades, and replaced them with countless quality of life improvements making for a more streamlined, exciting game.
Rating: 5 out of 5