At the turn of the millennium, I had a dream. The Nintendo GameCube is about to be released, and I’m totally Pokemon obsessed. Pokemon RBY and GSC remain some of my favorite games of all time – but I’m also a fan of Final Fantasy. I spent both years impressed with the size and spectacle of the PS1’s Japanese RPG catalog, and as a Pokemon fan I couldn’t help but wonder: what if Pokemon looked like this? I play that GameCube tech demo on 56k internet over and over and while Zelda bit is my favorite, a brief glance at Pokemon dancing quickened my mind. What if Pokemon was 3D, and as ambitious in scope as any other world-shaking console JRPG?
That dream was never really fulfilled, of course. While I fully see the quality in the next generations, I think it’s fair to say that Pokemon is stopping. It slowly repeated the formula of previous games, and even when it was time to jump into 3D, it was surprisingly safe to play. The last all-new entry, the Sword and Shield of 2019, has taken steps for real tremors. But now, 20 years later, the dream has come true in Pokemon Legends: Arceus.
Think of things you know about Pokemon. Series staples. There is every chance that it is missing. Do Pokemon automatically change forms when they reach certain requirements? gone; it’s already an opt-in process, where you evolve the Pokemon through the menu when you’re ready. Random meeting? Gone, Pokemon have replaced the whole world. Gym Battles? gone; they are not yet in this ancient version of Poke-world. Learning motions through TMs and deleting old motions permanently to make room for new ones? No more, no more. Even the very concept of a ' Pokemon Trainer ' does not exist in this game, because the world it is located in was one before any of those Pokemon lore systems and concepts existed.