Do poor graphics in Pokemon Legends Arceus really matter?

With just days to go until Pokemon Legends Arceus arrives, the community is still divided over its graphics, with some saying they should be much better and others thinking they don’t really matter. We will try to settle this debate.

Pokemon Legends Arceus is set in a time when people and pocket monsters lived together in harmony, where players must complete the first-ever Sinnoh Pokedex with wild creatures that attack trainers, not just their Pokemon (yes, that’s creepy).

It looks like a thrill shake of the traditional Pokemon formula, and it’s already received plenty of comparisons to Switch’s highlight, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – although one area isn’t quite up to those standards, this are the graphics.

Here, two of Dexerto’s editors, Daniel Megarry and Brent Koepp, go head-to-head in an attempt to answer the burning question: Are the graphics matter in a pokemon game?

Game Freak / The Pokémon Company

Look at this lush grass.

Pokemon Legends Arceus has no excuse to look so bad

Pokemon Blue was the first video game I ever played, and at the time I really didn’t care how it looked – I was more concerned with exploiting that infamous rare candy glitch and victory over the Elite Four before my brother. But that was over two decades ago, and the technology (along with our expectations of what it can deliver) has changed dramatically.

To put it simply, Pokemon Legends Arceus just doesn’t measure up.

All of the images we’ve seen so far have featured dodgy graphics, with grass and water looking like they belong in the Nintendo Wii era at best. A recent gameplay trailer promises multiple “rich in natural features” areas, but most of the locations shown are just… empty. This isn’t just visually disturbing, but gameplay-wise as well.

Most of these things could be forgiven when we got our first look at Legends Arceus in early 2021, as many fans assumed the graphics would be tweaked over time. But a year later, days away from the game’s release, it still looks as muddy and unappealing as it did back then. Even the Pokémon themselves have lost some of their charm.

A screenshot of the poor graphics in Pokemon Legends Arceus
The Pokemon Company

It’s certainly not the most appealing location we’ve seen in a Pokemon game.

Some people have defended the graphics of Pokemon Legend Arceus pointing out the limited capabilities of the Nintendo Switch, which is a good point – it struggled to compete with the competition even when it was discontinued five years ago – but there have been plenty of games that have proven that awesome graphics are a possibility on the console.

The most obvious example is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which made up for the console’s lack of power with visually stunning art direction – so much so that it’s now considered one of the most popular games. most magnificent ever created. And there are countless other Switch titles, like Immortals Fenyx Rising and Monster Hunter Rise, that also outperform Legends Arceus in the visual department.

Will I play Pokemon Legends Arceus? Sure. Will I take advantage of it? Probably! Call it blind loyalty if you will, but I’m firmly on the side of the fans who will buy anything the franchise pumps — always have been, always will be. But even as the most ardent Pokemon fan, I can agree that the franchise deserves better than that. Hopefully Gen 9 delivers the goods.

Lyrics: Daniel Megarry

As long as it’s fun, graphics don’t matter in a Pokemon game

A screenshot of battle graphics in Pokemon Legends Arceus
The Pokemon Company

There are plenty of new features that make up for the average graphics.

While Pokemon Legends Arceus has a gorgeous art style, it undeniably has poor graphics. For a AAA title in 2022, it’s way behind other games in the same genre. Despite its flaws, its lackluster graphics ultimately don’t matter.

Ultimately, players love Pokemon for its formula. If you go back and look at previous releases in the franchise, these also lagged behind their contemporaries at the time. Yet despite all the criticism Game Freak RPGs have faced over the years, they still end up selling jaw-dropping numbers. They may not look like the best titles released in any given year, but they certainly sell better.

Take 2019’s Pokemon Sword & Shield for example. Prior to release, many online reviewers were flabbergasted by its lackluster textures, reused animations, and pathetic trees (yes, that was actually a major point of contention). In 2022, Nintendo Switch RPGs are now on course to become the second best-selling title in the entire franchise. So the general public doesn’t seem to care about graphics when it comes to Pokemon releases – or at least they don’t care enough to stop playing them.

Pokemon Legends Arceus Jubilife screenshot
Game Freak / The Pokémon Company

Pokemon has always been fun first, graphics second.

Most gamers just want to experience the wonderful world created by Game Freak. The game’s addictive catching mechanics and the series’ lovable characters are ultimately the stars of the series. Pokemon Legends Arceus is taking a bit of a risk with its focus on exploration more than ever, but at the end of the day most fans just want to grab their ‘my favorite’ and poor graphics aren’t going to stop it.

It’s a shame, however, that as amazing as the Pokemon franchise is, its dynamic cast of characters and colorful world aren’t allowed to fully shine due to graphical limitations. But for many fans of the series, just hanging out with a new game is worth the price of admission alone. Pokemon Legends Arceus will certainly follow this trajectory.

Lyrics: Brent Koepp

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