Pokémon Legends: Arceus is series’ first fully open world game

After years of fan demand, Game Freak is finally making an open world Pokémon game set in the Sinnoh region, but in the distant past.

Many expected to see Pokémon Diamond and Pearl remakes at today’s Pokémon Presents presentation, but Game Freak and Nintendo had an extra surprise hidden up their sleeves: Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

While it is set in the same Sinnoh region as the Diamond and Pearl games are, Pokémon Legends takes place in the distant past and places you in what appears to be a fully open world, tasked with creating the region’s first ever Pokédex.

Unlike any previous entry before it, you will be able to catch wild pokémon in real-time. So now it is you who gets to hide in the tall grass and attack unsuspecting targets.

The pokémon you can encounter won’t be limited to what the Sinnoh region offers either. It’s very unlikely that it will feature all 800+ of them, but you can see in the trailer that creatures from across the entire series will be making an appearance.

Battles are still turn-based, but they now take place on the world map, allowing for seamless transitions into battles just by throwing a poké ball with one of your chosen partners near a wild pokémon.

There are some hallmarks of the mainline games, such as choosing a grass, fire, or water starter as your first pokémon, and exact details are still scarce, but this first impression alone shows a game wildly different to anything fans have seen before.

Pokémon Sword and Shield attempted something akin to this with its Wild Area and DLC expansions, but this appears to be closer to the world in Zelda: Breath Of The Wild.

Whether it will be quite as open as that game remains to be seen, but Pokémon Legends is already looking very close to the kind of game some fans have been dreaming of since the franchise first jumped into 3D.

‘The fun of exploring while catching pokémon and filling in a Pokédex has always been a core part of the Pokémon video game series’, says Pokémon Company boss Tsunekazu Ishihara.’

‘Pokémon Legends: Arceus was developed with the desire to deliver an experience infused with new action and RPG elements that go beyond the framework established thus far, while honouring the core gameplay of past Pokémon titles.’

Pokémon Legends: Arceus will release for Nintendo Switch in early 2022.

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