When Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl were announced early this year, we promised a loyal remake. Eight fights in the gym, badly dressed villains, hundreds of trainers and the grand finale to win the pokemon league. We all know what that means, but we always hope for more. After many hours in the renovated Snouh area, we can confirm that the promise has been fulfilled, but hope has not been fulfilled.
With each generation of Pokémon games comes a generation of (young) adults convinced that this is the “real” Pokémon experience. All generations seem to agree on one thing: everything was better before. So it’s no surprise that Nintendo regularly releases revised versions. All previous versions have proven that nostalgia is a good thing. However, this effect may vary. While SoulSilver and HeartGold still have a permanent place in our game locker, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl quickly end up in the moving chest after playing.
When a game is based on nostalgia like these new releases, it should also grab attention in another way. Otherwise, it will be hard to end up on wishlists with a new audience. And by this we mean players who have little or no experience with Pokemon, but also those who have dropped out after years of fanatical gameplay. For them, these types of re-manufactures can mean a return to franchising. This is something developer Ilca understood well, because Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl radiate fun. A combination of chibiThe overall world style and 3D combat feel like new, while maintaining the charm of the old Pokemon games.
From the moment you wake up in your bedroom to the moment you come face-to-face with Cynthia in the Pokemon League, everything feels familiar. You experienced the same adventure as before, only the paths you walk on feel less trampled. In addition, the replays contain a number of changes that should make your suffering as a Pokémon master more bearable.
For example, Pokétch summons Wild Pokemon to perform HM-related attacks for you, and Party Pokemon for Box Pokemon can be switched at any time. So there is no longer any need to reserve a spot at the party for Bidoof. Moreover, the auto-save function prevents unnecessary loss of progression and lost players can always refer to the hints in the pause menu. These kinds of logic developments, which are already added to the previous games within the franchise, ensure a more enjoyable gaming experience.
Even if it’s not a masterpiece, the game world of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl catches the eye. In addition, everything works a little better, so you lose yourself faster in the Snow Zone. This ensures that you can maintain your focus for longer, so that you still have enough energy to enjoy the end of the game after beating Pokémon League. However, there’s still plenty to do: you can spend hours roaming the Great Underground, looking for special places to roam rare Pokemon, hunting down Legendary Pokemon, and challenging all the trainers once again.
You experienced the same adventure as before, only the paths you walk on feel less trampled
However, not all changes can be considered direct improvements. For example, the automatic XP Share feature — which originated from Pokémon Sword and Shield — dramatically changes the flow of the game. Training on the grass is almost unnecessary. This addition makes the battles less exciting, especially with the lower level of difficulty. When it comes to tactical combat, you count on one or two Gym Leaders and the Elite Four. Also, adding new Pokemon to your collection looks very different from the original. Experience shows that in practice you use only one or two Pokemon, because the level of the rest of your group grows with them. This results in less contact with your Pokemon.
Not all changes work well in the new Pokémon game is nothing new and also depends on the type of player. Remarkably, the game controls were clearly developed for an outdated platform. Your character moves around a gaming grid, based on the four-point push-button controls of the Nintendo DS, which goes against the freedom that the analog stick you use in these versions should offer.
In the end, with Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, there is a little more risk involved and it’s not quite as impressive as Pokémon SoulSilver and HeartGold. However, except for the somewhat clumsy controls, the games do nothing wrong. The game world is very solid and classic Pokémon games have never been so atmospheric and attractive.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are now available for the Nintendo Switch.
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