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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Thoughts on the Pokémon Legends: Arceus Gameplay Preview Trailer

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - There's a similar game already out you can try...

While we got some new story and world-building bits around Pokémon Legends: Arceus last month, some people thought we still don't have enough of an understanding of the gameplay. So The Pokémon Company International released this over 13-minute gameplay preview trailer last week... with information that we pretty much already knew. But, hey, people can claim greater understanding now that it's consolidated in one place, so go ahead and watch if you're interested:

As far as I'm concerned, it's just a Pokémon form of the already-out Monster Hunter Stories 2, also on the Switch, so if you want to get a feel for how Pokémon Legends: Arceus might play, just download the excellent and lengthy Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin demo.

I kind of just want to make that the whole article and end it there. But you probably want more content than that. Fine. I'll go over the trailer bit by bit. Note that if you're avoiding Pokémon Legends: Arceus spoilers that are wandering out there on the Internet right now, you won't find any of them in this article (especially because I don't know anything about those “leaks”). This article is entirely based on the above trailer.

Pokémon Legends Arceus Luxray Strong Style
According to traditional Pokémon RPG stat spreads,
the maximum HP a Luxray can have at level 50 is 187.
So how is this 197 HP possible?
...Oh, I guess I ought to mention that this screenshot is inherently cool.

Just like in the Monster Hunter games (and... many other games), there are diverse ecosystems, and there are a lot of collectibles throughout the areas, in addition to hub villages where civilised people hang out and give you a variety of quests for items. A big part of the fun of the exploration-based gameplay is picking up these things and crafting new items from the materials, including healing items, items that will help you get new monsters, and items to help you in battle. Your monsters also will help scavenge materials, and you may need your companions to explore new parts of the world, such as by riding on their back (including in water) or bashing rocks. Wild monsters have different behaviours in the fields, ranging from shy to aggressive, and there are scarier large boss monsters to encounter. If you encounter a monster, you'll enter a turn-based battle between the untamed monster(s) and your own monster(s), and there are many strategic considerations and trade-offs to think about when selecting your options. You, as a person, also have an active role in fights. There's an extensive encyclopedia of all your encountered monsters, as well as player customisation options.

I wrote that preceding bit very generically, since it applies exactly to both Monster Hunter Stories and Pokémon Legends: Arceus. And I covered the whole video, too. I'm sure you can spend a lot of time doing side-quests and raising your monsters in both games, or you can try to go through the story directly. And your monster party will be limited, so you'll have to choose which monsters to raise and bring and which to bench or abandon. It's all fairly similar gameplay-wise, structure-wise, and style-wise. Again, I'd recommend you try out the Monster Hunter Stories 2 demo to find out if you'd be into the type of game that Pokémon Legends: Arceus appears to be.

Of course, the big difference is that, if you're like me, you're way more into Pokémon as a franchise than Monster Hunter, so the Sinnoh (Hisui) lore that Pokémon Legends: Arceus promises to bring will be way more impactful. That, and just seeing the Pokémon themselves is more emotionally appealing than Velocidromes and Pukei-Pukeis. A Pokémon fan could appreciate Pokémon Legends: Arceus even if they don't click with the gameplay.

I remember people called the Monster Hunter Stories games Monster Hunter mixed with Pokémon—in other words, Stories was seen as quite inspired by the Pokémon games. And now people (especially myself) are calling Pokémon Legends: Arceus a Pokémon game quite inspired by Monster Hunter. No wonder they're ending up similar!

Ludwig does own Monster Hunter Stories 2, but he hasn't actually opened the box up, so his only experience IS its demo. He'll get around to it when he's done playing Pokémon Shining Pearl, since he can only handle up to two JRPGs at a time! (Ring Fit Adventure and... something else.) He's not committed one way or another if he'll buy Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet also are quite comparable to Monster Hunter Stories.


  1. I probably won’t get it. I really fell in love with alpha sapphire but felt nothing for sun and moon. The only other game I played is Yellow, and I did really enjoy that one. Although I’ve always been a Nintendo guy, I never really got into Pokémon. Oh well. I can always rent it from the library, or Yknow GAMEFLY.

    On a separate note, while I understand that Pokemon walking around in the overworld makes sense and is practically expected, I don’t like it. I love the feature that allows you to have a Pokemon companion follow you around, but walking up to a Pokemon isn’t my favorite. It totally removes the mystery and excitement of random encounters. While some like that, and again it is inevitable, it just doesn’t sit right with me.

    1. Oh, random encounters wouldn't work for this kind of game at all. I mean, nor would it make sense for a Monster Hunter title, BECAUSE there is overworld interaction.

      It'd be like having random encounters in, say, a Paper Mario title, which'd make "first strikes!" not a game mechanic.

    2. Totally, yup. Speaking of that, I love how the music changes if you get the first strike, get stricken by the enemy, or don’t get either.

      Did you get Legends Arceus?

    3. As the footer of this article says, no.

      I've been procrastinating on tackling the Elite 4 in Shining Pearl.
      I guess I should try today.

    4. I don’t think the footer directly implies a no, a think it could go either way.

      Yes Do!

    5. The footer says no as of right now but maybe in the future.

      Cynthia beat me for the first game over I ever got in this game. <.<


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