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Pokémon Legends: Arceus reimagines what it’s like to battle

Watch an in-depth gameplay preview of the upcoming game

Trainers, it’s time to steel yourself. The upcoming Pokémon Legends: Arceus won’t just send trainers out into its big, wild world, but will have them confronting all of the powerful monsters living in it.

Just how will that work? We can see it in action in a lengthy gameplay preview of Pokémon Legends: Arceus that The Pokémon Company published Thursday. The 13-minute-plus video shows off a wide variety of mechanics and gameplay features, including new attack types, how you’ll fight Pokémon as a trainer, and crafting. The preview comes just a few weeks before the game’s release on Jan. 28.

Some of the biggest changes come in the realm of confronting and battling Pokémon. Basically, you’ll do your best to be stealthy as you sneak up to a Pokémon and then try to catch it. Items, like berries, can be used to aid in capturing Pokémon, because they can distract the Pokémon. As you explore, you and your Pokémon will be able to collect raw materials for different items.

There’s a lot to it, but if you fail to sneak up to the Pokémon, it will enter an “alert state,” which prompts a turn-based battle. Pokémon Legends: Arceus introduces two new kinds of attack moves: “strong style” or “agile style.” Agile style allows you to attack more quickly, and wait less time until your next attack, whereas strong style will raise the power of your move, but will make it so you have to wait longer until your next attack. If you use this style, it’s possible that your Pokémon will be attacked multiple times afterward. Each of these special styles takes up more PP (Power Points), so you need to budget your use of them carefully.

The preview starts out in Obsidian Fieldlands, which looks like a rocky plain. Different Pokémon will appear depending on the weather and time of day. Pokémon will also have different temperaments and will react to the trainer. Aggressive Pokémon will attack you, and could make the trainer faint if you suffer enough attacks. If you do die, then you’ll black out and lose some of your items.

For a greater challenge, there are “Alpha Pokémon” and “Noble Pokémon.” You can detect them by their looks — the Alpha monsters have red eyes in the wild, whereas the Noble Pokémon’s eyes are gold. The preview stressed the importance of being prepared and having a plan to approach these Pokémon. Noble Pokémon rampage through the land, you can’t just defeat them and catch them. The preview shows a fight with Kleavor, the new evolution of Scyther. Before you even start to battle, you’ll have to feed it balms made of its favorite food. During this stage of the fight, you’ll take on the Pokémon yourself and do your best to roll and dodge its attack.

Beyond all these new battle mechanics, the preview also showed some gameplay that’s pretty standard for open-world games these days. You’ll be able to accept and track quests from a phone, as well as customize your character’s looks and outfit.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is coming to Nintendo Switch on Jan. 28.

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