The Pokémon franchise may have reached its peak on the Nintendo DS. Diamond and Pearl has made the final fundamental changes to the combat system and has proven online that it has revolutionized the classic concept of hunting, trading and fighting. Excellent remasters in the form of HeartGold and SoulSilver followed, and cool black and white demo games. It is simple to say that the first releases of the fourth generation of games were eagerly anticipated.
However, the announcement of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl was disappointing: not only was the graphic style highly criticized, but the remakes didn’t seem to require much creative freedom in the Sinnoh region. This is partially true.
In terms of appearance, ILCA has already made headway. While the ad trailer was more reminiscent of a mobile game, the version in our gameplay demo looks more lively and beautiful. The light is more subtle, the character models have more detail, the plants are more cartoonish, and the Pokémon center reflects the characters and objects. On the other hand, everything is relatively simple graphically – the perspective is largely isometric – and despite the wider image size and fun camera angles, it’s clearly designed for a handheld experience.
Other decorations also appeal to players’ nostalgia. The text blocks are similar to those on the Nintendo DS, the menus feature the same colors and the mini versions of the same monsters consist of beautiful sprites. Similar to other remakes, the game’s soundtrack has also been revamped, with classic tunes reminiscent of the electronic sounds of Sword and Shield. This is undoubtedly a controversial choice, but the Diamond and Pearl soundtrack is still solid.
Naturally, ILCA uses the new versions to implement – in part – fifteen years of improvements. Battles provide all information about attacks and pokemon status, experience sharing provides all pokémon XP games, players can access the union room online from anywhere, and games play many times faster than the original game. Hidden machines – the attacks needed to progress in the story – are also more user-friendly. Instead of taking a space between Pokemon attacks, the Pokétch allows it to be used with wild Pokemon.
A Pokémon spokesperson also said that the player is a non-functional but very popular add-on – much to the surprise of the Pokémon Company.
The most interesting addition is Pokémon Hideaways, which is basically an underground map where Pokémon roam freely. Players access the tunnels via the Grand Underground, where they can mine with others as usual for gems, this time also Pokemon figurines. These figurines once again identify the type of monsters that roam the Hideaways, like Electrivire for more Electric Pokemon.
This should continue to roam the diverse subterranean environments – which is like a second layer under the entire area – fresh and returning Pokemon not previously captured in the original DS games. Regarding Pokedex, The Pokémon Company can unfortunately share quite a bit of news; The new version offers “more than 450 Pokemon to catch”.
The Pokémon competitions introduced in Ruby and Sapphire are also undergoing an overhaul. Instead of just dressing up and special attacks in categories like Coolness, Beauty, and Toughness, players are also judged based on the rhythm game. As always, it is also possible to improve the contest stats by cooking bouffins, a treat based on existing berries. It looks like players are still only winning strips from matches, so contests don’t really have a function yet.
Viewing gameplay also raises a number of questions about things that would make the replays more interesting for the casual player. For example, in recent years there has been a lot of criticism about the difficulty of games – a result of Game Freak’s focus on accessibility. Unfortunately, it’s still unclear if Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are comparable to the original games in this regard, or have been reviewed for new players. Anyway, the games don’t have difficulty options and are “more user-friendly” and “less difficult,” according to The Pokémon Company.
Another question mark is the role that Pokémon Platinum plays in the reproductions. The third version, released in 2009, was in many ways more accurate and comprehensive. In particular, the most compelling plot and Battle Frontier are excellent additions that the new releases will benefit from. Although it already exists Hints Platinum content found, The Pokémon Company says it can only confirm at this point that “Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are remade from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl”.
With that said, the games seem to remain close to the originals for now, with some logical and promising changes. Maybe that’s enough for a good portion of gamers new and old, but somehow we’d have liked to see a more ambitious setup for our beloved 4G gaming. We’ll find out on November 19 if Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl offer surprises.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl will be released on the Nintendo Switch on November 19.