'Pokémon Legends Arceus' Is Nearly the Game I've Dreamed About Since 1998

When Pokémon Legends Arceus was first announced, many people jokingly—but understandably—called it “Breath of the Pokémon.” It was a fair comparison, with the melodic piano playing over a sweeping pan of open wilderness. Breath of the Wild is still one of my favorite games of this generation, so having another Nintendo studio taking a similar swing was both exciting and terrifying. Game Freak had just pointed at the fences. Weirdly, those fences were located in the same area as a game I’d been imagining since the first time I played Pokémon Red on the tiny dark screen of my Game Boy Color in 1998.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/g5qd7b/pokemon-legends-arceus-review

Great review by Cado and I agree a lot with it but I don’t think I’m ready to cut GameFreak slack on the visuals. I understand they are not used to working on this kind of game BUT they also are working with the single most profitable IP in the world. Pokemon has made an estimated 90 BILLION USD and they can’t come up with people who could help make this game look better?

I’m tired of giving them the benefit of the doubt. It’s really easy to think of them as the scrappy small group of developers who put out the cute Pokemon games that everyone loves. They have the money to staff up or bring in outside consultants to help them make the art not look like a late era GameCube title. The color pallet in this game is so lifeless and dull it’s just upsetting. I wasn’t a huge fan of the DP remakes but at least the color scheme didn’t remind me of early 2000s shooters.

But the games sell very well so why put more money in when your return doesn’t change.

I wonder if that was an attempt to make a more “adult” game like Insomniac (mistakenly) did with FUSE/Overstrike back in the day. “Suck all of the color out of it, like adults do”

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I really don’t understand complaints about the graphics. I really like the weather effects on characters, and when I’m moving through the environment it looks good to me. “Late era GameCube” is a fine graphical standard. I wish more games looked like that and stopped wasting resources on graphical fidelity that doesn’t make the game any more enjoyable. It is cute that my character’s model gets covered in snow while it’s snowing. I don’t care that things pop in a bit while I’m flying across a large region full of creatures running around, it would not be any better if that didn’t happen.


I like the game’s art style quite a lot, honestly. Feels like a desaturated Wind Waker. I think it works with the idea of a kind of barren, wild, actively hostile world. BOTW is the obvious counterpoint as a much more saturated post-apocalyptic vista but BOTW’s world isn’t hostile in the same way this one is — that world is made hostile by an invading force, and the beauty makes sense as a contrast with it. This world is just hostile in the way a landscape can be. It’s kind of starkly beautiful to me. (That said, I’ve always had a thing for barren, kinda washed out landscapes, like I genuinely love Half-Life 2’s color palette).

However, I do think stuff like the draw distance impacts the game a bit, or the way I just watched a Gyarados fly around in the distance with the framerate of a fairly nonchalant flip-book. That stuff pulls me out, and in some ways is more of a tech problem (though… BOTW managed to make its dragons look pretty fluid and real in the distance), but also says something about the way the environment is composed and designed.