Best answer: No, instead of organized gyms and a Pokémon League, players encounter human wardens who provide for and protect special noble Pokémon. This sounds similar to the Trials from Pokémon Sun and Moon, which also did not have traditional gyms.
What is Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is not your typical Pokémon game. Instead of following the normal formula of traveling to gyms and collecting badges, players take on the role of a young person from Ancient Sinnoh who is out to create the first-ever Pokédex. There are special Noble Pokémon in various areas in this time period, and each one is protected and cared for by a human warden. However, something has gone wrong and caused the noble Pokémon to become frenzied. You'll have to battle each one and calm it using balms. From what we've seen in videos, it looks like you'll be able to capture them as well.
Similar to Island Trials in Pokémon Sun and Moon
Pokémon Sun and Moon are often regarded as the least favorite core Pokémon RPGs, partially because it changed things up from the standard formula. One of these changes was the introduction of Island Trials instead of traditional gyms. In the Alola region, Trial Captains give you tasks to complete and eventually lead you to a battle with a special Totem Pokémon. Sounds pretty similar to wardens and noble Pokémon, doesn't it?
While this concept wasn't generally received well in Sun and Moon, Pokémon Legends: Arceus clarifies that it is not your typical Pokémon game. So maybe the way it is implemented here will be far more enjoyable.
So far, we know of four wardens and the noble Pokémon they protect.
|Mai She takes care of the Wyrdeer in Obsidian Fieldlands with her partner Pokémon, Munchlax.||Wyrdeer Normal/Psychic Type. A Hisuian region evolution from Stantler.|
|Lian Don't let his young looks deceive you, he is a talented warden known as lord of the Obsidian Fieldlands.||Kleavor Bug/Rock Type. Evolves from Scyther when given special minerals.|
|Iscan He resides near the ocean and is uncomfortable with Ghost-type Pokemon.||Basculegion A Water/Ghost Type Pokémon said to be "possessed by souls of other Basculin" that didn't survive the jouney upstream.|
|Arezu She takes her role very seriously and prefers to handle complications by herself.||"Certain lady Pokémon" We can really only guess who this Pokémon will be. Given that the other noble Pokémon are Hisuian variants or new Hisuian evolutions, we expect the same for this one.|
Ancient practices of ancient Sinnoh
It's fun seeing different ideas like wardens and noble Pokémon implemented in a Pokémon RPG. Hopefully, these turn out to be enjoyable and give us a brand new way to love the franchise.
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