June 1, 2023

Pokemon evolution is a simple concept at heart. You get a Pokemon to a high enough level and they change into a better Pokemon. Some Pokemon might change again, and others – usually rare, late-game ones – might not change at all. Broadly speaking, Pokemon evolutions just work. They’re one of the best and most exciting things about the game, especially if you go into a new generation with no idea of what’s in store. All of you who chose Sobble in the last gen, you have my sympathy. We love evolutions, but why do they need to be so complicated these days?

It’s not just through reaching a set level, but that’s not always a bad thing. There are also item evolutions, such as Vulpix needing a Fire Stone to change into Ninetales. This introduces a layer of strategy, because Ninetales has better stats, but evolving too early can mean missing out on learning powerful moves. This is still pretty basic. So are trade evos, like Haunter, who will evolve when traded with a friend – unless that friend is a bitch named Mindy. I don’t especially like trade evos, because I think it’s silly that we have two different versions of the same game and wedging multiplayer conventions into a solo experience, combined with Nintendo’s bad online framework, is irritating and pointless – but at least I can easily explain them.

It’s Time For A New Type In Pokemon
There are even item trade evos, where the Pokemon must be traded holding a certain item, combining the two ideas above. We’re getting away from natural evolution now, because no one is going to trade Scyther holding Metal Coat unless they’re doing it on purpose to get Scizor, but at least the steps you need to take are pretty simple. If these are the types of evolutions in Pokemon: Legends Arceus, then so be it. I’m sure I’ll be able to find someone to trade my Husuian Voltorb holding Rocky Helmet with, right?

The problem is I’m pretty sure it won’t be. Inkay, for example, evolves by turning your DS (or these days, Switch) upside down after it levels up but before the battle dialogue ends. No one is ever going to do that by accident. For some of the new Galar Pokemon though, it’s even worse. Milcery, a Pokemon that’s just a blob of milk, evolves into Alcremie, which is a cake. There are 63 different types, but hey, Eevee, Tyrogue, and Wurmple all have different evolution variants and they’re not too complicated. The evolve Milcery though, first you need to give it a Sweet. This helps determine the Alcremie you get, but not entirely. You then need to exit the menu and spin around as fast as you can. The direction you spin, how many times you spin, and what time it is will all help determine what type of Alcremie you get too – you know, because that’s how cakes work. Sure, you might have added cocoa powder, but you mixed the batter anti-clockwise seven times at 1pm, so enjoy your lemon drizzle cake.

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The Galarian variants are even worse. Galarian Yamask needs to take 49 damage in battle, not including weather damage, then before being healed, must be in your party while you walk under a specific rock formation in the Wild Area. Just… why? At least that’s relatively simple to do, if needlessly complicated. Galarian Farfetch’d needs to land three critical hits in a single battle. Considering this is virtually impossible against a wild Pokemon, that means you need to find a trainer with enough Pokemon to take three critical hits, plus a handful of other hits that will doubtless come from failed attempts. Why can’t it just evolve at level 27 like a normal Pokemon?
I’m not looking forward to whatever Legends has in store for us. Catch the new bird Pokemon, Flightyfly, then win a battle against a red Pokemon while standing on one foot, write a Grammy winning song, take your Switch apart and consume each part, expel said Switch (the end you expel it from will determine the evolution’s stats), reassemble it, solve the oil crisis, then spin around four times at midnight, and viola, your Flightyfly turned into a Flooftyfly. I think I’ll stick with Pidgeotto, thanks.

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>> Please Don’t Make Evolution Stupid And Complicated In Pokemon: Legends Arceus

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