Pokémon Legends: Arceus brings a slew of changes to the franchise. It introduces huge changes to gameplay mechanics, like real-time Pokémon catching, and a fully open environment to fly, climb, and otherwise explore around in, as well as smaller changes to the overall game that still stick out as significant, like all of the new Hisuian forms that some Pokémon have in the new game. Regional forms are nothing new to the franchise, with the first ones being included in the Alola and Galar regions of previous games. It’s hard to rank any of these new forms, but we tried our best. Here are the top 10 new Hisuian forms found in Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
Samurott’s new design leaves a lot to be desired, especially when looking at the other Hisuian starters—there are no major changes to the silhouette or the general vibe of the design, just a color change and a haircut. It’s not a bad design by any means, and Samurott is a very cool Pokémon and fits right into Hisui; it’s just a little… underwhelming. Some more of its armor-like plates could’ve bulked up the design, potentially taking its obvious samurai design aesthetics and turning them up a notch or two.
Stepping up from the previous contender, Hisuian Braviary is still very similar to its counterpart in other Pokémon games, but the lengthening of the silhouette and addition of the psychic-powered eye mask is very good for the overall design. It’s clear here that this Braviary is a different breed that lives in a very different location than the plains-and-rivers dweller that we’re used to. Hisuian Braviary lives in the cold north, near the Snowpoint Temple, with the Pokédex telling us that it uses psychic blasts to immobilize its prey before swooping in.
Another new form for one of the starter Pokémon, Hisuian Typhlosion is a fantastic redesign, especially for its new Fire/Ghost typing. It’s like a polar opposite to what Typhlosion is typically thought of as—instead of being stoic, angry, and explosive, Typhlosions in Hisui have a very calm demeanor, being noted as very gentle and pacifistic. It can even be seen relaxing and staring into space, where Hisuians tend to believe that it is looking at the flow of life or spiritual energy in the area. This Ghost-type Typhlosion may also have a connection to Spiritomb, as it is said that Hisuian Typhlosions carrie around 108 of its ghostly flames at a time, the same number of wisps players need to be able to battle and catch Spiritomb.
Kleavor is Scyther’s newly-discovered Hisuian evolution. Scyther evolves into Kleavor when it is exposed to a Black Augurite, a type of very hard stone in Hisui. It also looks a lot more like Scyther than Scyther’s other evolution; where Scizor refined and smoothed out the design, Kleavor exaggerates and roughs it up a bit. Scyther’s blade-like arms have given way to long, hard arms with axe-shaped hands, and the exoskeletal armor Scyther once had is now all rocky, craggy protrusions.
Decidueye’s Hisuian form is a fantastic step up from its old design—where Alola’s Decidueye is largely based on Robin Hood, Hisui’s seems like it’s based on samurai archers, especially when you look at the hat of feathers it looks like it’s wearing and the ayaigasa hats that archers used to put on training dummies to use as targets in the real-life Kamakura and Edo periods of Japan’s history. Decidueye’s leaves have also shifted from the lush, springy green of its old design into a more autumnal coloration, a reference to the color change that deciduous trees go through in the fall.
Hisuian Lilligant is a breath of fresh air compared to the old Lilligant, with its ballroom gown-style leaves changing here into a smaller skirt, more reminiscent of a ballet dress than before. This, combined with Hisuian Lilligant’s longer overall limbs, also allows us to see the dance shoe-like feet that Lillgant uses to prance through the flower meadows it calls home.
Ursaluna is a weird one; this new evolution of Ursaring evolves when it’s exposed to a Peat Block, and it is drastically different from its predecessor. Instead of a towering, bipedal terror, this form is decidedly friend-shaped and much softer looking. Ursaluna can also help players dig up useful items and treasures with its claws made for digging and a nose that can track any scent.
If we’re talking about friend-shaped Hisuian Pokémon, look no further than Hisuian Growlithe. With its new, lion dog-inspired design, this already very cuddly Pokémon becomes even more so with its fluffier tail and mane and happier overall demeanor. Arcanine follows in the trend as well, being fluffier and softer-looking than its predecessor, but how could anyone ignore this little guy?
Technically, these are two separate Pokémon—sue me, they’re basically the same. These new forms of Dialga and Palkia, the legendary Pokémon emblazoned on their respective covers of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, show up in Hisui looking a lot more like Arceus than before (or later, I guess), possibly owing to the fact that Arceus’ powers are what cause them to appear in Hisui in the first place. Either way, these designs seem much more in line with the rest of the Legendary Pokémon of their era, and these redesigns are wholly welcome.
Finally, we end our list with Hisuian Zoroark. This design is a drastic departure from the previous Zoroark; Unovan Zoroark was a Dark type Pokémon and it showed—where the original is dark, edgy, and looks like something you’d see lurking in a city’s alleyways, Hisuian Zoroark is pale and ghostly, with its large mane floating around it instead of pulled back. This gives the silhouette a much more intimidating and interesting shape, with its kitsune mask colorations giving it another tie to Japanese folklore.