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Ways Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ Combat Is Different From Previous Games

The upcoming Pokémon Legends: Arceus is perhaps the biggest reinvention of the series’ conventional battle system, taking Pokémon’s turn-based battles to real time. The foundational pieces of the player capturing, training, and battling Pokémon are still there, but new gameplay elements alter nearly every facet of Legends: Arceus‘ combat in some way. Pokémon Legends: Arceus does away with entirely instanced combat scenarios, and integrates the turn based battles into its new, semi-open world gameplay.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus will take players to the Hisui region, the landmass of the Pokémon world that would later become known as Sinnoh. As a member of the Galaxy Expedition Team’s Survey Corps, the player will partake in the observance of Hisui’s native Pokémon, and conduct research tasks in Legends: Arceus in order to complete the region’s first Pokédex. Discovering how Pokémon engage in battle appears to be an integral part of the Survey Corps research, and players will gather a team of six Pokémon to engage with the wildlife in Hisui’s different areas.


Related: Pokémon Legends: Arceus Isn’t BOTW, It’s Monster Hunter

Freedom of movement is a big emphasis in Legends: Arceus, and this will be reflected in the game’s battle system. Rather than the mostly linear routes supplemented with the occasional explorable area of Pokémon games past, Legends: Arceus is allowing players to freely explore the untamed wilderness of Hisui. Conducting research for the Survey Corps will be the impetus for this exploration, but the legendary Pokémon Arceus will clearly play a major role in the game’s overall narrative. Jubilife Village, which will eventually become Pokémon Diamond and Pearl‘s Jubilife City, appears to be Hisui’s only fragment of civilization, and outside of it players will engage in combat in a variety of ways.

Entering Combat In Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Entering combat in Pokémon Legends: Arceus will be quite different from previous games

Pokémon Legends: Arceus‘ combat has been reworked from previous games right down to its very beginning. In the mainline Pokémon titles, players begin a combat in a variety of ways – randomly encountering a Pokémon in tall grass or a cave, wandering too near a trainer, challenging a Gym Leader, etc. Pokémon Sword and Shield introduced visible wild Pokémon in the over world with the advent of Galar’s Wild Area, and Legends: Arceus is making this feature the norm. Wandering through tall grass won’t randomly trigger a Pokémon battle, and players will be able to see where opportunities to enter combat are. Instead of the game dragging players into a battle, the player will select one of their companions’ Poké Balls and throw it at a wild Pokémon to enter combat.

Since the advent of a Pokémon League has yet to occur in Hisui, and Pokémon Legends: Arceus might not have Gym Leaders, a major difference in combat opportunities will be a noticeable lack of trainers to run into. Though the battles themselves will be completely different, wild Pokémon will at least partially take on the role of trainers seeking out the player for combat. As the Official Pokémon YouTube Channel has shown in its new, extended gameplay preview for Legends: Arceus, some wild Pokémon – such as Bidoof – will be inclined to simply ignore the player. Others will either run away, and more aggressive Pokémon will seek confrontation like trainers did in previous games. This will make stealth a major component of exploration, with the player sneaking through tall grass instead of Pokémon.

Entering combat will also no longer lead to an instanced scenario. When running into a wild Pokémon or trainer in previous titles, a short animation would transition the game from the overhead view to the battle screen. With Legends: Arceus‘ more freeform approach to traversal, the battle screen has been integrated directly into exploration, and the game will seamlessly transition into combat. Ever since Generation 3, the battle screens have attempted to represent the biome of the area in which combat is taking place, but Pokémon Legends: Arceus‘ battle system is placing combat directly into the overworld, with no transition to a separate screen.

Battling In Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Pokémon Legends: Arceus' combat has a slightly different battle system

Once players throw out their selected Pokémon, a short animation plays and the battle begins a familiar routine. Players will first have the option of selecting Fight, Run, Items, or Pokémon – the four menu options available in previous Pokémon installments. At this point, battles will play out in a familiar fashion, with the player selecting their Pokémon’s attacks and moves, using items when necessary, or trying to capture the wild Pokémon. One major difference to Legends: Arceus‘ new battle screen is the presence of a turn order in the top right corner. The opposing Pokémon’s health and level have been moved to appear over its head to make room for the turn order, which will help players strategize while in combat.

Related: Theory: How Pokémon Were Trained To Hide In Tall Grass

Instead of each Pokémon selecting a move, and then them being performed in an order based on the Speed stat, battles will be more dynamic. Thanks to the different agile and strong styles in Legends: Arceus, moves have the opportunity to alter the turn order. Agile moves will be done quickly but with less damage, and vice versa for strong style. Using these styles will change the turn order in real time. For instance, using a move in strong style may result in the opponent getting two turns in a row. The turn order will also reflect when combat is entered from stealth: catching a Pokémon unaware may give the player two turns at the top of the order.

Fighting Alpha & Noble Pokémon In Legends: Arceus

Noble Pokemon Legends Arceus Explained Kleavor

Every once in a while, players may come across a Pokémon with glowing red eyes in Legends: Arceus. These are known as Alpha Pokémon, will be larger than others of its species, and appear to be a sort of mini-boss. The new gameplay preview shows the player battling a level 50 Walrein Alpha, which knocks out the player’s level 54 Raichu in one hit. For now it’s unclear why these Pokémon are seemingly more aggressive, or what the benefit of fighting them is, but finding these out will likely be part of the player’s research tasks.

Another type of unique encounter will involve Pokémon Legends: Arceus‘ Noble Pokémon, which appear to be the game’s main boss battles. Noble Pokémon are also enlarged, and glow a bright gold color. These battles specifically make use of the game’s dynamic combat system by engaging the player in a multi-stage encounter. Players will have to pacify the Noble Pokémon with balms before they can throw out a companion for a more traditional battle. Reducing the Noble Pokémon’s health to zero doesn’t end the encounter, though, and more balms will have to be thrown. The player can be harmed directly in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and the boss battles against Noble Pokémon will thoroughly use that mechanic as part of the game’s revamped combat system.

Next: Every Character Revealed In Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Source: Pokémon/YouTube

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