Series fans have already started criticizing Pokémon Legends: Arceus‘ underwhelming graphics. A similar uproar followed the reveal of Pokémon Sword and Shield, and, while aspects of Pokémon Legends: Arceus‘ visuals don’t appear much better than its predecessors, none of these games should be judged by the quality of the graphics or the fidelity of their tree textures.
During a Pokémon Sword and Shield Direct in June 2019, eagle-eyed fans noticed the trees in the game’s Wild Area had very outdated textures. These began to draw comparisons to older games, including The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which had very similar trees. These ugly textures – alongside the announcement that the National Pokédex would be cut – made fans outraged, and many took to Twitter to express their disappointment.
With the recent reveal of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, fans are already finding its graphics similarly lackluster to that of Sword and Shield. However, the game’s release is over a year away, which gives developers plenty of time to polish off the pixels. This is the first Pokémon game of its kind, offering an open world larger than anything Pokémon has done in the past. Pair this early development footage with the Nintendo Switch’s limited hardware capabilities, and there’s bound to be some hiccups. The game should be judged by its content upon release.
When comparing 2019 Pokémon trees to 2022 ones, fans might expect a bit of a difference. Yet, Pokémon Legends: Arceus‘ trees look just as muddy as Pokémon Sword and Shield’s trees. Of course, it would be nice if every strip of bark on the trees were handcrafted by someone at Game Freak, but, in the end, the trees don’t matter that much. Players have spent hundreds of hours in Pokémon Sword and Shield and have likely spent very little of that time staring at its trees. In most cases, gameplay outweighs visuals, especially when it comes to a series like Pokémon.
The tree debacle of 2019 was one of the lowest points for the Pokémon community, but it didn’t come as a surprise. Pokémon fans are notoriously hard to please. Even when the open-world game of their dreams is revealed, they will find some way to put it down. It’s surprising that Pokémon fans haven’t already been comparing the two games’ trees, but maybe they’ve learned that specific graphical detail doesn’t matter. Nonetheless, Game Freak has over a year to coat Pokémon Legends in polish, which is hopefully enough time to greatly enhance the game’s visuals. But even if it’s not, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is still sure to be a unique and memorable Pokémon experience.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is coming to Nintendo Switch in early 2022.