Why the Pokemon Legends Arceus trailer is actually worrisome
I started the game with Pokemon Sword & Shield. I've put hundreds of hours into my Sword copy and then added Pokémon BDSP. So when I first heard that Pokemon Legends would expand on this, I was pretty shocked.
When the first trailer for Pokemon Legends Arceus was released, I felt like a giddy schoolboy. The internet says support for the game's graphics and frame rate, but I don't care. I kept telling myself this was all going to be obsolete and what we saw was more of a tech demo. All the recent trailers have been very concerning. Will Pokemon Legends Arceus be the breath of the Pokemon Wilds, or will it be an empty and repetitive experience?
Where are all the Pokemon?
When the original trailer only showed one or two Pokemon on the screen at a time, I thought it was because Game Freak hadn't fully developed the open area. I would like to believe that these huge open fields will be populated in the final version. But now, I'm not so sure.
The Pokemon YouTube channel recently uploaded a 13-minute preview of the game, and the open area is still fairly sparse. Suffice to say, we probably won't be walking around a ton of different Pokemon unless they hide the amount of Pokemon we'll see before launch.
This is disappointing, especially compared to Pokemon Sword & Shield and New Pokemon Snap. These games showcase a ton of Pokemon clumsily walking around, an experience you'd expect from a game with a Pokemon in its most natural habitat.
Granted, the next point doesn't come from the trailer, but it makes the trailer all the more worrisome. Trusted leaker Riddler_Khu claims there are only about 200 Pokemon in Legends Arceus.
If true, then my first two points should be more concerning. Pokemon Legends Arceus has huge open areas, and Game Freak will have to spread these Pokemon thinly to cover all areas. It also means that Legends gameplay may include repeatedly catching the same Pokemon from a very small number of candidates. For reference, Pokemon Sword and Shield released with around 400 Pokemon, which players considered a fairly low number.
Tasks seem to be very repetitive
In the aforementioned game preview, we also saw a quest for Pokemon Legends Arceus. That's pretty impressive to say the least. This isn't the first time we've seen the legendary Arceus mission, but it's not too different from what we've seen.
The quest boils down to catching a Pokemon and bringing it to someone, and you'll get pocket coins or crafting materials. At first, this will be enjoyable, but it feels like players are being treated as Door Dash employees rather than research assistants.
Why does the game keep bragging about having to catch the same Pokemon multiple times as a core game mechanic? If it wasn't for Pokedex, I wouldn't be too lazy to catch some Pokémon, but now I have to catch them countless times.
BOSS battle "intense"
One of the most exciting trailers is a 6-minute video from Pokemon Japan, which shows a clip of a trainer fighting an Alpha Pokemon. The internet is excited about the lethality of these wild Pokemon.
At first, they did look like a really tough fight. However, these "intense" sequences are easily interrupted when you understand the mechanics of combat. In order for a Pokemon to engage in combat, all you need to do is throw a Pokeball containing a Pokemon near a wild Pokemon. This will automatically put the player in turn-based combat with that Pokemon.
The trailer shows the player being manipulated by a crazy Alpha Pokemon, but dropping the Pokeball stops the Alpha going. There's no way to deal damage without Pokemon, and there's no point in running around blindly to avoid attacks.
I'm excited about Pokemon Legends Arceus, but I'm not as childish as when the first trailer dropped. I'm ready to explore and discover, but I don't believe Pokemon Legends Arceus will effectively lend it to these things.