On the surface, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Pokemon Legends: Arceus couldn’t be more different. The 2017 Zelda game is a grand open-world adventure that sought to completely overhaul its traditional gameplay structure, whereas the upcoming Pokemon spin-off is a grand open-world adventure that currently aims to overhaul its traditional gameplay structure–wait let’s try that again.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus definitely does appear to have taken a liberal pinch of inspiration from Breath of the Wild, but nowhere is that comparison more obvious than in the cover art for both games.
Breath of the Wild’s cover features its protagonist Link perched on top of a hill, gazing at a massive mountain range in the distance, while Pokemon Legends: Arceus slightly differentiates itself by having two protagonists stare at a single mountain that’s waiting to be explored.
It’s not exactly unusual to see this comparison being made, as the debut trailer for next year’s Pokemon game set in the ancient Sinnoh region featured similar verdant fields and sprawling valleys to Breath of the Wild, driving home the inspiration with the subtlety of a jackhammer being used to perform brain surgery.
That’s perhaps a smart move on developer Game Freak’s part, as Breath of the Wild wasted no time inviting players to explore a massive landscape, leaving a memorable imprint and setting the tone for the journey to come. If Pokemon Legends: Arceus is looking to invoke that sense of awe and wonder with its take on the Sinnoh region while also providing a fresh new experience compared to the usual Pokemon formula, it might just be the evolution that some fans have been asking for.
Pokemon Sword and Shield was a definite step towards that direction with its Wild Areas, with the idea being expanded on further in the Crown Tundra expansion. It won’t be too much of a wait to see just how far Game Freak is willing to go to shake up its 25-year-old formula.
A more traditional experience in the form of remakes for Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, will be available on November 19 this year and will be followed a few months later by Pokemon Legends: Arceus on January 28, 2022. Alternatively, New Pokemon Snap has just released and has proven to be a relaxing opportunity to explore the world of Nintendo’s pocket monsters.
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