Tuesday, May 24

Pokémon Arceus test: A real breath of fresh air for the saga?

As the festivities around the 25th anniversary of Pokémon come to an end, the Nintendo Switch welcomes this Friday, January 28, Pokémon Legends Arceus. An adventure game eagerly awaited by fans, since it is supposed to offer a first turn towards an ambitious 3D open world.

First of all, it should be noted that the Pokémon games have offered, almost every year for more than two decades, a proven formula around the collection and training of small creatures. And if we were entitled, with rare exceptions, to games introducing real novelties (Pokémon Unite, Quest, Snap …), only Pokémon Go was a phenomenal success capable of eclipsing the main franchise.

But in recent years, we had the right to expect a more ambitious Pokémon game. A challenge that the Sword and Shield versions had already almost met in 2019 on Switch, while remaining too much on the franchise’s achievements. At the start of 2022, it is therefore towards Pokémon Arceus that the eyes of trainers around the world are riveted. And it is moreover nourished by all these expectations that we embarked on this new quest.

Because with its false airs of the brilliant Zelda Breath of The Wild, in the treatment of its cel-shaded 3D, and its promise of a more immersive and permissive open world, Pokémon Arceus already ticked two first interesting boxes for the curious.

After having defined the visual aspect of his hero or his heroine (as desired), the player finds himself in an era that could be described as the medieval era of the Pokémon universe. More precisely in the kingdom of Hisui, which will therefore be your new era of play. Not really surprised to have been torn from his time or his family, our budding trainer gladly accepts to embark on a quest which consists of complete the very first Pokédex in history.

A precious document, as researchers and trainers help each other to better understand the small creatures that inhabit the lands of this kingdom. But the coming of our hero is also accompanied by big changes, since the arrival of our hero also has an impact on the world and the personality of the pokémons, many of which become more aggressive, while strange changes are taking place.


From the first minutes, we see that Arceus intends to change the game. It can even be confusing for regulars, like me, who might expect to find their bearings. But in reality, it will be necessary to get used to a new gameplay, freer and which requires a good two hours before you start to feel comfortable. Starting with the phases of capturing pokémons, where the player does not necessarily need to engage in a fight to throw a pokéball at him and catch him. It is possible here to spot a creature and approach it, after an observation phase, hidden in tall grass, rice fields or a rock. On the lookout or throwing a bait to attract him after having diverted his attention, we then conclude the deal by throwing a pokéball.

Game tension and fun

And, it must be admitted, this new approach introduces a form of tension and pleasure, which in particular makes it possible to bypass the eternal fights which added heaviness – which RPG fans may regret. But these games, which form the essence of the saga, have not been forgotten. It is always possible to engage in confrontations, especially since some pokemon will not let it go and will require to be weakened to be captured.


Above all, each pokémon will be entitled to its own pokédex page, with specific missions that will have to be done. The trainer will then turn into a curious biologist, who will have to take care to fulfill different missions and experiments. Capture a pokemon by surprise, make it use a certain attack, make it evolve, observe a specimen of another color… Tasks that don’t seem like much at first sight, but which often turn out to be difficult for whom would like to study the small monsters thoroughly, without it being necessary to go through the game.

A healthy sense of freedom

Because that’s also what Pokémon Arceus offers, a game that ultimately leaves a lot of freedom, punctuated by a nice storyline and colorful characters. Game Freak, the studio that created Pokémon games, is overhauling many mechanics and finding a way to constantly stimulate the player’s attention thanks to new challenges (sometimes too many) which we leave you the surprise of. Know above all that the kingdom of Hisui will be revealed in small touches before offering access to all its secrets and all its expanses.

“Arceus touches on the intent of Zelda Breath of the Wild. A feat of which few games can boast. »

On the side of the grievances, we may regret a certain clipping and textures with sometimes dubious rendering. Especially since some sets seem very empty and some areas of the same region are repeated. The open world of this pokemon is full of good intentions but still reveals the technical limits of the Switch.

Still, with this new episode, Game Freaks is laying an interesting foundation here around a game that could divide fans from the start. Because if Pokémon Arceus is not perfect, we have never had so much fun returning to immerse ourselves in its open world, populated by small missions and challenges. The most exhilarating being to travel the plains on the back of pokémons and to think that all the creatures of our pokédex have no more secrets for us. Above all, Pokémon Arceus touches on the intention of a certain Zelda Breath of the Wild, constantly tickling our curiosity as a gamer to better revive interest. A feat of which few games can boast.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Nintendo, available January 28 sur Switch.


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