Pokémon Legends: Arceus is poised to be an entirely unique experience when compared to the traditional Pokémon games, particularly in the way it uses its Pokédex. The openly explorable world may be drawing the most attention, but Legends: Arceus is also changing the way Pokémon are battled, and even how they’re caught. Nearly every aspect of how players interact with Pokémon will have some fresh perspective, and the setting of Legends: Arceus is allowing a normally fairly benign game mechanic to come to the forefront: the Pokédex.
At surface level the Pokédex is little more than a list of known Pokémon and some statistics about them. In past games, simply encountering a new Pokémon would start a new entry, and catching one would fill in more information. The Pokédex frequently provides interesting factoids about Pokémon lore and the unique behaviors of different monsters, but is ultimately little more than another menu to peruse. Completing each region’s Pokédex has long been an activity for the more dedicated Pokémon fans, but Legends: Arceus is making ita central part of its story.
Since Pokémon Legends: Arceus takes place in a comparatively primitive Sinnoh – known in this time as the Hisui Region – a major component to the game appears to be creating the region’s first Pokédex. In fact, one of the first things on Pokémon Legends: Arceus‘ home page on the Pokémon website is a summation of the game that states, “Survey, catch, and research wild Pokémon in a long-gone era of Sinnoh to complete the region’s first Pokédex.” The Pokédex doesn’t just take precedent narratively, but is mechanically fleshed out as well.
In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, players are working alongside the Galaxy Expedition Team, which is based in Jubilife Village. Players will help the Galaxy Team Survey Corps in studying the local Pokémon wildlife. Excursions will send players to the far reaches of the Hisui Region to discover the Pokémon that live its in its distinct biomes surrounding the central Mount Coronet. In the course of these excursions, players will interact with Pokémon in a variety of ways, all of which are important the foundational research of the first Pokédex.
According to images on the Pokémon website, it appears that each Pokémon in Legends: Arceus will have its own list of research tasks, which keep track of players’ interactions with that species. List items include number of times a Pokémon has been seen, how many have been caught, how often its been observed using different moves, how many different forms have been identified, how many the player has managed to evolve, and more. These tasks appear important to player progression through Pokémon Legends: Arceus, with completing research tasks contributing to an increase in the player’s standing amongst the Survey Corps, as well as unlocking new areas to explore. The Pokédex has always been an essential part of Pokémon games, but never before has it been so intrinsic to the game as it will be in Pokémon Legends: Arceus.