Pokémon Legends: Arceus, a new action RPG for Switch, is now the highest-rated Pokémon game on Metacritic, based on aggregated critic reviews.
The long-awaited Pokémon action RPG for Nintendo Switch, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, has finally been released and Pokémon fans and critics alike are already comparing its review scores with past Pokémon games. Pokémon Legends: Arceus reviews have been mostly positive so far, with 40 out of 44 critic reviews on Metacritic being positive, and an overall aggregate Metascore of 85. Several critics gave Pokémon Legends: Arceus a perfect score of 100.
Overall the change of direction for the Pokémon franchise has been widely and highly praised by fans and critics alike. Game Freak deviated from tradition with Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and it paid off. Recent Pokémon games have largely been remakes of older games, like 2019’s Pokémon Sword & Shield and 2021’s Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. A prequel to Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, the new setting of Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ Hisui region is a bygone era of the Sinnoh region, inspired by Feudal Japan.
The 4 critic reviews of Pokémon Legends: Arceus on Metacritic, at time of writing, that aren’t more on the positive end fall into the Mixed category instead. Three reviewers, including Digital Trends, gave the game a score of 70, citing Game Freak’s new idea as a step in the right direction for the Pokémon franchise, but one that falls short of achieving its ambitions, especially from a technical perspective. Concerns over Pokémon Legends: Arceus’s trees and landscape graphics were the focus of Arceus‘s lowest review on Metacritic, with IGN Italy giving the game a score of 50.
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Despite this, Pokémon Legends: Arceus’s Metascore of 85 makes it the highest-rated game from The Pokémon Company currently on Metacritic. 2021’s New Pokémon Snap comes in second place as far as critic reviews, with a Metascore of 79. In third place is a mobile game, Pokémon TCG Online for iOS, which has 78. Interestingly, New Pokémon Snap and Pokémon TCG Online for iOS both have considerably lower user scores than their critic-determined Metascores. Pokémon Legends: Arceus user score is sitting at 7.7, and if Legends: Arceus‘s record-breaking retail sales are anything to go by, in addition to a current Audience rating of 4.3 out of 5 on Google, with 88% positive reviews, Arceus‘s future Metacritic user score will likely remain fairly high.
IGN called the new setting “drab and empty,” and while Legends: Arceus’ landscape is more barren, this is arguably intentional, due to the game’s ancient-era setting. But even such apologetics can’t disguise the fact that the game has received quite a bit of negative commentary around its graphics, though its Pokémon are generally vibrant and its art design quite pleasing. The storytelling moves away from the perhaps overused tale throughout the franchise of a protagonist on their Pokémon trainer journey. Instead, Pokémon Legends: Arceus offers greater insight into the lore of the Pokémon universe by taking players back to where it all started.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is an exciting new direction to the Pokémon franchise and has been largely met with critical acclaim as well as positive feedback from audiences. While it may not offer the best visual experience, Arceus offers a new take on catching Pokémon, free of trainer gyms and few battles with other Pokémon trainers. Pokémon’s first foray into adding action RPG elements to its formula has breathed a new sense of life into an aging franchise, evidenced by Pokémon Legends: Arceus receiving the highest Metascore of any game from The Pokémon Company to date.
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