The complete guide to Pokemon Legends: Arceus

By Steven Rondina


Dec 22, 2021

Reading time: 6 min

Pokemon spin-offs are often overlooked by fans of the mainline games, but that hasn’t been the case with Pokemon Legends: Arceus. The upcoming Nintendo Switch title has captured the attention of Pokemon fans around the globe.

But what is Pokemon Legends: Arceus all about? The game looks to be a strange blend of the main Pokemon titles with open-world action.

So what exactly can fans expect from this upcoming game? How will it differ from games like Pokemon Sword and Shield? Here’s everything there is to know about Pokemon Legends: Arceus.

What is the gameplay like in Pokemon Legends: Arceus?

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is receiving a major overhaul in both its battle system and in how players traverse the world.

At first glance, the battle system will look familiar to players. Wild encounters and trainer battles remain a turn-based affair with the ever-important type chart set to dictate much of the strategy contained therein. But there are two huge differences that will completely redefine the action.

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The turn order for a battle can be seen on the right.

First, turns will work differently in Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Instead of each turn seeing each Pokemon get in an attack, stats and “other factors” determine how frequently a Pokemon gets to attack during a battle, making Pokemon: Arceus more similar to other Japanese RPGs. Gameplay footage has shown that this can result in the same Pokemon being able to attack multiple times before the opponent gets to answer.

And there’s another big difference in terms of how battles play out.

What does strong style and agile style mean in Pokemon?

Strong style and agile style is a new mechanic in Pokemon Legends: Arceus that changes how often each Pokemon attacks.

Players can use a strong style version of an attack that deals more damage but makes it so that they recover for their next turn more slowly. Agile style goes in the opposite direction, dealing less damage while giving the Pokemon a greater chance to attack again more quickly.

Strong style and agile style attacks are different versions of moves most players are familiar with already. It’s unclear whether this option will be available for every move in the game or if it will be limited to a certain set of moves.

There are other differences in the battle engine that can be found on the Pokemon: Arceus official website.

Pokemon can attack players in Legends: Arceus

The battles aren’t the only thing that is changing in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, as wild Pokemon will now be able to attack players directly.

Players navigate the world in a similar manner to how they explored in the Wild Area in Pokemon Sword and Shield. The camera is movable and players can see wild Pokemon roaming around, with some being compelled to chase after the player.

Unlike Sword and Shield, or in any other installment in the franchise so far, the player is forced to engage these wild Pokemon directly. Wild Pokemon directly attack the trainer and players can catch wild Pokemon without actually initiating battle, instead simply throwing a Poke Ball at them while navigating the overworld.

This will make for a very different experience that will mix up how players progress.

What region is Pokemon Legends: Arceus in?

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is set to take place in the Hisui region, an ancient version of the Sinnoh region.

The game will have a number of the Pokemon and locations that fans are familiar with from Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. It also has a number of NPCs that are clearly meant to be ancestors of gym leaders and other figures from Sinnoh. Galaxy Team captain Cyllene bears a striking resemblance to Team Galactic’s Cyrus, Ginter from the Gingko Clan is presented very similarly to Volkner, and so on. It’s also explicitly stated that Professor Rowan is a grandchild of Commander Kamado.

A major portion of the game is to explore the earliest Pokemon trainers in history. At this point in the history of the Pokemon world, people didn’t live with or carry Pokemon around with them. This resulted in hostility and fear among the people towards Pokemon, which isn’t at all the case in other Pokemon media.

The player will be tasked with capturing Pokemon with primitive Poke Balls and set things on the path where people regularly befriend and train Pokemon.

The Pokemon Legends: Arceus map of Hisui.

Cyndaquil, Oshawott, and Rowlet are the new Pokemon: Arceus starters

Pokemon Legends: Arceus will have three surprising new Pokemon serve as the starters: Cyndaquil, Oshawott, and Rowlet.

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This mix of starters from three different generations caught many Pokemon fans by surprise, especially considering the fact that the game isn’t just using the gen-four starters. Players can likely still catch Turtwig, Piplup, and Chimchar however. Screenshots have shown them roaming around like wild Pokemon, suggesting that they will be catchable.

All the Hisuian Pokemon revealed so far

As with Alola from Sun and Moon, and Galar in Sword and Shield, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is set to take place in the Hisuian region, which has a number of regional variants and new evolutions of established Pokemon. So far, there have only been a few brand new Pokemon revealed, including:

  • Kleavor
  • Basculegion
  • Wyrdeer

All three of these Pokemon are new evolutions of established ones, with Kleavor being a new evolution of Scizor, Basculegion evolving from Basculin, and Wyrdeer being the evolved form of Stantler. Past those are a number of Hisuian regional variants:

  • Zorua
  • Zoroark
  • Voltorb
  • Braviary
  • Growlithe

These Pokemon have been slowly revealed over time and it’s probable that more will be revealed. While Hisuian Zorua and Zoroark were revealed together, it hasn’t actually been confirmed that Hisuian Voltorb will evolve into Electrode or something else.

Is Pokemon becoming more like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild?

While there have been many comparisons to be made between the two games, Pokemon Legends: Arceus likely will not be especially similar to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

The Pokemon team has been explicit that Legends: Arceus isn’t going to be a fully open world game. Though it has open-world maps, there is a level of separation between the game’s different areas. 

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is definitely set to be a big change from the established Pokemon formula. But anyone expecting it to be similar to a fully open world game may be disappointed.

When does Pokemon Legends: Arceus come out?

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is set to arrive on January 28, 2022.

The game will receive both a physical and digital release, with multiple preorder bonuses already being revealed. This includes numerous trainer skins and various physical rewards depending the retailer and region.