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The Ones I Finished Video Games

Game 240 — Pokémon Legends: Arceus

I’ve finished my 240th video game and come to the conclusion that Pokémon Legends: Arceus is more fun than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I know that sounds like a hot take, but here are my thoughts as to why:

It’s almost impossible to talk about Arceus without bringing up Breath of the Wild because one is so clearly influenced by the other.

Arceus does a competent job of borrowing the Breath of the Wild aesthetic and applying it to the classic Pokémon JRPG gameplay mechanics. The result is a game that feels both novel and familiar at the same time.

I’ve always found the slow-drip progression of a JRPG to be satisfying, but placing those mechanics in an open-world with places to explore makes Arceus the sort of game that I always wanted to play “just five minutes longer.” I couldn’t put it down.

I think it’s important to acknowledge that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a marvel of game design and style. It might be the better of the two games. However, I bounced off of the game after completing a few of the Divine Beast challenges. After a few months, I’d hear someone talk about how Breath of the Wild is the greatest game ever, and I’d be excited to pick it back up again. I’d clear a shrine or two, but I never feel like I’m making meaningful progress. As much as I’d like to be a Zelda fan, I just can’t get into those games (which is something that I finally learned in my recent playthrough of A Link to the Past).

Arceus, on the other hand, kept pulling me back in. I always felt like I was making progress in the game: a few hundred experience points here, crafting materials over there, catching another common Pokémon to finish a research task for my Pokédex. The gameplay loop is just so tightly constructed that I was never not having fun, even if I only had a few minutes to play.

While there isn’t a single element of Pokémon Legends: Arceus that feels revolutionary, the game is more than the sum of its parts. I think it moves the Pokémon franchise forward in important ways. More importantly, it’s just a phenomenally fun game.

I’ve ranked it 65 out of 240.

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