Thursday, January 20

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond Game Review | Levelup

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Pokémon Diamond & Pearl They are an important generation for Pokémon for many reasons: they are considered the latest installments with the purity of the classic style; they were the first with an online system and also marked the franchise’s debut on Nintendo DS. They may not be the favorite generation of many, but it is one that was clearly iconic.

That’s why it attracted a lot of attention when The Pokémon Company and Nintendo announced their remakes. Especially since the project would not be run by Game Freak, but by ILCA, a company best known for being a support studio for several Japanese projects. With this, they became the first titles in the main saga not to be developed by their original studio, something that excited and worried in equal amounts.

Was getting away from Game Freak what I needed Pokémon to return to glory? Did ILCA do justice to such an important generation? None of these answers is yes, but there are still positives in Pokémon Diamond & Pearl.

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Related Video: Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl – Tráiler “Legendary Encounters”

Highly faithful remakes

The first thing to make clear is that Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are very faithful remakes of the fourth generation of Pokémon. This is a good and bad thing at the same time, but we will leave that last for later.

What’s up? The highlight is its quality of life improvements that make it a modern experience. To open your mouth, movement speed was increased by making your character run most of the time. With this, exploration ceases to be the horrible tedium step by step and the main sin of Diamond & Pearl: be extremely slow.

The following of its improvements may surprise few because it is already becoming a tradition: the HM Slaves died! In the originals, you had to assign a member of your team to learn the movements necessary to progress on the map such as Cut, Surf or Rock Smash. Now, you will have an accessory with which you will summon a Bidoof that will do these tasks for your team.

Now, not all quality of life improvements in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl end up being positive. There is a severe problem and that is that it is inevitable that all your experience is shared among its Pokémon. This is a quality of life improvement that can help a lot for players less stuck in the franchise or for those who simply want to avoid the grind. Its existence is applauded, but do you know what the problem is? That it’s impossible to turn it off, therefore almost the entire adventure in Sinnoh becomes outrageously easy and you end up with a team that can knock out just about anyone in one fell swoop. It’s great that he wants to be more approachable, but it is unnecessary to take away the option of being a challenger.

A renewed adventure

Another novelty is the incorporation of the Grand Underground. It is an underground area that runs throughout the region and is full of creatures. Exploring is worth it because you will find rare Pokémon, goodies, and more. Although its challenge is little, it is interesting to explore to get creatures that we rarely find in Sinnoh, thus giving us the opportunity to create more interesting teams.

The successes in these Pokémon remakes might seem better if they didn’t make a few mistakes. None enough to make these remakes trash, but they are oversights that affect the quality of the entire package. Perhaps the main problem is that, in many ways, they feel like cheap, superficial jobs. They’re not terrible in any way, but it seems like they focused on delivering the bare minimum to have an end-of-the-year release rather than using the occasion to do something truly special.

Let’s focus on the visuals to exemplify. There is no doubt that the developers did a good job of revamping the visuals. Train animations look incredibly detailed, but battle animations have all the energy of Pokémon Stadium. Something similar can be said for the visuals and textures: some look great, while others leave a lot to be desired.

“It seems they were focused on delivering the minimum acceptable”

This is something that is also reflected in his art style. The cute pixel style of the originals has been replaced by chibi style 3D models hoping to sweetly sweeten you. The problem is that more than feeling like a pretty reinvention like the remake of Link’s Awakening, follow the Funko Pop! route. That is, take beloved characters, take away their souls and every ounce of personality to turn them into dwarfs, big eyes and without a soul. One of the high points of Diamond & Pearl It was Cyrus, a nihilistic villain of whom we will not say more to avoid spoilers. Such an enemy was cool for a franchise as infantilized as Pokémon, especially since the mere presence of its sprite was threatening. The new style takes away that aura of danger and mystery. For details like this, the visual style ends up being a simple modernization, but not a real improvement.

There is another awkwardness in the visuals of this remake has to do with being thought of as a portable game. Makes sense right? After all the originals are for Nintendo DS and Switch is a hybrid console. The downside is that this leads to 2 problems. The first is that, although it looks great in portable mode, its resolution causes image quality to suffer when connected to a TV. The other is that it has touchscreen support, but it’s inconsistent, why not fully commit to making those who grew up with the originals feel right at home?

Try to play it portable
Try to play it portable

We also have the case of some novelties that seem to be half implemented. For example, in these remakes you can select one of your Pokémon to follow you in the overworld, as in Heart Gold & Soul Silver. It is something purely aesthetic, but it helps a lot to immerse yourself and feel closer to our Pokémon. Unfortunately, having a creature outside ends up being as uncomfortable as stepping on your pet. You constantly bump into your Pokémon, it gets in the way of you indoors, and in the end you just feel guilty for wanting it away from you.

This leads us to a sin of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl it was wasting the opportunity to make the best postgame possible. Games that debuted in their generation as Platinum and the Johto remakes showed us how ambitious and comprehensive the post-credits test section can be. This remake makes an effort to offer you many things to do once you become a champion. You can find legendary creatures; offer revenge to gym leaders and participate in new fights. Sadly, the opportunity to add the exciting content of Pokémon Platinum to make the definitive version of Sinnoh, or to bring back the Battle Frontier to offer more interesting fights than those in the Battle Tower.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl in pictures

A competent product, but Sinnoh deserved more

There is something that makes Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are different from other remakes of the franchise: they don’t feel like part of any generation. Yes OK Fire Red & Leaf Green They were remakes of Kanto, the game was built on the foundations of the third generation. For its part, Heart Gold & Soul Silver They are fourth generation games, but they are remakes of Johto.

On Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl we find remakes of Sinnoh that are far from the novelties of the eighth generation that we met in Sword & Shield. They are a graphical update, but not a jump to the new generation and the consequence is that they give the feeling of being brief releases. They do some things well, but are satisfied with very little.

I still have to admit that the fact of being such faithful and simple remakes meant that this trip was a return to an era of Pokémon that no longer exists. As I mentioned at the beginning, Diamond and Pearl can be considered the last installments that followed the formula of the originals almost to the letter before Game Freak tried new things with Black & White. It was special to return to Sinnoh to once again move through a world that feels created on a grid and explore it with a perspective from above.

In the end, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl They arrive as remakes destined to pass without impact. They do their job by bringing the fourth generation of Pokémon into a new era, but they fall short when it comes to trying to be the ultimate version of Sinnoh. It is fine that it is a faithful recreation, but I wish ILCA had taken an extra step by daring to add things that we saw in Platinum to give a very exciting package. After all, it’s not a good thing that a remake leaves us yearning for things that a 2009 game did.

That does not mean that they are bad titles. Rather, they are competent relaunches with necessary quality of life improvements and return to last Pokémon with its classic purity it was fun. I wish that the return to Sinnoh had not been in a project that feels so cheap, but not to mention.

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