Early Pokemon Legends: Arceus reviews suggest a necessary shakeup

Pokemon Legends: Arceus launches in just a couple of days, but some early reviews are dropping today. The Pokemon series has long been criticized for feeling like it's grown stagnant, and there are undoubtedly many Pokemon fans wondering if Pokemon Legends: Arceus does enough to shake up the formula. Judging from the reviews we're seeing, it seems safe to say that the game does indeed succeed on that front.

At the time of this writing, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is holding down an impressive 86 on Metacritic and a top critic average of 84 on OpenCritic (enough for an OpenCritic rating of Mighty). Those are bound to change a little bit as we finish out the week, but it's a strong early showing from a series that has needed to innovate for a long time.

For instance, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl each have scores of 73 on Metacritic, while Pokemon Sword and Shield fare a bit better with a Metacritic rating of 80. For now, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is doing better than all of those games, and it would take an surge of negative reviews to make it drop below its predecessors in terms of score.

However, Metacritic score isn't everything, and throughout the years, some vocal segments of the Pokemon fanbase have expressed that they're anxious for change. The pre-release trailers for Pokemon Legends: Arceus suggested that the game would be quite the departure from the standard series formula, and at least according to these reviews, that's precisely what we've been given.

Our big takeaway from looking through some of these reviews is that the formula has indeed undergone significant change in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, and the game is ultimately better for it. As you might have expected after watching some of those overview trailers, the graphics don't get a lot of love, but reviews seem willing to excuse that because the gameplay is solid.

While Pokemon Legends: Arceus may not be a graphical or technical masterpiece, it has been receiving a surprising amount of love from reviewers at this early stage. It'll be interesting to see what the larger Pokemon fanbase thinks of this game once it comes out on Friday, because the discourse surrounding this game has been somewhat varied in the lead-up to release.

We'll find out how fans feel about the game soon enough, as the game is launching at the end of this week. Look for Pokemon Legends: Arceus to launch for Nintendo Switch on January 28th, 2022.