When I went back to Pokémon after snobbing it for no reason for many years, well no good reason, I bought a 3DS so I could give some a jam.
Suddenly 100+ hours were lost in Pokémon Black and Pokémon Platinum because they were as enjoyable as I remembered them being, though I did wonder how amazing the same games with a graphics upgrade would be.
Well now the question has been answered with Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.
Pokémon Diamond and Pearl is the 4th generation of Pokémon where we were introduced to the Sinnoh Region. For the most part the game is very classic Pokémon.
Some of the quality of life upgrades like how Pokémon swap out after being knocked out made the upgrade from gen 3 to gen 4 massive, but if you have played any Pokémon games in the last 14 years then you will be used to these at this stage.
This is an important note because Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are ruthlessly faithful remakes. In almost every way the game is the same as the original.
You’ll visit the same places in the same order, get quizzed by the same clowns to get your watch, catch the same Pokémon, etc. It is the same game, it just looks way prettier now.
There have been some massive improvements to the game itself in little ways that make a huge difference. Auto-saving has become a thing, and also your HM moves don’t require a Pokémon with the ability in your party.
I discovered this after wasting a slot on Geodude… ah well you live and learn. Also when you use your moves on an enemy it does the cool feature of putting below the move if it was or wasn’t effective, and now you can access your stored Pokémon anywhere. There are all great improvements that enhance the game without detracting anything from them.
The Experience Share mechanic that is kicked in from the get go I am more lukewarm on.
This has become a thing in recent games where in the original Diamond and Pearl it was an item that needed to be held by a Pokémon to passively receive half the experience. This saves the old process of swapping Pokémon in and out of a battle to net them some Exp, but it also winds up with your Pokémon being massively OP.
By the time I hit the first gym my Pokémon were all a higher level than the Leaders and there was no challenge to him. Later the Gym leaders jump a bit, but this does make you stronger faster and earlier.
What can’t be understated is how great the game looks.
There are the cute short bodied versions of the characters out in the world, and fully designed Pokémon and characters in battle. Everything from the grass to the water looks an absolute treat to explore. The old game is still beautiful with it’s pixel art glory, this one here is beautiful for different reasons, and it’s cool that you can play either…if you still have your 3DS of course.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond was an awesome experience to play. It plays like an old game, it looks like a new game, and I enjoyed the hell out of it.
While I appreciate that Let’s Go did something different with a familiar game, there is something magical about the simplicity of old Pokémon games that can be appreciated here.
Released: November 2021
Platform reviewed: Nintendo Switch