It was seven years ago when we got Pokémon remakes, Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby. If Nintendo were to follow that trend, the subsequent remakes to show up would be the Diamond and Pearl games. On November 19th, 2021, these remakes were released as Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shiny Pearl. We get to dive again into the region of Sinnoh in the world of Pokémon.
Game Name: Pokémon Brilliant Diamond / Shining Pearl Platform(s): Nintendo Switch Publisher(s): The Pokemon Company/ Nintendo Developer(s): ILCA Inc. Release Date: November 19th, 2021 Price: $59.99
When you get right down to it, this is what people think of what a remake is at its core. The story is the same, and the moments are the same. Brilliant Diamond feels just like Diamond. Shining Pearl feels just like Pearl. All that is changed is the assets and some quality-of-life changes to make it a streamlined experience. In my opinion, I prefer it being almost a 1 for 1 recreation.
You start in an overhead view of your character similar to the games of old. It makes all the characters look like Chibi versions of themselves. You walk and can eventually run and ride bikes once you get further into the story. When you walk into the tall grass you will have to deal with possible random encounters where wild Pokémon can appear. The full character models are on display. Your character model and the Pokémon model. There are two different models, in battle models and the overworld models. The game runs fine with very few frame dips or stutters.
When you defeat or catch a Pokémon, every Pokémon in your party gets experience. It will give only a little bit to your party but if you want to EV train you will have to put all your Pokémon in the pc but the one you want to EV train. Honestly, EV training though isn’t worth it in this gen. I do wish though that you had the option to turn it off in case you ever did want to EV train or did not want a specific Pokémon in your party to gain levels. It does make grinding a lot easier though since you won’t have to change Pokémon constantly to get them to similar levels.
One big change in this remake is how the underground works. You can go down and create your secret hideout with friends or by yourself. You can also go and look at various biomes in the underground that has caverns and caves that house Pokémon. In some cases, this was a good way to find rare types of Pokémon like Gligar or Elekid. There are a number of named NPCs you can find down in the underground as well. Some will let you buy stuff from them or even rest your Pokémon and refill their hp. It is not a difficult game aside from the elite four which has undergone a massive upgrade with their move sets and held items that can actually trip you up if you don’t pay attention to your battles. You can have up to 6 of your Pokémon in your party. You can, however switch between all your Pokémon in boxes whenever you are able to open the Pokémon menu. Honestly, I like this change as it reduces the time spent traveling to Pokécenters. A lot of the changes in this game are to mitigate what I call busy time. Time spent traveling or redoing grinding for a different Pokémon. It lets you focus on the game and on moving forward.
The graphics in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond / Shining Pearl are all 3D models trying to represent the sprites of the older version of this game. It is pretty much a recreation except the models are a bit more expressive than the sprites. Even though the assets are remade from the ground up, it still has the feel of a 2000’s handheld game. There are glitches that can happen in how you move by clipping into the environment or even in gyms. In some cases, these glitches can even Softlock your game if you are not careful. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond added a feature known as autosave, and it will save automatically for you in case you forget to manually save a lot. This caused a few issues, but luckily, they have a fix you can find on this website.
I really like the added expressions to the models on this game. Cinematics in the overworld is now closer to the models so you can see the expressions full on. The problem of having the sprites in the older games is they would usually retain the same size throughout. The 3D models can be used a lot more freely and they aren’t limited by the hardware.
Even in the sound department, these remakes don’t stray far from their original source. The overworld music and the battle music are all extremely similar and almost identical to the DS games. Mainly just higher quality. They still even have the text scrolling sound when you press A to further the dialogue. That said, Cynthia’s battle music is still top-tier boss music.
The value in this game is honestly what a 1 to 1 remake looks like. The story is the same, it plays very similarly to the DS games, and it is still very much Pokémon. The quality-of-life changes like autosave, exp share, and changing your Pokémon party wherever you are is I think a good thing. I do agree, however that if you don’t want those features, you should be able to have the option to turn them off. Hardcore players will want to EV train, will want to give themselves the challenge of the old school days. They will want to only change party members very seldom to improve upon the experience that they have. It is more accessible, and it is more fun for the casual player, but the hardcore players will have an easier time than they would like with this remake. You have options for more outfits and more character styles than the normal choose your gender sprite days of old. It took me 26 hours to beat the elite four and champion with a few more hours tacked on top of that for battle tower and the added park.
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Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are exactly what you think of what a remake to a Pokémon game. Story unchanged, newer assets and more quality of life upgrades that make it fit in the modern era of gaming. It is still very much Pokémon.
Quality of life updates
More character customization
Nothing feels really new
still has glitches that are game breaking
Easy until you hit the elite four, then you get a difficulty spike