‘Pokémon Legends: Arceus’: Release date, how to pre-order and what new features to expect

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.

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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 preorder 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?

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 Pokemon 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.

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.

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Based on some of the gameplay that we have seen, Pokémon encountered in the wild can also attack the players directly – a first for the series. Battles can also take place in real time, rather than through turn-based random encounters.

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 travelling across this region to document different Pokémon and their behaviours.

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 Pokemon 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.

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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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