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‘Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ Will Be Different From Every Other Pokémon Game From the Past — Here’s How

For most of its 25-year history, Pokémon games have been designed with similar formats and ways of playing. "Pokémon Legends: Arceus" is set to be a reinvention of the series. But just how different is the game from every other Pokémon game before it?

For over 25 years, Pokémon has held a place in the hearts of people of all ages. In addition to the main series games that have anchored each generation of Pokémon since its debut on the Game Boy, dozens of spinoff games in the Pokémon universe have provided new stories to be discovered and new magic to be experienced. The upcoming Pokémon Legends: Arceus is poised to upend the Pokémon spinoff formula — and Pokémon games as a whole.

Goods of Pokémon video game characters are displayed at a Pokemon store in Tokyo on February 26, 2021 | Behrouz Mehri / AFP via Getty Images

The ‘Pokémon’ series is returning to the Sinnoh region

After 15 years, the Pokémon series is set to return to the Sinnoh region. Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl were first released on Nintendo DS in 2006 and introduced dozens of new critters to the Pokémon universe as well as other mechanics such as location-based evolution.

In February 2021, Nintendo announced the highly-anticipated remakes of the original fourth generation games, titled Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. The games will be released on Nintendo Switch on November 19, 2021.

Unlike the most recent installments in the main Pokémon series, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl won’t feature a full 3D experience, but the chibi style used in other recent remakes such as the Switch version of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.

“The original story has been faithfully reproduced, and various game functions have been colorfully revitalized,” Nintendo said in a statement regarding the remakes. “Trainers can expect an adventure through the Sinnoh region that feels both nostalgic and fresh.”

Pikachu are displayed at Pokémon Center Shibuya at Shibuya Parco, a department store and shopping mall in Tokyo | James Matsumoto/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

‘Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ takes place years before ‘Pokémon Diamond’ and ‘Pokémon Pearl’

Pokémon Legends: Arceus was announced alongside Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and will also take place in the Sinnoh region. Unlike the remakes of the beloved games, however, Pokémon Legends: Arceus will be an entirely 3D adventure similar to Sword and Shield.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus takes place many years before the events of Diamond and Pearl, when the Sinnoh region is still mostly wilderness. The goal of the game is to build the region’s first Pokédex by catching each of the game’s creatures out in the wild.

The game is centered around the legendary Pokémon Arceus, first introduced in the original Diamond and Pearl games and regarded to be the first Pokémon to ever exist. Arceus is believed to be the creator of the universe that Pokémon is set in, so Legends: Arceus will likely give a much deeper look into the Alpha Pokémon’s backstory.


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‘Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ will be the first truly open-world Pokémon game

What makes Pokémon Legends: Arceus truly unique from any other main series game or spinoff in the series’ 25-year history is the game’s structure.

It’s the Pokémon series’ first action role-playing game, and the first to feature an entirely open world, in the same vein as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Players will have the ability to catch Pokémon in the wild without having to battle them, and the world will seamlessly transition between areas as opposed to being segmented into separate portions.

Fans will get to discover the magic of the untouched Sinnoh region on January 28, 2022.