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Pokemon Legends: Arceus: Release date, new features and how to pre-order the game

Game Freak is coming strong into 2022 with a brand new Pokémon game due at the end of January. First announced in February of last year during a Nintendo Direct event, fans were treated to a brand-new trailer that promised the open-world gameplay of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild along with classic monster-catching action the games are known for.

In that trailer, viewers saw vast open fields populated with familiar Pokémon in a region that mimicked 19th-century Japan, suggesting that this game will be set earlier than previous titles as players are tasked with putting together the region’s very first Pokédex by studying the creatures and catching them in Pokéballs.

The last Pokémon games we were treated to were Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl in November 2021, both remakes of Nintendo DS releases from 2006 that closely followed the normal series formula. With Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Game Freak is rebuilding the series from the ground up with the most anticipated Pokémon game in years.

Many longtime players will be wondering if Pokémon Legends: Arceus will become the template for all other Pokémon titles to follow – it promises to be the most drastic overhaul in the series to date.

With that in mind, here are all the details we have about how to pre-order Pokémon Legends: Arceus, what new features we can expect and its official release date.

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When is ‘Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ coming out in the UK?

The game is scheduled for a worldwide release on 28 January 2022 exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.

How to pre-order ‘Pokémon Legends: Arceus’

In a first for mainline Pokémon games, Pokémon Legends: Arceus won’t have two separate versions being released simultaneously as was the case with Red/Blue, Diamond/Pearl, Sword/Shield and so on. The focus of this game will likely be a single-player experience rather than trading version-exclusive Pokémon, so you won’t have to worry about accidentally purchasing the same version as your friends if you were looking to trade with them.

People can pre-order from the Nintendo website (from £49.99, Nintendo.co.uk) and receive a free steelbook (metal game case) and figurine while stocks last. Game (£49.99, Game.co.uk) is offering a similar deal with a steelbook case while Amazon (£44.99, Amazon.co.uk) and Smyths (£44.99, Smythstoys.com) are offering the standalone game at a slightly discounted price.

What makes ‘Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ different to previous games?

Pokémon Legends: Arceus – Extended gameplay video (Nintendo Switch)

In a newly released trailer ahead of the game’s launch, we have a much better idea of what new features to expect.

Rather than travelling between towns, battling gym leaders and winning badges, as was the case for the majority of previous titles, Pokémon Legends: Arceus will open up the world to the player to explore a wide array of different regions. Many were quick to compare this new Pokémon title with Breath of the Wild, but rather than being one continuous open world, the game will be broken up into multiple large areas. A more apt comparison would be Capcom’s Monster Hunter series, where players would venture out of settlements to explore the wilderness and hunt the monsters therein.

So far we’ve had a sneak peak of the “Obsidian fieldlands” – an area where Pokémon that reside in forests and meadows can be found.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus also introduces a new crafting system into the game. Rather than buying items such as Pokéballs from a shop, players will be able to make their own by gathering resources, which should incentivise exploration of every corner of the map. Pokémon can also be used to help harvest materials from trees, rocks and other parts of the environment.

The different Pokémon that can be found roaming these regions will show different behaviours. Some will be docile to the player’s presence while others may appear more skittish and will need to be approached cautiously. Items, such as bait, can be used to distract Pokémon in order to make them easier to catch and observe.

Other Pokémon may be more aggressive and can enter an “alert state”, where they won’t be able to be captured until they are defeated by one of your Pokémon.

When these battles occur, gameplay will shift to a turn-based battle system that will be more familiar to Pokémon veterans. However, there are now two different styles of fighting: strong and agile. Agile fighting techniques will allow your Pokémon to attack at greater speed at the cost of strength, whereas a strong style can do greater damage but leave you vulnerable to counterattacks.

If a player is attacked by a Pokémon and loses all their health, they will blackout, lose some of their items and be returned to the nearest settlement.

The main base of operations for the player will be Jubilife Village, where they can craft items, change outfits and trade Pokémon with other players. This will also be where missions and requests can be taken from the local residents. Each mission will advance the story of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, but requests are optional extras that can be undertaken for small rewards.

Where will ‘Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ be set?

According to Nintendo, Pokémon Legends: Arceus will take place in the past in the Hisui region, which goes on to be known as the Sinnoh region during Diamond and Pearl.

As a new recruit to the Galaxy Expedition team, the player character is tasked with documenting different Pokémon across the region by Professor Laventon. As the game unfolds, players will encounter an unusual phenomenon that causes ‘noble’ Pokémon to act aggressively. It will be up to players to find the cause of this unusual behaviour as the story progresses.

Will ‘Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ feature new Pokemon?

Pokémon Legends: Arceus will feature many of the characters from the previous games, with a handful of new creatures confirmed. It will also feature regional variants of existing Pokémon, meaning they will have new type advantages/disadvantages and an updated appearance to match the new setting.

Players will also have a grass-, water- or fire-type Pokémon to choose from at the beginning of the game – Rowlet, Oshawott, and Cyndaquil, respectively – which they can train and evolve into stronger monsters.

There have been a number of new Pokémon announced including Wyrdeer, an evolution of Stantler that can be ridden by the player, as well as Basculegion, a fish-type Pokémon that can be used to cross lakes and rivers.

Will ‘Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ work with other Pokémon titles?

According to the Pokémon website, if you have save data from Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, you will be able to take on exclusive research quests to add a mythical Pokémon called Darkrai to your team.

Similarly, if you have previously played Sword and Shield, you will be able to add another exclusive Pokémon, Shaymin, to your team after the credits roll. You will also be able to claim exclusive outfits for your character to wear.

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