The Pokémon franchise has always been an RPG. For the most part, they're pretty simple ones at that. The combat is turn-based, each Pokémon type has advantages and weaknesses, and winning fights earns them experience points that will level them up and make them stronger. What was unique at the time, and to an extent still is, was the evolution mechanic. When a Pokémon reaches a certain level or is given a specific item, they can evolve into a more powerful version. Pokémon Legends: Arceus has bucked many of the trends the series has stuck to for decades, including the way evolutions work.
Obviously, Pokémon Legends: Arceus doesn't remove the evolution mechanic. It is so core to Pokémon that it wouldn't really be a Pokémon game without it. However, in an effort to spice up this bold new entry, the developers have reworked how the system works. If you're a long-time fan of the series and jumping into this exciting new, more open, and free-roaming Pokémon adventure, you might be confused and a little scared to see that your Pokémon aren't evolving. Fear not, trainer, because we're here to teach you everything you need to know about how to evolve Pokémon in Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
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In any previous mainline Pokémon game, once a Pokémon reached a certain level or was given an evolution item, the game would stop and show you a little cinematic of them growing into their next form. This is not so with Pokémon Legends: Arceus, although the triggers for causing an evolution are actually the exact same. If you're using one of the many evolution items, such as Fire Stones, Water Stones, and so on, the process is automatic.
Select the evolution stone from your inventory and apply it to the Pokémon of that same type. This Pokémon will evolve on the spot.
Pokémon still gain levels and will be able to evolve when they hit a certain threshold. However, perhaps in order to give trainers a choice to not have their Pokémon evolve without knowing any hidden button tricks, the process won't begin automatically anymore.
Step 1: Level up your Pokémon until you get a notification that they're ready to evolve.
Step 2: Open your inventory by pressing Up on the D-pad and highlight the Pokémon you want to evolve. You can easily tell which Pokémon are able to be evolved by the glowing Pokéball icon beside them.
Step 3: Press the A button, and then confirm your choice to have them evolve.
Step 4: Watch your favorite pocket monster transform into a brand new form.
Some Pokémon have very specific requirements for evolving aside from needing an item or leveling up. Some only evolve during certain times of day, once they reach a specific happiness level, or even using specific moves a certain number of times.
If you're unsure why a Pokémon isn't evolving, check on their entry in the Pokédex to see if they have a unique requirements.
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