Nearly Every New Design In Pokemon Legends: Arceus Is Bad

I love Pokemon Legends: Arceus. As I said in my review, it’s far from perfect, but it has more potential than any Pokemon game I’ve played since SoulSilver. And no, it doesn’t achieve all its lofty goals, but the fact those goals are so much higher than Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl or Sun & Moon counts for something.

Noble Pokemon are terrible boss fights, but Alphas more than make up for it. Ball throwing feels great, but the bag man is a filthier capitalist than Tom Nook. That said, there’s no better feeling than when a Pokemon is charging at you and you have to flee for your life. The adrenaline pumps and you can hear your heartbeat in your ears. It’s just a shame so many of those Pokemon look like shit.

Don’t get me wrong, getting chased by a massive Luxray, Electivire, or Infernape is great. I didn’t even really like Infernape until Legends: Arceus (cancel me, I know), but its large Alpha form persuaded me to give it another chance. But out of all the new forms in the game, there are maybe five that are actually good.

I’ll start with the positives. Hisuian Zorua and Zoroark look great. Like they’re really nice designs, and were only kept out of my team because I didn’t want to run double Ghost-types and I’m faithful to my starter, Typhlosion. I like Kleavor, too, although that might be a controversial take. He fits the regional idea of divergent evolution and the fact that the ancient Hisui region doesn’t have access to the technology and metal needed to create Scizor, I guess.

I think Decidueye’s Hisuian form looks great, it’s plenty different from the original Alolan version and doesn’t hurt my eyes to look at. Two ticks. I grew to love Wyrdeer as, although it’s a simple design, it works for the Hisui region and I kinda vibed with it after spending so long riding on its back. I guess Wyrdeer is my Roach. Basculegion might just get into the good evolutions, too, but nearly missed out because Basculin are so damn hard to catch.

Then we come to the uninspired form changes or evolutions. Unfortunately, the best starter ever created Cyndaquil could have been shown more love. Hisuian Typhlosion is fine, but it’s hardly revolutionary. Make the fire ghosty? Sure. Shall we change anything else? Not really. Hisuian Braviary fits into this category too, as its new face looks cool but is ultimately very similar to its Unovan variant.

Hisuian Growlithe and Arcanine suffer a similar fate, I’m sorry to say. Don’t blame me, it's science! They just get little rocky helmets and stuff, it’s no great change. To reiterate, these designs aren’t bad, just uninspired and a little boring. Voltorb and Electrode are the same but wooden, Samurott was bad to begin with and doesn’t improve, and Lilligant is fine I guess. Hisuian Qwilfish fits here too, but its evolution is even worse.

Overqwil looks so fucking dumb. I know a lot of great Pokemon designs look dumb, but come on. Is it balancing on those stupid spikes or floating? Scratch that, I don’t actually care. Just get it away from me. Avalugg also looks terrible, because it’s an uninspired change to an uninspired Pokemon. Hisuian Sliggoo and Goodra are a blight on poor Goomy’s evolution line, and I was really disappointed when I eventually evolved it on both occasions. Hisuian Sneasel and its new evolution Sneasler look weird. I don’t know that I’d call them bad per se, but Sneasler especially just looks odd.

I won’t give away any spoilers for Pokemon that appear in the last 10 percent of the game, but they all look stupid too. So that’s a generous six of the new forms and evolutions that actually look good – what went wrong?

Galar was a little hit-and-miss with its regional forms, with Obstagoon at the positive end of things and Stunfisk at the shit end. Alola was pretty much all fire though, which was a great way to introduce players to the concept. Even the stupid forms in Alola were fun, if not good. Alolan Exeggutor is the perfect example of this, being fun and silly yet a big enough departure from the original form that it felt worthwhile. And whether you like it or not, nobody can say it was uninspired.

Is this just personal preference? Yes. I mean, no it’s complete science, honest. But different Pokemon forms are one of the most exciting things about loading up a new Pokemon game these days, and I couldn’t help but feel disappointed when the Hisuian forms revealed themselves to me. And, honestly, the uninspired redesigns – the Avaluggs and Voltorbs of Hisui – are worse than the designs I don’t like. Not liking something is a matter of taste, but what’s the point of changing a Pokemon if you’re barely going to do anything?

Hisui is a rich world that never quite reaches its full potential. Better graphics, interesting boss fights, and voice acting would all help things along, but so would some decent Pokemon designs.

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