Source: Nintendo

Sometimes, jumping into a well-established video game franchise (or any video game at all!) can be a bit daunting. Pokémon, for example, is built on more than 25 years of lore. That may sound a bit intimidating if you missed the Pokémon craze back when you were a kid, if you are a new gamer, or if you haven’t been in a Pokémon battle since grade school. 

But don’t worry — The new game Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a perfect point of entry to the world of Pokémon for anyone who’s always been a bit interested in those adorable characters, the idea of “catching them all,” and becoming a Pokémon Trainer. 

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The game, which debuted in January, is set in the expansive, natural majesty of the Hisui region, in an age long ago when it was rare for people and Pokémon to live in close harmony. You soon find your place, helping to research and catch wild Pokémon in order to build out the region’s first Pokédex. Throughout the story, you attempt to learn about the mythical Pokémon Arceus — the key to this mysterious tale.

There are multiple reasons why this game in particular is well suited for new Pokémon gamers, even as it carries plenty of appeal for long-time fans. Keep scrolling to discover why — and don’t worry, no Poké Balls (or previous knowledge of Pokémon) needed here!

Source: Nintendo

1. THE GAME ASSUMES YOU KNOW NOTHING

Within the first five minutes of playing Pokémon Legends: Arceus, a character literally asks, “Ah, but do you even know what a Pokémon is?” Soon after, another character says, “There’s a Pokémon called Wurmple, have you heard of it?” And guess what? You can say no on both occasions. Throughout the game, you often get prompts like this that give you the opportunity to get extra information about some of the more basic elements of how Pokémon operate, battle, and more if you aren’t familiar. The game is set in a time long before the previous Pokémon games, when humans are still learning about these wild creatures called “Pokémon.” This provides a natural way for you, the player, to also learn about them. You get explainers on everything from what Poké Balls are to what it means when Pokémon evolve.

Source: Nintendo

2. YOU HAVE TONS OF ROOM TO EXPLORE

Pokémon Legends: Arceus blends action and exploration with the role-playing game (RPG) roots of the Pokémon series. The narrative of the game leans heavily on exploration and choice, which means you can complete side quests, decide where you want to go in more open areas, select specific research goals to accomplish while studying wild Pokémon, and more. This makes the game a bit more customizable: New Pokémon players can focus more on the aspect(s) of the game that interest them most or complete easier tasks first as they get more comfortable with the game.

Source: Nintendo

3. YOU GET PLENTY OF (OPTIONAL) GUIDES AND TOOLS

This feature is particularly helpful for new and young gamers! Pokémon Legends: Arceus does an especially good job of providing helpful tools and guides that are easy to use but don’t overwhelm the gaming experience. For example, there are Guidance Markers that appear throughout the game to help physically direct you toward tasks and keep you oriented. There is also a whole menu of “Survey Tips,” which explain the terminology and skills you encounter during the game. While more experienced gamers may not seek out these tips, they are an awesome reference for anyone who is new to the world of Pokémon!

Source: Nintendo

4. THERE AREN’T COMPLICATED CONTROLS

The Survey Tips help players get a refresher on game mechanics and controls, but don’t fret — the controls are fairly simple. I don’t know about other new gamers, but for me (I just started playing video games in earnest about three years ago), nothing has been more daunting than trying to remember complex button combinations in less than a second to defeat an animated boss in battle. Thankfully, Pokémon Legends: Arceus won’t put you in this position! That’s not to say that the game doesn’t require strategy and quick thinking, especially as you level up your Pokémon and take on more Pokémon battles. But, the straightforward controls and the game’s fairly gradual increase in difficulty help new gamers stay in control of their choices instead of relying on random button smashing. The game also has motion control options, for players who may find it easier (or more fun!) to play that way. 

Source: Nintendo

5. YOU CAN PLAY THE WHOLE GAME IN HANDHELD MODE

Some Nintendo Switch games require the use of detachable Joy-Con controllers, which have motion sensor capabilities. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is not one of those games, which is a bonus for newer gamers. This means you can play the game on whichever Nintendo Switch device you own (including the Switch Lite, which does not have detachable Joy-Cons).

This also means you can play Pokémon Legends: Arceus in whichever gaming mode best suits your lifestyle and preferences: TV, tabletop, or handheld.

Source: NIntendo

6. THE GAME HAS AN ENGAGING, IMMERSIVE ENVIRONMENT

While gamers who are new to Pokémon won’t necessarily know this, the graphics and visual style for Pokémon Legends: Arceus provide a new, more modern aesthetic for the franchise. This includes very detailed scenery, down to realistic-looking blades of grass that bend with the wind.

The environment is also constantly changing, which impacts gameplay. You’ll experience different weather conditions and times of day that affect which Pokémon you’ll see. Some species can only be found during specific times of the day or certain types of weather, so visiting the same areas at different times might yield new discoveries. 

Source: Nintendo

7. YOU CAN RIDE POKÉMON

Alright, I’ll admit it: This fun perk isn’t specific to new gamers or even to this game — it’s just really, really cool. During your adventure in the game, you’ll receive a certain item you can use to summon special Pokémon and ride them on land, across water, and through the skies. 

Seriously, who wouldn’t want to ride a Pokémon? This feature really ties in with the more open, explorative emphasis of Pokémon Legends: Arceus and gives you more freedom to traverse the Hisui region. Brb, off to go grab my saddle and take a ride back into the world of Pokémon Legends: Arceus! You can learn more about and purchase this game (which is rated E for everyone) now at legends.pokemon.com.