(Photo courtesy of Nintendo) “Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl” are available to play on Nintendo Switch.
“Pokémon” is one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time, with installments dating back to 1996. The games are set in different regions of the “Pokémon” world, with each game region encompassing what the we call a “generation”. from “Pokémon”. Pokémon “Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl” were released on November 19, 2021. They are remakes of the beloved fourth generation of Pokémon games: “Diamond” and “Pearl”, which are among the most powerful installments of the franchise.
While each “Pokémon” game varies in specific gameplay mechanics, most “Pokémon” games follow the player controlling a pre-teen as they get their first Pokémon. Pokémon largely inhabit the world of their games and are animated creatures that players can catch, befriend, and use in battle with other Pokémon trainers to grow stronger. The games generally follow the player character who completes the Pokémon Gym challenge. The player challenges eight different gym leaders before facing the Elite Four and Champion, an assortment of the strongest trainers in the region. Players are also usually tasked by a nearby Pokemon Professor to complete the Pokédex, a digital collection of all Pokemon in the area. To do this, the player must catch all the Pokémon.
Another commonality of the franchise is its double exit strategy. “Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl” are two separate games, with the same region and story but slightly different Pokémon encountered, and it was the same for their original games, “Diamond” and “Pearl”. The original games also tend to have a third installment, though they are rarely remade, and features from the third installment are either incorporated into later remakes or removed.
The main difference between the installments of the franchise are the new characters, regions, Pokémon, and stories. As remakes of previous games in the franchise, “Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl” were unlikely to drastically change what it means to be a Pokemon game. Staying close to their original games is both the biggest strength and biggest flaw of these installments.
“Diamond” and “Pearl” are two of the most powerful games in the Pokémon franchise. The region in which they take place, Sinnoh, is one of the most varied and rich in traditions. The starter Pokémon options are some of the best in the franchise. Between the fire monkey Chimchar, the water penguin Piplup and the grass turtle Turtwig, there is no wrong choice. The early game Pokemon choices are varied and viable choices even for later stages of the game. Additionally, these games contain some of the coolest Legendary Pokemon in the series, rare Pokemon of which only one exists in each game file. Game.
These strengths extend to “Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl”, but little is done to develop them. The core structure of the game remains equally fun and effective, but with little core improvement on gameplay and mechanics, there is a lack of creativity. While remakes should strive to stay close to their original games, it’s hard to justify spending $60, $20 more than the cost of the original games, for an identical experience.
There are three notable changes from the originals. The art style has been modernized, although the graphics still lag behind most of its contemporaries. In previous games, only Pokémon in battle gained experience to win battles. Now, upon victory, each Pokémon in the party gains experience. This allows accessibility for new players but makes the game easy for experienced players.
Finally, the game’s underground system has been expanded. This is the only part of the game that sees a noticeable improvement. Pokémon can now be encountered, battled, and caught in the new Metro and are accessible from the start of the game. It’s a fun area to explore, especially thanks to its higher level Pokémon offering higher challenges.
Another big disappointment of “Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl” is their lack of “Platinum” content. “Platinum” areas such as Distortion World are some of the most unique and enjoyable aspects of the Pokémon franchise, and their absence here is sorely felt.
Due to the ease of play and direct reworking of its originals, “Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl” are best enjoyed by players new to the Pokémon franchise or those who have played the originals and are looking for nostalgia. The core structure of the Pokémon games is enjoyable, and it’s unlikely a fan won’t have fun playing these remakes. However, due to its lack of improvements over the originals, “Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl” are a case of missed potential. Instead of continuous remakes, the Pokémon franchise needs a structural overhaul with modernized graphics.