The release of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, which has shaken the tried-and-true formula of the Pokémon series, was a welcome departure from the old games, and a brilliant game in its own right. Is now the best time to get into Pokémon, and which Pokémon games should you play if you have never played Pokémon? James discusses.
First of all, I could not advocate playing Pokémon Legends: Arceus enough. It is a fresh take on a formula that has been stale for almost eight years. The game places emphasis on Pokémon which inhabit the world, rather than battling plays right into Pokémon’s strength. With a vast array of Pokémon, all feeling more lifelike than ever before, it really is the time to start playing. The gameplay loop is addicting and the story is engaging. The focus on a smaller cast of characters serves it well, giving more depth and personality to each character.
One small leap for gaming and one giant leap for Pokémon
Where the game does stumble is the lack of voice acting, which leaves some intense moments feeling like a missed opportunity to advance the storytelling aspects of the Pokémon franchise. In addition to this, the environments do leave much to be desired, especially when you look at the beautiful sky within the game, every other environment does feel slightly lacklustre. Overall, this should be any new players first stop on their Pokémon journey, with it being one small leap for gaming and one giant leap for Pokémon.
In all honestly, the last 8 years of Pokémon, on the whole, could easily be missed out. However, there are some exceptions, and every game is enjoyable if not of the highest quality. The most recent game I would advise playing for a newcomer is Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! or Eevee!. Both games are not the most difficult games, but their artistic style is among the best in the franchise. The catching mechanics are similar to Pokémon GO, making it an easier transition for mobile players than most other games. Although it is not the best game, it does a good job of invoking nostalgia and teaching new players the origins of the Pokémon series.
After that, I would probably say Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire and Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are both worth a play. Both games add enough new mechanics to keep the game feeling fresh and are a fun experience for any player.
Finally, I would strongly advise anyone to try any of the games before Pokémon X and Y. In particular Pokémon Black and White 1 and 2 are must-plays for their story alone. Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver are must-plays for the amount of content within the games, having two regions.
All the games in the series are enjoyable, if not just a little bit too similar
Now, I will explain why a lot of the games within the franchise are worth just leaving to the past. All of them are either too similar to the ones I have mentioned or their stories are just a carbon copy of previous games (with different characters). The gameplay has remained the same since the first games and so has the mapping of the games. Therefore, I have pointed out the games which really differentiate themselves from others. Atop that list has to be Pokémon Legends: Arceus, which feels like a rebirth for the franchise. All the games in the series are enjoyable, if not just a little bit too similar. Throughout all the games, there are wonderful Pokémon to catch and fun to be had. Unfortunately, the series has consistently failed to progress.
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