Welcome to the fourth generation, where things finally start to feel repetitive and uninspired.
ROUGH SCORE: 8.4
FINAL SCORE: 8.5
- Increased difficulty (especially during Gym Leader battles)
- An unbelievable amount of content
- The opportunity to catch all 493 Pokemon in a relatively easy manner
- Lame new Pokemon
- Lame new additions (decorating Pokeballs, wtf)
- Delivers a major case of deja vu
- Why all the Golbats, Bronzors/Bronzongs, and Gyaradoses?
This game came out last April. I'd read plenty about it, and even though I already owned Red, Gold, and Sapphire, I didn't want to get it. My younger brother tried to persuade me to, since he was very much enjoying Pearl, but I held out, despite his best efforts at breaking me. I figured, I'll just wait until the third installment of this generation and get my next Pokemon fix then. Well, I was waiting and waiting and I actually thought it wasn't going to come. And then, this past May or whenever, the first news of Platinum surfaced. I got excited. But surprisingly, not for Platinum. Instead, I decided it was finally time for me to get Diamond. So I did. And I'm not getting Platinum (I'm not one for the third installments, anyway). And well, I'm both glad that I finally got it and upset that no one failed to mention how uninspired it is.
Pokemon Diamond (and by association, Pearl) is exactly the same Pokemon game you've been playing for the last ten years. You're a young boy or girl about to start his personal journey/quest towards becoming the Pokemon Champion. There's a professor, and he has three Pokeballs, each filled with a Pokemon. Fire, Grass, or Water. There's an evil Team wreaking havoc on the land and gym leaders to defeat to earn badges. The Elite Four still exists, too. At its core, Diamond is the same game, for the fourth time.
At least some changes were made. The touch screen controls during battles are very nice. And just like with Ruby/Sapphire, there's more going on with the Team than mere mischievous antics. This time, the whole world is at risk of being distorted, either temporally or spatially.
My one problem with the gameplay is that overall, it just stands out to be dull, repetitive, and uninspired. It pains me to say that because I love the Pokemon series, always have. But no matter how much you try to ignore it, it's been there, done that. I REALLY did not enjoy fighting the same Pokemon over and over and over again. Every Galactic Grunt had the same three to four Pokemon. Nearly every patch of grass had the same three Pokemon in it. Excuse me, but you've got 493 to choose from. Diversify your fictional world, please! I also felt that the Sinnoh region itself was kind of lame. At least in Ruby/Sapphire, you had mountain ranges, deserts, and underwater city, the volcanic area, etc. There was much more geographical variety. Here, it was really just grass fields and mountainous caves. And sure, you could chalk that up to that just being what Sinnoh is composed of, but this is a fictional land mass, not a real continent. Game Freak could (and should) have created its own little Earth. Hey, it would have allowed for a wider range of wild Pokemon, eh?
My biggest gripe since all the way back to last year was how the game was 3D but not full 3D. Even after playing through the game, I'm still disappointed that the game was not in full 3D. My stance was justified when DQMJ came out and showed that a Pokemon-like game could be created in full 3D. There are no excuses now.
That's not to say that the game doesn't look pretty. It does...but it's still disappointing.
The music featured in Pokemon games has always been lighthearted and memorable, but I don't think I've ever heard so many people, myself included, consider any of it "cool". The theme for battles with Galactic Grunts is very cool. As are a couple of the songs that play as you traverse the routes.
There's no denying that Pokemon Diamond has replay value. Ever since the start of MMO's popularity, I've considered the Pokemon franchise to be the best offline MMO. The game simply excels at using up countless hours of one's life. This, of course, could be a good or bad thing, but for the sake of this review, we'll say it's definitely a good thing. There should be no question in anyone's mind that this game and Pokemon titles in general contain a freakin' boatload of content. This is undeniably one of those games where if you wanted to, you could easily play this game for the rest of your life.
Honestly, I don't think it matters what I write here. Millions upon millions of people have already bought either Diamond or Pearl (or both) and/or will buy Platinum when it is released. Others still will buy Diamond or Pearl because their friends have it and/or they finally got around to getting their own DS. Whatever the circumstances, this game is a bestseller. I just wish it was better. It could have been better, but more to the point, it SHOULD have been better. Game Freak should count its blessings that it has so many loyal fans that will buy each generation of the series, no matter what it's like. All I can say - and I'm sure there are many out there who would agree - is that the fifth generation better be in full 3D and provide a richer, reinvented experience than the one we've been handed here. Because there is a difference between consistently recreating/revisiting the charm and mechanics of an original and lazily providing the same exact product with a new coat of paint, and it's really getting to that point where I'm starting to not only smell the paint, but get sick from it, too.