2022 Games of the Year: Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the most fun I've had in a Pokemon game since at least X and Y but maybe even further back than that.  It fundamentally rethinks the relationship between the player and catching Pokémon.

In Legends: Arceus, it's all about building your Pokedex through the observation, fighting, and catching of Pokemon.  The awesome thing about it is that you can approach the Pokedex in whatever way you want.  If you like fighting, go for it.  Would you rather observe and catch?  That works too.

The biggest change is the move to a more open world where you can catch Pokémon without needing to engage in battle.  You can just throw a Pokeball their way and try to catch them without ever fighting.  It makes the game move so much faster and the older Pokémon games feel glacially paced in comparison.

I was enjoying this one so much that I found myself constantly ignoring the main quest just to spend more time in the open world building up my Pokedex.  This feels like such a good change to the core formula of Pokémon games and I hope it carries over into their next mainline entry this Fall with Scarlet and Violet.  If they take what they've established with Legends: Arceus and add some more structure on top of it in a modern setting with gyms and more trainer fights... that would easily become my favorite Pokémon game ever.

After having fully beaten the main game and doing almost all of the post game content, I can confidently call Pokémon Legends: Arceus one of my favorites this year so far.  I'm going to slot it into my running ranking right below Endwalker for now.

For those following along, that makes my running 2022 Games of the Year ranking now look like this:

  1. FFXIV Endwalker
  2. Pokémon Legends: Arceus
  3. Halo Infinite
  4. Vampire Survivors
  5. Nobody Saves the World
  6. Unpacking
Well done Arceus.  You landed much higher than I anticipated.


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