The Pokémon Company revealed Pokémon Legends: Arceus‘s new battle styles and other gameplay changes during the latest Pokémon Presents showcase. Developer Game Freak’s new Nintendo Switch installment of the popular monster-collecting JRPG franchise was announced back in February, and it’s set turn a great deal of the mainline Pokémon series’ tried-and-true conventions on their heads.
In what later becomes Pokémon Diamond And Pearl‘s Sinnoh, Pokémon Legends: Arceus‘ Hisui region will see players travel far and wide to collect various Pokémon and complete the world’s first Pokédex. Like previous Pokémon games, players will be able to choose between one of three Starter Pokémon (Cyndaquil, Oshawatt, and Rowlet) and add more creatures to their collections by weakening and catching them in battle. However, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is making some changes to traditional battles, as well as doing away with certain elements like gym battles.
During a Pokémon Presents stream by The Official Pokémon YouTube Channel, a large chunk of gameplay was shown, with an updated Pokémon Legends: Arceus site explaining how battles will work in detail. Instead of traditional random encounters, Pokémon Legends: Arceus‘s Poké Balls can be thrown at untamed creature to initiate battles. From there, trainers select Pokémon attacks, and certain monsters will be able to perform multiple actions in a row depending on “stats and other factors.” Also new are Battle Styles, Strong and Agile, which alter Pokémon moves. Strong Style emphasizes attack power at the cost of movement speed, while Agile Style allows for faster but weaker strikes. Certain styles work better against particular Pokémon, bringing an additional layer of strategy to the proceedings.
The Pokémon Presents stream revealed many other aspects of the game, such as the fact that players will be able ride mounts in Pokémon Arceus: Legends and catch new region-specific Pokémon forms, like Hisuian Growlithe and Braviary. Other news featured at the event includes the official launch date for the mobile phone version of Pokémon Unite and several tidbits regarding the upcoming Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, which also happen to take place in the same region as Pokémon Legends: Arceus – albeit in the modern day.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is an interesting concept for the long-running Pokémon franchise, putting the tried-and-true formula of collecting monsters in a fascinating ancient setting to establish a level of world-building that’s quite new to the series. The new Strong and Agile Battle Styles seem like they could add a strategic foil to the standard Pokémon battle fare, and players will likely get to see more of them in action ahead of Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ January release date.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus will be available on Nintendo Switch on January 28, 2021.