Pokémon Legends: Arceus review (2023)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Pokémon Legends: Arceus struggles with the graphics and some aspects of the gameplay, but its expansive world, endless Pokémon you can find, and strong story make it worth playing.


  • +

    Nostalgic experience

  • +

    Easy to play for hours

  • +

    Great plot


  • -

    Disappointing graphics

  • -

    Bad lag times

  • -

    Occasionally unfair mechanics

Why you can trust Tom's GuideOur writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services and apps to help you find what's best for you.Learn more about how to test, analyze and evaluate.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus: Specs

Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Price: 60 $
Release date: January 28, 2022
Kind: RPG

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is unlike any other Pokémon release so far. With an expansive world and plenty of Pokémon to discover, befriend, and battle, there's plenty to keep the little kid in you coming back to this game, time after time. But the graphics just don't match other Nintendo releases on the Switch, and the game's occasionally unfair battles can frustrate players.

Read on for our full Pokémon Legends: Arceus review.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus review: Story

Pokémon Legends: Arceus begins with one character — you — falling through space-time, your smartphone drifting into the ether as you approach a hole below you. When you drop in, you find yourself in the vast lands of Hisui, where wild Pokémon roam and where humans are unaccustomed to the strange creatures.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus review (1)

If you've played Pokémon before, you know that players usually take on the role of a Pokémon trainer. In Arceus, you must quell the frenzied nobles who have been attacking the Hisuians ever since you fell through the time rift in the sky. You are very far back in time, at least 100 years before people respect and live with Pokémon.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus review (2)

As the game progresses, it is clear that you are working to create the world of previous franchise games such as(especially considering that part of your goal in Arceus is to work with Diamond and Pearl clan leaders).

While you might get bored with the absurd amount of cutscenes and dialogue in the first few hours of the game (and every time you reach a plot point, really), the story is pretty compelling if you read all the dialogue. It is well written and comments on our own world today, touching on issues of religious differences, logic and reason, and anthropocentrism.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus review (3)

Without giving away the entire plot, the story generally follows you as you defeat five frantic Pokémon bosses. To do this, you'll need to collect stars on your research badge, which you earn by completing research tasks such as catching new Pokémon and using certain moves in battle. In a twist on the typical RPG plot - and the typical Pokémon plot - you'll actually get a few minutes of excitement and celebration before a commander accuses you of sabotaging Hisui.

As you try to prove him wrong, you'll get closer and closer to the ultimate endgame: Completing the Pokédex and catching Arceus, the godlike Pokémon who reigns over Hisui. Luckily for Pokémon fans, there's plenty to do once you've completed all the main quests. Completing the Pokédex, which is Hisui's first written record of all 242 Pokémon that live there, unlocks a new set of requests (side quests).

Pokémon Legends: Arceus review: Visuals and graphics

Unfortunately, the visuals and graphics in Pokémon Legends: Arceus rarely live up to Nintendo's ridiculously high standards from other open-world games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

First, let's cover what's great. Their characters and outfits look exactly as you'd hope, with vaguely chibi facial expressions that blend in perfectly with the Pokémon themselves. The Pokémon are animated just like in other recent Pokémon releases, such asNew Pokémon Snap. It's a joy to watch them walk while hiding in a bush nearby.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus review (4)

However, that's where the good graphics end. The scenery is beautiful when viewed from afar, but up close the trees are painfully simple and appear over and over again. Frames drop constantly, especially when a Pokémon is moving in the background of a scene. I have yet to see a Pokémon fly in a smooth circle. There's also an extremely frustrating lag, especially during the final frenzied noble battle.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus review (5)

The dark areas of the game also highlight some painfully simple design elements. For example, in a dark room, characters and walls appear with faint white outlines that flicker as you move through the space.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus review (6)

Aside from the occasional lag, most of these issues don't affect gameplay. While playing, I didn't care too much that the graphics weren't that interesting. I was very focused on the Pokémon themselves - and it's clear that most of the developers' time and effort went into bringing these creatures to life rather than making sure the scenery looked perfect.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus review: Gameplay

The gameplay in Pokémon Legends: Arceus is probably the most exciting part of the game, especially for players who have been in Pokémon for decades. As in the other Pokémon games, you can travel with up to six Pokémon, which faint when out of HP. You can revive them by resting in town or at a base camp, or with potions or heals. No Pokémon ever dies.

You're free to roam around Hisui's world as you see fit, and you'll gain access to more areas as you defeat more nobles. Soon, you'll be able to sprint, dig, swim, climb, and fly all over the area — and it's awesome. The game uses all of these mechanics as you travel across different terrains so you can go from riding a huge Pokémon in the water straight to sprinting on land.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus review (7)

The game also uses many typical RPG mechanics, such as crouching and running. As you approach a Pokémon, you can choose to throw a Pokeball or a fruit from your bag (which is punishingly small, even after buying lots of new slots), or throw a Pokémon into battle. This is where the gameplay gets a little frustrating.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus review (8)

As with most Pokémon games, battles are turn-based. In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, you can choose from Strong Style and Agile Style attacks, as well as normal attacks. While Strong Style increases your impact, it also increases the chance that your opponent will take two turns in a row. Agile Style works the other way around. Messing with turn order sometimes doesn't work and can feel extremely unfair.

Another shocking aspect of battles is what happens when multiple Pokémon want to fight you at once (or when a human opponent sends out two Pokémon at once). Instead of allowing you to send out another Pokémon or take a turn each of their turns, opponents take a turn, then you take a turn, and so on. This can result in your Pokémon passing out before you even get to take a turn, which is bad, especially when you're trying to advance the plot.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus review: Requests and Wisps

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is packed with extra things to do, especially with the added challenges of requests and wisps.

Requests are the game's version of side quests and feature interesting requests from people around Hisui. Whether they want to see the Pokédex entry for a specific Pokémon or need a Pokémon to help their farm, the requests are largely focused on the spiritual purpose of the game: To help Hisui and his people live in harmony with Pokémon.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus review (9)

Wisps are glowing purple creatures scattered across the land, similar to Breath of the Wild's Koroks. You'll often be rewarded for peeking around a dark corner or hiding behind a building with a tissue, and you'll get new rewards from a cute kid in town if you tell him how many pips you've found.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus review: Verdict

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a great game, despite its visual shortcomings. While some of the mechanics based on the series may seem unfair, the game's expansive world is simply joyous, filled with adorable creatures and exciting surprises to discover. While Pokémon Legends: Arceus isn't perfect, its pitfalls make me excited for future Pokémon Legends titles, especially if they continue to explore the interesting relationship between humans and Pokémon.

Zoe Hana


Score! This Labor Day deal knocks $719 off our top commuter ebikeHow to Watch Vacation Friends 2: Release Date and TimeArris SURFboard max W161 review
See more last ►

no comments yetComment from the forums

    Most popular
    Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Oven Review

    WithKate Kozuch

    Sony STR-AN1000 review

    WithSteve May

    JBL Boombox 3 Review

    WithMichael Gowan

    Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review: The best gaming laptop of 2023 (so far)

    WithDave Meikleham

    Razer Nommo V2 Pro review

    WithMichael Gowan

    Nike Vaporfly Next% 3 review: the shoe I want on my feet on race day

    WithJane McGuire

    Epson EcoTank ET-2850 Review

    WithEric Butterfield

    Solo Stove Pi Prime review: A great pizza oven for beginners

    WithMike Prospero

    Canon EOS R50 review

    WithPeter Wolinsky

    LG G3 OLED TV review — the brightest OLED ever is here

    WithMatthew Murray

    TP-Link Archer BE800 Review

    WithBrian Nadel


    What is the answer to the quiz in Pokemon Legends arceus? ›

    That code is 60131. Once you answer that, it will reward you with a piece of the Red Chain. For more about Pokemon Legends: Arceus, check out our how long it takes to beat and how missions work, how to complete The Sea's Legend quest for Manaphy, and how to catch Shiny Pokemon.

    Why is it so hard to catch Arceus? ›

    Similar to Giratina, catching Arceus is difficult because of the lengths players have to go to in order to catch it. As was stated at the beginning of the game, the player's task is to discover and catch all the Pokemon in Hisui.

    How hard is it to complete the Pokedex in Pokemon Legends arceus? ›

    Completing your Pokédex in Pokémon Legends: Arceus is certainly a formidable task, but with enough determination, it is achievable. Remember these tips as you head out on your adventure, and you'll make Hisui region history.

    Is Pokemon Legends arceus worth completing? ›

    Getting the chance to battle Arceus and actually defeat him is the best Pokedex reward any game has ever had. Pokemon Legends: Arceus does require players to complete the Pokedex in order to face Arceus, the game's namesake, but it's well worth it.

    How to get arceus without cheating? ›

    Acquiring Without Cheats
    1. To unlock this on Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum, you'll need to complete two tasks: beat the Elite Four and see all 150 Pokémon in the Sinnoh Pokedex. ...
    2. To unlock this on HeartGold and SoulSilver, you'll need to complete two tasks: beat the Elite Four and capture 60 Pokémon from the Pokedex.

    Can you get arceus without cheating? ›

    Arceus is an Event Pokemon, meaning that it could only be acquired legitimately through special events held by Nintendo. The last Arceus event was in 2010 and there are no more planned, meaning the only way to get one in Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum without cheating is to trade with someone who got one from the event.

    What is the hardest Pokémon to get in legend Arceus? ›

    Cherubi Spawns In Few Trees In Pokémon Legends: Arceus

    Cherubi is one of the most elusive Pokémon in Legends: Arceus and many players spend hours searching for this Grass-type Cherry Pokémon.

    How many to catch before Arceus? ›

    Capture all 237 of Hisui's main Pokémon. You have to capture them, it's not enough to register them. You don't need to capture Phione, Manaphy, Darkrai or Shaymin. You can do these quests whenever you want (if you capture them you will have 241, Arceus as final Pokémon, 242 out of 242).

    What is the weakest Pokémon in Arceus? ›

    1) Unown. It's a pretty simple explanation for why this is the worst Pokemon in the game. Only getting access to one move is pretty rough. Unown is actually worse in this game than other showings because it can't hold Choice Specs.

    How long does it take to 100% Pokémon Legends: Arceus? ›

    When focusing on the main objectives, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is about 25½ Hours in length. If you're a gamer that strives to see all aspects of the game, you are likely to spend around 77½ Hours to obtain 100% completion.

    What happens if you complete every research task in legends arceus? ›

    Completing All Research Tasks. When a player has completed enough Research Tasks, their Research Level will continue to climb. At 10, they'll be able to view their entry. Completing all Pokemon's entries in the Pokedex is the only way to get the Shiny Charm in Pokemon Legends: Arceus.

    What is the perfect research level in Arceus? ›

    The maximum research level for Pokémon is 10. When this is reached, the research level will be preceded by "Complete!" If all goals are completed, this becomes "Perfect!" Reaching complete or perfect research will increase the chances of finding that Pokémon as a Shiny Pokémon.

    Do you have to 100 the Pokedex to catch Arceus? ›

    You don't need to complete the Pokedex to finish the game, you only need to have caught at least one of everything in order to face Arceus. Completing the Pokedex only gets you the Shiny Charm.

    How many endings does Pokemon Legends arceus have? ›

    Pokémon Legends Arceus has three endings: the main ending (main campaign, to see the credits), the true ending (defeat a certain character and get THAT item) and the secret ending, which gives access to the showdown against the last Pokémon in the game.

    Is Pokemon Legends arceus endless? ›

    0 updated of Pokémon Legends: Arceus. It is a continuous series of successive battles that only ends when the player loses or quits.

    What is the answer to the numbers in arceus? ›

    Again, rather than telling Uxie the answer for each species individually, players must combine the five numbers to form one five-digit number. That is, players can type the answer of “60131” to complete this trial and receive their reward. And that's all there is to it!

    What is the answer to the Azelf quiz? ›

    Answer to Azelf's Trial

    Try to throw a few balms and you'll soon see it's difficult to do. But don't give up when it asks you to. Instead, just keep throwing until it's asked if you'll stop a few times. Then with one final throw, you'll hit Azelf.

    What is the answer to UXIE's question in Pokémon Legends Arceus? ›

    Answer: 60131

    Unown have one eye. Magneton are just three Magnemite together, and each of those have one eye, so Magneton have three. Dusclops has a single eye. For answering correctly, you'll receive Uxie's Claw - the third part needed for the Red Chain.

    What is the question in the cave in Pokemon Arceus? ›

    It asks how many eyes five particular Pokemon have, with players then needing to put their answers together and type them in. For those at a loss, Combee has six eyes, Zubat has none, Unown has one, Magneton has three, and Dusclops has one. As such, the correct answer is 60131.


    Top Articles
    Latest Posts
    Article information

    Author: Moshe Kshlerin

    Last Updated: 09/22/2023

    Views: 5830

    Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

    Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

    Author information

    Name: Moshe Kshlerin

    Birthday: 1994-01-25

    Address: Suite 609 315 Lupita Unions, Ronnieburgh, MI 62697

    Phone: +2424755286529

    Job: District Education Designer

    Hobby: Yoga, Gunsmithing, Singing, 3D printing, Nordic skating, Soapmaking, Juggling

    Introduction: My name is Moshe Kshlerin, I am a gleaming, attractive, outstanding, pleasant, delightful, outstanding, famous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.