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Pokémon Legends: Arceus Review
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Posted: 5 months ago, last updated 4 months ago.

Author: Ben Kendall, Jo Robertson and @GeekDadGamer.


Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the latest game in the longstanding Pokémon series of role-playing games where you collect and battle Pokémon. Like those previous games, you compete in turn-based battles and try and collect as many Pokémon as you can. Arceus, however, also expands the series in new and unique ways; this is the first Pokémon game with a vast, expansive open world to explore, and changes to the way you fight, catch and use the many Pokémon on offer create a more immersive, varied and strategic game.

Set in the distant past, in the Hisui region, which eventually becomes the Sinnoh region where the Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum games, along with their remakes, take place. Unlike the previous games, where people and Pokémon have coexisted for centuries, most of the people you meet are ignorant, and in many cases fearful, of the Pokémon if the land. It's up to you, with the help of Galaxy Team's Survey Corps to complete the first-ever Pokédex by capturing one of every species. Along the way, you face off against powerful alpha and noble Pokémon, and even a dangerous rift in spacetime itself.

Whereas other Pokémon games have you entering turn-based battles, weakening the Pokémon and then catching them, here, you have the chance to catch a Pokémon without even battling it, by sneaking up behind it and using a well-timed throw, or distracting them with a lure. Battles, too, are different: while they are still turn-based at their core, you have the choice between using more powerful versions of moves more frequently or more powerful versions at the expense of speed, allowing an opportunity for opponents to counter. This all results in a more skill-based experience than the previous games, where you have the opportunity to employ multiple different tactics. You can also complete side quests that reward you with valuable items or money in the town, which is the hub for all your surveying expeditions into the varied and unique climates of Hisui.

It's a unique game in the series, that retains the essential elements of Pokémon games such as battling and collecting, but changes the formula first introduced in 1996 by adding new mechanics and changing existing ones, which makes for a more skill-based, exploratory and novel addition.

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 28/01/2022

Platforms: Switch

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Role-Play

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: Nintendo UK (@NintendoUK)

Players: 1




Play Time: This game will take between 25 hours and 35 hours to complete. Although the main story lasts about 30 hours, you can spend many more completing side missions, exploring and catching Pokémon, and completing the post-story content.

Play StylePlay Style

This is a single-player game. While you can trade with other players over the internet, there are no multiplayer battles or other multiplayer features.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 7 for Mild Violence. This game features cartoon-like combat between fantasy characters, mainly during turn-based battles. The violence found in this combat is unrealistic, as are reactions to it. Attacks don't cause any visible harm or hurt and impacts result in characters flinching or being knocked backwards, with a reduction in their health bar. When defeated, characters simply faint. Human-like characters can also be attacked, but their reactions are minimal, simply flashing red. Their health regenerates if they dodge and run away, but if they are repeatedly hit, they look tired and fall to their knees, after which the screen fades to black. The game features some large Pokémon that can roar disturbingly. This may be a bit intense for younger players.

Rated for younger players in the US. Rated ESRB EVERYONE for Mild Fantasy Violence. Most battles are turn-based, with players performing attack moves (e.g., bites, elemental attacks) to deplete opponents' health meters. Some battles occur close-up, as players try to calm enraged Pokemon by throwing balms (bags containing the Pokemon's favorite things) at them.

Skill Rating

10+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. The nature of the more open world play means that you can hit difficulty spikes not good for very young players. Pokemon Let's Go or Pokemon Go are a better place for new-to-the-series youngsters to start.


Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'. To trade Pokémon, which makes some Pokémon evolve, you need a Switch Online account, but you can also evolve all of the Pokémon in the game through other means without trading them.


Our Pokémon Legends: Arceus Accessibility Report documents 20 accessibility features:
There are no difficulty settings, and the game is significantly harder than previous games in the series, and sometimes requires you to quickly press buttons, use multiple at once, and hold down buttons for prolonged periods, such as when you want to throw a Pokéball, where you need to hold down a button to prepare to throw. In sections like this, you can either use the joysticks or motion controls to aim, or a combination of both, and you can change the sensitivity of both.

The subtitles throughout are fairly large and of high contrast, but some of the other text can be of low contrast, and very small, making it difficult to read on occasion.

When out in the wild, Pokémon can be very small and subsequently hard to see. If they spot you and move to attack you, a visual indicator makes this very clear. On the HUD, you can see a pointer indicating the location and distance to your quest location.

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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