Does Pokémon Legends: Arceus have gyms?

They're a series staple, from the games to the TV show.

Image via The Pokémon Company

Gyms are one of the most recognizable aspects of the Pokémon series.

In traditional main-series Pokémon games, gyms and their accompanying gym leaders act as bosses, gating players’ progression. In other words, players can’t progress in the game and its story unless they defeat the gym leader. Gym battles have been some of the hardest battles in the Pokémon series.

Until now, the only mainline Pokémon games to ditch gym battles were Pokémon Sun and Moon. These games used the trials system instead, which involved solving puzzles and defeating difficult foes. These trials served the same purpose as gym battles: They checked the player’s progress and ensured that they had the skills they needed to complete the next half of the game.

Does Pokémon Legends: Arceus include gyms like most other main-series Pokémon games? Or does it buck tradition like Sun and Moon did?

Does Arceus have gyms?

Pokémon Legends: Arceus does not have gym battles. As the game takes place in Sinnoh’s misty past (hence the new region name Hisui), none of the gyms that can be seen in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl exist yet in Arceus. Players won’t be able to solve gym puzzles, battle gym trainers or gym leaders, or receive badges.

Image via The Pokémon Company

That doesn’t mean that Arceus doesn’t have boss battles, though. Instead of gym leaders, you’ll face off against Noble Pokémon, a new group of monsters. In Arceus lore, Noble Pokémon have received a certain kind of blessing and work more closely with humans than regular Pokémon do. They’re also much more powerful than your average wild Pokémon. Noble Pokémon are looked after by a group of people known as Wardens, who provide food and water to these Pokémon and keep their territory clear.

In Arceus, some of Hisui’s Noble Pokémon have become enraged and hostile, attacking those around them. Arceus‘ boss battles involve subduing these Noble Pokémon, both through traditional battle and through tossing balms that are made up of their favorite foods at them. These events involve aiming balms, dodging attacks, and using your Pokémon to wear down the Noble Pokémon’s HP. Though it’s not the same as traditional gym battles, these Pokemon still pose a formidable challenge to anyone wanting to explore Hisui and glean all its secrets.