I suppose I'm cynical/over critical with games, movies and shows these days and I've found myself becoming less and less impressed as years have gone on. One IP I've been hyper critical of is Pokémon. So when Legends Arceus was announced I had my eyebrows so high up they were in literal outer space with skepticism. I was prepared for a heap of a mess of a game that would pay lip service to the concept of open world and 'hunting' Pokémon. That the game would lose any sense of novelty a few hours into the game and I'd find myself, yet again, lethargic and shelve the game before completing it as I have for the last several installments of the series.
Now, 40 hours into the game and nearing the end of post-post game I feel pretty darn happy to say I'm still having fun. The novelty has yet to wear off. Though the game is a grind to fill the Dex, probably more so than any other game despite having considerably less Pokémon, the grind hasn't felt tedious or even boring.
The story, as far as Pokémon stories go, isn't horrid. Not masterclass but very much a cut above the rest. I found myself liking the new characters quite a bit too, the differences in philosophies of each group and the gradual acceptance of Humans of Pokémon.
There's a FEW things I feel the game needs work on, some of it as minor as graphical stuff (The game doesn't look as good as it could or SHOULD considering what the Switch has proven to be capable of + the kind of money Game Freak has to make this particular installment rival its contemporaries and propel the series ahead by lightyears) though these graphical issues didn't detract from the experience. But when they did crop up they were very glaring for a good while until my brain started to just ignore them XD. There's a few mechanical things that should have been fixed too but nothing game breaking. More or less quality of life improvements (Mainly with the mounts).
I'd like to do a more thorough write up (With spoilers, of course) to chronical my thoughts on the various aspects of the game.
TL:DR - The bar was set low for me in the first place but in the end my expectations were exceeded greatly. This installment is one that I hope becomes a fairly regular occurrence. A strong, meaty single player experience that shakes up combat, catching and proposes a new outlook on the world of Pokémon, particularly WELL before the core games have taken place. If I had to give it an arbitrary score I'd give it at least a solid 8/10 for it's ideas and their implementation being quite strong, mechanically being fun despite JRPG/Monster Catching repetition and feeling rewarding whenever overcoming the games surprising difficulty (at times). Decent roster of monsters to catch (with more allegedly on the way).