Pokemon Legends: Arceus will attempt to take the franchise and me back to the past

I have been a fan of Pokemon ever since Pokemon Red was released in 1998. I still remember “borrowing” the batteries from the TV remote so I can play with my friends at school.

Somehow my parents were willing to buy me the console and the game, but were not willing to get me more batteries. They figured I can just play tethered to the power outlet instead of going around sharing my experience with friends. Being a kid was rough.

From Red, I moved to Crystal, then Ruby and Diamond, following the different iterations through the Game Boy Color, GBA, and Nintendo DS. Then, like most of us growing up during that period, life happened.

I got to the point in college where I had to start thinking about my future. It also didn’t help that I was distracted by the social activities of college. Having a girlfriend at the time was not conducive to gaming.

Somewhere through all that, I lost my zest for catching these pocket monsters, which was probably just as well as I didn’t have to go through that “too much water” moment of the Pokemon series. But now that I’m older, nostalgia is setting in. With the impending release of Pokemon Legends: Arceus, I cannot be more excited to dive back into that world.

It’s no secret that Pokemon has been stale of late. Even towards the end of my time with Pokemon in college, I was getting a bit tired of the same formulaic “gotta catch ‘em all” approach to pretty much all the games. Sure, there were new pokemons to catch, but really, it’s just the same process.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been away from all those little Pikachus for awhile, but I did enjoy Pokemon Sword and Shield (and isn’t the Switch amazing?). However, I learned my lesson. I skipped out on Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl to avoid franchise fatigue, and now, with every footage I see of the upcoming Arceus, I’m getting more and more excited.

Pokemon Legend: Arceus (that’s a hard C sound – ar-kee-us) is a new open-world Pokemon game that is part of the 8th generation. It’s set in the same Sinnoh region of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, but with a special twist – it’s set in the past and was back then known as the Hisui region.

As a prequel to all the Pokemon games, it’s meant to be a look at that world before the invention of the Pokedex. You play as part of the Survey Corps, which in turn is part of the bigger Galaxy Expedition Team. From game footage so far, it seems to take a lot of inspiration from Breath of the Wild and Monster Hunter and I am all for it.

It is this fresh take on the series that got me so excited. I am both scared and excited for the series. I’m scared because I’m worried it might disappoint, players won’t buy it, and then Game Freak (the developers of the Pokemon franchise) will decide it’s not worth it to experiment and will go back to the same formula.

Beyond that fear though, the excitement is palpable. It’s our very first look at a true 3D Pokemon world, creating an immersion experience that harkens back to those black and white Game Boy days. It is this sense of wonder that I’m hoping to recapture as I play through Arceus later this month. It could be possible I’m building myself up for disappointment. But the hype is real and I’m excited for the possibility of recapturing child-like awe.

Pokemon Legend: Arceus releases January 28.

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