Pokémon Legends: Arceus brings big changes to the mainline Pokémon experience. Trainers are thrust into its vast open-world, and for the first time, players get to do some of the fighting and catching themselves, rather than just leaving it to the Pokémon. What’s more, the series takes place in a completely different time period, hundreds of years in the past. In doing so, it introduces big questions: How was the very first Pokedéx created? The game reimagines Pokémon, and presents a fresh way to play and see the storied world.
As the Polygon team plays through the game, we can’t shake the feeling that so much of what makes the game shine are the tiny details about the world’s design. What makes the game so memorable doesn’t just lie in getting pummeled by an Alpha Pokémon for the first time, or having some epic battle, but in the little details like the crackle of an animation or the facial expressions of characters. So, Polygon staff decided to round up our favorite details we noticed so far, and write about why we love them. Here’s what captured our hearts as we played through the game.
Crouching to see your Pokémon
When I was a kid, my favorite adults were always the ones that crouched down to talk to me at eye-level. It’s a sign of acknowledgement and respect that helped me feel loved. I think this is why I love doing this with my own teammates in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. In the game, you can release your Pokémon from their Poké Balls and have a conversation with them while crouching. Stooping down is usually used to sneak through the grass, but I’ve just adored seeing screenshots of people crouching next to their favorite Pokémon. Your trainer even responds by smiling when you talk to them, which conveys a sense of intimacy that I like to see in Pokémon games. — Ana Diaz
Watching my Snorlax be a big farmer boy
Early on in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, you unlock a little farm to get apricorns or whatever crafting materials you want. And after a bit of progression, you’ll be able to lend a Pokémon to the farmers in order to expand your field. This is a delight not only because you’ll get some additional farming options, but because you get to watch your Pokémon chill out by the field every time you come into town. I love walking by my Psyduck as it’s staring into the void each time I collect my apricorns. And nothing makes me smile like watching my massive Snorlax sway in the breeze as the farmers till the soil. — Ryan Gilliam
Everyone’s surprised face
The first time I saw a character in Pokémon Legends: Arceus make a surprising face, it was pretty early on in the game. My rival was talking shit about the professor, who subsequently showed up to overhear the conversation. The face my rival made was incredible — mouth open so wide that I could see his molars. It was timed perfectly and just very good. But as it turns out, this is a common expression in the Hisiun region, and even after seeing it dozens of times, I cannot get over how funny it is. Every time someone pulls this face, it makes me smile. —Nicole Carpenter
The crackle of the Poké Ball when you catch a Pokémon
Catching monsters in Pokémon Legends: Arceus has never been easier. Now, you can walk up to any Pokémon at any point and bonk ‘em with a Poké Ball. An industrious trainer can catch dozens of creatures in a matter of an hour. While catching the Pokémon is usually its own reward, I find myself looking for the satisfying, fireworks-like crackle that plays every time you successfully catch a Pokémon. It’s a glorious detail that makes the repetitive action of catching even more fun. — AD
The flute sound
The flute used for calling Pokémon — like Ursaluna and Wyrdeer — is a callback to the flute in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl that never made it into the game. The sound it makes also feels like something straight out of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s such a simple, satisfying sound, and I find myself pushing that button just to hear it more often. —NC
Your trainer’s arms in the running animation
In Pokémon Legends: Arceus you can crouch and walk quietly, or you can run. As you dash about, your trainer’s arms have this noticeable way of flailing about, as if they have the stiff arms of a Barbie toy. To me, it lends an endearing awkwardness to the way the trainer moves. The arms look sort of long and gangly, which feels perfect for a character that spends all their time throwing Poké Balls. — AD