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Pokémon Legends: Arceus reviews roundup – a breath of fresh air

Two characters in Pokemon Legends: Arceus studying an item
(Image credit: Nintendo)
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Reviews for Pokémon Legends: Arceus are out in the wild, giving us an idea of whether Game Freak’s latest entry in the pocket monster series lives up to the hype – and from what we’ve read so far, it certainly sounds like it does.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is currently sitting at a respectable Metacritic score of 86, with a few critics giving the game full marks. The next mainline title in the Pokémon series, Arceus marks a major change in direction for the franchise.

There are no Badges to collect, Gym Leaders to battle, or random encounters to work through. Instead, you’ll explore an open world in search of wild critters to add to your Pokedex.

Here’s a roundup of what the gaming press are making of the latest Pokémon release. 

In Polygon's review, Ryan Gilliam recommends the game, and says it finally gives Pokémon fans something new, even if it “stumbles often on its way to innovation… and brings equal parts brilliance and frustration in its updated systems”. 

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Chris Scullion at VGC says the new game is “the series’ best game in years”, and refines nearly every element of the Pokémon formula for ”a smoother and more satisfying experience”. 

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Eurogamer's Chris Tapsell also recommends Pokémon Legends: Arceus and describes it as “exhilaratingly new”, even if it clumsily cribs ideas from Pokémon Go and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. 

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Jordan Middler says Pokémon Legends: Arceus “feels like the result of Game Freak learning lessons for 25 years, refining the formula, and finally taking the franchise in a new, incredible, exciting direction” in Nintendo Life's review

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Sam Loveridge at GamesRadar awarded the game 4.5 stars out of 5 and said: “problems with the performance are the one thing holding Pokémon Legends: Arceus back from perfection. But when you're having such a great time with the actual gameplay, it's not enough to hold back this otherwise impressive swing into a new Pokémon generation”. 

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VG247’s Alex Donaldson gave the game 4 out of 5 stars, summarizing: “minor issues with the technical presentation and pacing be damned, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the best Pokémon adventure in 20 years”.

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Change for the better

Pokémon Legends: Arceus has launched to glowing reviews, then, with critics in agreement that Game Freak’s attempt to upturn the staple Pokémon formula has landed smoothly. It’s not only a game of discovery and adventure, it offers fans of the series something that’s genuinely new.

While the game isn’t as visually impressive as Breath of the Wild, from which it draws much of its inspiration, and apparently suffers from the very occasional performance dip, it’s a bold step forward and charts a new path for the series.

Callum Bains
Callum Bains

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games.