Review: Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Versions (Switch)

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Many years ago, I had actually lost interest in the Pokémon series, back when Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire were released. This review isn’t about those games, or why I temporarily dropped out of the series. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl were the games that got me back into Pokémon, and today I’ll be covering the recent remakes, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. So do these remakes hold up after all this time? Read on to find out!

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The first thing you might notice about playing this game is the graphical and musical updates. While the characters are in stylized cutesy 3D this time, the models are actually pretty detailed when in battle, along with pretty good background environments. The music is now orchestrated with real instruments too, so it is quite pleasing to the ears as well.

However, unlike previous Pokémon remakes, there are relatively few changes to most of the game. A fair amount of the main game feels just like the original, and that is either a good thing, or depending on your reasons for wanting to play this game, a very bad thing. Most of the changes are in minute details, and there are barely any broad alterations to these remakes.

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One minor change is the automatic experience share to your entire Pokémon party. Whenever you gain experience points, the entire party gets some points. The Pokémon community at large thinks this is a bad change made in recent years, as it makes the game quite easy. For the most part, this is true in this game, although I was somehow under leveled for the final battle (which was the only part that was made noticeably harder). The game also has a lot of trainers to battle, so there’s plenty of experience points to go around. I personally prefer this option, as I don’t have to spend extra time leveling up one Pokémon at a time, so it makes the experience a little bit smoother, even if it makes most of the game easier. In all fairness, they should have a way to turn off this feature for players who desire a challenge, but just like in Sword and Shield, it is always on.

Aside from that, other changes include using the Pokétch tool in place of the HM feature to clear obstacles or navigate the game world, as well as some modifications to the underground area. The underground now features portions where you can find wild Pokémon, and includes online connectivity, but lacks the capture the flag minigame. You can also set up your secret base with statues that influence the wild Pokémon that appear in the underground. This feature is fun to play, as the mining mini game is as fun as ever, even if it is mostly the same as in the original game.

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The rest of the game has only minor tweaks, such as the modern effects of moves, abilities, and current Pokémon types. I also noticed that this game lacks the modern stat screen that shows what stat changes and other effects are in play, which is something I would heavily prefer being in this game. Heaven forbid I forget how many turns are left on a move effect while playing against friends or strangers online. In fact, this game is so faithful, that the Pokémon that are compatible with this game are the first 493 that were accessible in the original Diamond and Pear games.

As of this writing, I have yet to try online battles and trades. While I presume they work as well as Sword and Shield, I will note that there is no online ranking system! On top of that, for those who might be interested, the methods of getting ready for competitive matches is noticeably slower than Sword and Shield (the full details of which I may include in a future article). I find this concerning, as such an issue would likely lead to additional hacking, provided that the competitive battling side of the community likes this game’s meta game enough (oddly, this is also similar to the original games).

The main game is fine on its own, although there are some pacing issues, such as roads that take a while to get to the next major battle early on.  Afterwards, the next few major battles are near each other. Next, the game story’s climax is also near the beginning of the final act, as opposed to it being the finale. These may be minor nitpicks though, as the game is functionally acceptable (barring the range of glitches you might not normally find on your own, which if abused allows you to coast through the game).

The real things you need to ask yourself is why you might want to pick up this game. It will ultimately determine if you’ll have a good time. Here’s a few questions that you need to ask yourself before you pick up Brilliant Diamond or Shining Pearl:

  • Have you played the original?
  • Do you still have the original?
  • Do you enjoy replaying old games?
  • Are you a die hard Pokémon fan?
  • Does your copy of Pokémon Home have all the Pokémon found in these games? (This will be relevant in a future update).
  • Do you like Pokémon Sword and Shield?

Those who lack the original, or never played it might have a better time. Those who don’t mind replaying a game might also like this game. If you have a complete collection of Pokémon in your Pokémon Home account, you might not need these remakes. If you like Pokémon Sword and Shield, particularly for the ranking system and current competition rules, you may not want or need Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Keep these factors in mind before you buy!

Recommendations:

  • Explore the game as much as you can.
  • Catch as many Pokémon as you like.
  • Try the underground feature from time to time.
  • Play through the main game.
  • Try the battle tower.
  • Gain the national Pokédex, and play the rest of the post game.
  • Try the online features, if interested.

Pros:

  • Good graphical update.
  • Some good musical changes.
  • Same old Pokémon gameplay (this is good or bad, based on how hooked you are on the series).
  • Finale is challenging.
  • The underground is fun.
  • Plenty to explore.

Cons:

  • Almost identical to the original game (this is good if you liked or never played it, or very bad if you were looking for noticeable changes).
  • Some changes from modern games are missing, such as the status screen, and unlimited use TMs.
  • Some Pokémon are missing from newer games.
  • Making a perfect Pokémon for competitive battling is a lengthy process, encourages cheating.

Verdict:

8.0/10 Great, but very similar to the original.

Weather or not you played the original Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum versions will contribute heavily to your enjoyment of this game. As such, its range is anywhere from 6.0-8.2. This game is best for players who never played the original games, especially for those who like the retro Pokémon level designs. Those looking for a modified version of Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum won’t find it here, as these remakes play very similarly to the original games.


What did you make of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl? Do the remakes change enough? What is your favorite or least favorite change and why? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this review, then click that like button and share on social media. To keep up with That’s All Games, you can subscribe via email or WordPress. Until next time, have fun gaming!

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