Pokémon Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl Overview

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Review

Developer Recreation Freak has been doggedly dedicated to churning out a Pokémon sport practically yearly for greater than a decade now, however it has seemingly conceded it may possibly’t do all of it anymore. For the newest Pokémon remakes, Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl, it put one of many world’s best-known sport collection into the palms of a help studio many had by no means even heard of: ILCA. So what does a Pokémon remake seem like with out Recreation Freak within the driver’s seat? Seems it appears quite a bit just like the Pokémon sport that Recreation Freak made, tip to Tail Whip, with out the adventurous variations that outlined prior remakes.

Previous Recreation Freak remakes comparable to Pokémon Let’s Go, HeartGold and SoulSilver, and Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire have tried, for higher or worse, to be bold and daring with their reinventions as they revitalized what’s now historic Pokémon historical past for a brand new era. Maybe as a result of this set of remakes is in numerous palms with extra at stake, Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl are neither bold nor daring. Just like the themes of their story, they’re strong and enduring – leaning on the previous, with all of its triumphs and tripwires.

In its advertising and marketing supplies, we have been promised a “devoted remake” of 2006’s Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, and by Arceus, that’s what we received. It’s admittedly exhausting to have a look at Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl and never think about that Recreation Freak and The Pokémon Firm weren’t leaning ahead within the again seat, frantically yelling instructions. Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl are, in nearly each respect, meticulously devoted. Fortuitously, Diamond and Pearl have been fairly darn good video games to start with.

Battling Down Reminiscence Lane

Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl inform the identical story of a child occurring an journey to catalog monsters earlier than by chance changing into the strongest fighter within the area and taking down an overt loss of life cult with bizarre hair – you already know, commonplace Pokémon stuff. There are not any earth-shattering surprises, even after you beat the Elite 4 and unlock the Nationwide Dex, and in the meanwhile the Pokémon roster is restricted to simply the Pokémon that have been obtainable in Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum again within the day, so don’t count on newer favorites like Corviknight, Wooloo, or Toxtricity.

That will sound moderately disappointing on paper, however in apply it’s simply dang good to revisit a less complicated time within the Pokémon world with out the 900-something Pokémon to maintain observe of or a bunch of bizarre, particular mechanics – particularly as a result of it seems that what the unique Diamond and Pearl lack in trendy complexity, they greater than make up for in depth. The fourth era of Pokémon is full of issues to do, and so too then is Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl. Its story takes its time in a method the collection has largely forgotten, sending you thru personable little hamlets with smaller sights and no gyms, in addition to lengthy, winding routes filled with coach battles that can have your Pokémon gulping potion after potion earlier than you attain the subsequent story vacation spot. As an outdated geezer in Pokémon phrases, I’ve missed these gauntlets ever because the collection phased them out in favor of shorter stretches, fewer distractions, and extra therapeutic breaks. Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl appear meatier for it, too, touchdown at round 40 hours should you’re no less than dabbling in every little thing you come throughout, and longer should you dig in.

It is round 40 hours should you’re no less than dabbling in every little thing you come throughout, and longer should you dig in.


These prolonged hikes are made longer and extra advanced by the methods during which their design incorporates puzzle-solving strikes (HMs) like Rock Climb, Surf, Defog, and so forth. Did Diamond and Pearl, and by extension Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl, have too many HMs? Oh heavens sure – however the remake cleverly relegates these strikes to the smartphone-like Pokétch menu, moderately than making you carry a Bidoof in your get together always to chop down bushes for you. That enables the various hidden areas of Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl to be remodeled from unrewarding chores to thrilling little spelunks for treasure as you hike your method beneath, over, round, and thru the Sinnoh area’s centerpiece, Mt. Coronet.

The post-game is much more filled with issues to search out. Identical to the originals, Sensible Diamond and Shining pearl have tons of legendaries to trace down, rematches with a few of your hardest adversaries, sidequests, an entire further island space after you end the Nationwide Pokédex that’s filled with difficult battles, and a wealth of further Pokémon to catch that don’t seem till you’ve no less than seen the primary 150. Once more, this was all current within the unique, however it comes off as much more spectacular in 2021 after we’re accustomed to Pokémon video games that both make you pay for DLC or write off the post-game solely.

We Didn’t Begin With Hearth

ILCA’s faithfulness to the unique Diamond and Pearl extends to the unique pair’s weaknesses, too, and nowhere does the dedication floor extra conflicting feelings than within the roster of Pokémon you may construct your crew from. Diamond and Pearl have an completely weird slate of Pokémon companions, skewed closely towards a handful of sorts (the place are the hearth Pokémon?) that make it difficult to assemble something resembling a balanced group with out being railroaded into utilizing a number of particular staples (shoutout to Ponyta).

That’s nonetheless principally the case within the Sensible and Shining variations. ILCA devoutly caught to the unique roster monsters for the primary story, with the remaining unlocked in post-game – and, frankly, a few of the unique Diamond and Pearl Pokémon line-up form of stinks! Whereas Platinum’s expanded roster is offered for seize should you make sufficient visits to the Grand Underground and hunt lengthy and exhausting sufficient, they don’t seem on the floor the place a lot of the story takes place, and it may be tough to smell out the precise companions you wish to steadiness your crew. In the meantime, above floor, each different Pokémon is a Geodude, and there nonetheless aren’t sufficient fire-types to correctly counter the hundred or so Bronzor you’ll inevitably need to struggle.

Pokémon Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl – Screenshot Gallery

That stated, there’s admittedly one thing actually, legitimately enjoyable about making an attempt to craft a crew round kind and roster limitations that the collection has tried to keep away from creating since Pokémon X and Y. Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl really feel barely harder than different latest Pokémon video games because of this, because the remakes appear no less than considerably (if not solely) rebalanced across the addition of the controversial Expertise Share mechanic that provides your total get together expertise from battles moderately than simply battle members. These newer to Pokémon or used to Let’s Go or Sword and Protect may be caught off guard, however this grizzled veteran loved the real problem of compiling a crew that wouldn’t get curb stomped by the Elite 4 the second I walked in.

These newer to Pokémon or used to Let’s Go or Sword and Protect may be caught off guard.


The smaller roster additionally makes PokéDex completion and assortment far more enjoyable and simple. Whereas Diamond and Pearl pioneered the collection’ on-line play, they nonetheless acknowledged its limitations, and thus monster assortment continues to be designed round catching ‘em all your self and possibly buying and selling along with your one pal who has the opposite model. Once more, that is all simply incidental to the remake being a fairly devoted one, however when the Pokémon collection has about doubled the dimensions of its creature index because the final time most individuals performed Diamond and Pearl, the pared-down roster takes on a brand new, nostalgic mild. You understand, for the great ol’ days earlier than Pokémon have been ice cream cones (okay really I just like the ice cream cones, sorry, sorry).

In The Shadow of Mt. Coronet

Regardless of an nearly fanatical faithfulness, there are a handful of locations the place ILCA was in a position to put its personal, clear stamp on what Pokémon may be, albeit to combined outcomes. Its remixes of the unique Diamond and Pearl soundtrack, which admittedly wasn’t giving ILCA considered one of Recreation Freak’s greatest albums to work with, are nearly solely forgettable. And the tapping rhythm sport mechanic added in Pokémon Tremendous Contests doesn’t lean into precise rhythm sport goofiness practically as exhausting as I needed it had. With out the pleasant extra of the unique’s dress-up, dance, and efficiency phases, the entire exercise loses its attract.

However to its credit score, ILCA actively reveals up Recreation Freak in a number of different areas. The aforementioned tweaks to the Grand Underground that add areas the place wild Pokémon roam freely on the map, and I might spend hours operating round that maze. Its recreation of Diamond and Pearl in a 3D, chibi type is darling and surprisingly handsome in motion – apart from a pair transient, severe moments the place it zooms in a bit too shut on a too-cute villain monologuing about ending the world. I particularly cherished the cheeky opening moments of coach battles during which the complete character mannequin would faithfully strike the precise (typically foolish) pose their Diamond and Pearl sprite used to take in the beginning of every battle earlier than throwing their Pokéball and resuming extra pure motion.

I would like Recreation Freak to let ILCA tackle future Pokémon video games within the outdated top-down custom.


Sinnoh generally additionally appears fairly good inside the stylistic bounds ILCA set for itself. Although I want it hadn’t simply replicated the identical commonplace tree each time it wished a copse or had been a bit extra artistic with grass and flowers, different components like Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl’s rippling lakes and detailed water and different floor reflections are so spectacular and in contrast to something I’ve seen in different Pokémon video games that they warranted a second of admiration. An analogous quantity of care and love was put into the varied and detailed battle backdrops, each indoor and out of doors, which is one other contact that feels particularly poignant given the various battles that happened in white voids in Sword and Protect. I particularly cherished the thematically applicable method Mt. Coronet looms within the background throughout all of the out of doors fights, and the beautiful lighting changes to the identical spots at completely different occasions of day.

Each IGN Pokemon Overview Ever

These, mixed with different small, considerate touches (like having Pokémon comply with you outdoors Amity Sq. and the flexibility to vary outfits so Daybreak doesn’t need to stroll by waist-deep snow sporting a miniskirt) made me want ILCA had both been given the liberty or had the need to push a bit additional outdoors the bounds of Diamond and Pearl for this remake. I badly need Recreation Freak to let ILCA tackle future Pokémon video games within the outdated top-down custom, and I wish to see what ILCA is prepared and in a position to do with that custom as soon as the gloves come off. Go on, Recreation Freak: give ILCA the keys to some Black and White remakes too. Let ‘em go nuts. I dare you.

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