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Pokemon Legends Arceus: 9 Things You Should Know Before Playing

Patrick Bonifacio

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is finally out! As a sort of re-imagining of the games, the much-anticipated first ever open world Pokemon title brings with it a lot of new features and mechanics that you wouldn’t find in other games in the franchise. Some of these are immediately apparent and/or taught to you by the game itself, but others aren’t so obvious at first glance.

Pokemon Legends Arceus scenery

With many new mechanics to speak of, Pokemon newbies and veterans alike should know a few things about Pokemon Legends: Arceus. (Image by Game Freak/The Pokemon Company)

Even veterans of the series might not catch some of these differences right away. But we’re here to give you the tips you need to get a fast start in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, no matter your experience with all things Pokemon. Here are X things you need to know before starting.

Mix and Match Moves

Unlike previous entries in the series, Pokemon aren’t just limited to the four moves they know at once. They still can only use four moves in any given battle, but in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, you can swap moves outside of battle to suit your needs.

Pokemon Legends Arceus move swap menu

To do so, open the party menu. From there, you can go into each Pokemon’s movelist and switch moves as needed. No need to go to a Move Deleter like in previous games — just mix and match whenever you’d like. Simple, if inelegant.

Sneaky Beaky

You can significantly better your chances of successfully catching Pokemon with one simple trick: throw Poke Balls from behind. Referred to as a “back strike”, this technique also has the additional benefit of not throwing you into a battle just to catch a Pokemon.

Pokemon Legends Arceus backstrike

Watch for the eye-shaped indicator at the top of the screen when sneaking up on Pokemon you want to catch. If it turns red, the Pokemon you’re looking at sees you. This means that you can only catch them by going into a battle, so make sure they don’t see you by ducking into tall grass or breaking line of sight.


Whereas previous Pokemon titles would traditionally grant experience points solely through battles and catching wild Pokemon, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is much more generous in this regard.

Pokemon can gain experience outside of battle in this game, whether that be through farming reagents and crafting materials, eating Exp. Candies, and even just exploring the open world. If you find yourself in need of additional levels in your party, try some of these methods for some easy experience.

Mind the Gap

For the first time in mainline Pokemon title history, your player character can actually fall from height and take damage upon landing. Fall from a great enough height, and you will actually faint yourself and respawn at a nearby campsite. Not a fun time.

Pokemon Legends Arceus fall damage

Make sure to watch your step when you’re traversing the many cliffs and mountain ranges in the game. The same goes for when you’re riding a mount, so you’ll want to be careful when you’re saddled up, too. It even counts for flying mounts like Hisuian Braviary, so try to land safely before getting off.

Return with a New Mount

As you progress through the game and receive new mounts, make sure to revisit areas where you didn’t have those mounts before. Some of the mounts in the game allow you to go into nooks and crannies in areas you’ve visited before, where you will find new Pokemon species hiding.

If you’re missing some entries in your Pokedex, it may be time to go exploring on the back of a new mount.

Set Your Pokemon Free—From Time to Time

In past titles, releasing Pokemon from your PC would give you nothing but feelings of melancholy in return. In Pokemon: Legends Arceus, though, releasing Pokemon actually rewards you with a bunch of goodies.

Pokemon Legends Arceus releasing Pokemon

Setting your Pokemon free to run wild is actually worth it this time, as the game rewards you with Grit for it. You can use Grit to increase a Pokemon’s effort values (EVs), which directly determine its stats. You can read more about EVs in our guide to EVs and individual values (IVs) in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.

Evolve at Your Convenience

The days of purposefully preventing a Pokemon’s evolution are long gone with Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Whereas previous titles in the series would require you to press a button to halt evolution as it happens, this game instead allows you to pick and choose the time to evolve Pokemon.

To do this, simply navigate the menu to the Pokemon you wish to evolve, then press A on “evolve”. It’s really as simple as that. Of course, you still have to fulfill any conditions for evolution — whether that might be hitting a certain level, having the Pokemon hold a specific item, or evolving it during a certain time of day.

Roar of Time

Speaking of the time of day, the in-game day and night cycle doesn’t rely on real time, unlike in past titles. Instead, it operates on its own, sped-up version of real time, which you can easily skip through by resting in campsites. Simply sleep in the tent in any given campsite and choose the time of day that you want to skip forward to.

You can easily fulfill a few evolution requirements this way, such as with Sneasel and its Hisuian variant — which require evolution at night and during the day respectively.

Fight or Flight

Running away from Pokemon battles has never been more convenient until the release of Pokemon Legends: Arceus. In previous titles in the series, you had to scroll down in the battle interface to hit “Run”, and hope that your Pokemon is fast enough to get away safely on the first try.

In this game, though, you can simply run away from battles by… literally running away. Just move your character away from the Pokemon you’re currently engaging, until such time that you see a message that confirms your escape from the encounter. This way you can just continue with whatever you were doing, undisturbed by wild Pokemon for a while.

Patrick Bonifacio

Patrick Bonifacio

Patrick has been playing Dota since the dawn of time, having started with the original custom game for WarCraft III. He primarily plays safe lane and solo mid, preferring to leave the glorious task of playing support to others.

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