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For decades, the Pokémon Company has been trying to replicate the full glory of bug catching, a huge inspiration for its titular series, and for decades it has been stunted by RPG tropes, hardware limitations and a repetitive, uninspired design philosophy. Enter “Arceus,” a game that proves that even a series as bread-and-butter as Pokémon can wildly evolve its formula. Gone are the tropes of the previous mainline games, replaced with an open world set in the ancient past, heavily based on feudal Japan. The typical “battle to weaken, then catch” format has been replaced with a mechanic encouraging players to sneak in and toss balls third-person-shooter style. Best of all, Pokémon of all rarities spawn right in front of you.

“Arceus” is a desperately needed Pokémon formula shake-up. It’s a game that, like “Breath of the Wild,” inspires you to search its world for more secrets and more mysteries.

Available on: Nintendo Switch

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