Pokemon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl May Be More Than A Faithful Adaptation, For The Better

The remakes for Pokemon Generation IV seem to be aimed at addressing Diamond/Pearl's most obvious shortcomings.

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Ahead of the release for Pokemon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl, developer ILCA and publisher Nintendo have marketed the two remakes as faithful adaptations of the original Generation IV games. I recently attended a preview event for the duo where I got to see B. Diamond in action, and although these remakes look faithful to the original games, I'm not so sure that they'll feel as faithful. If anything, the changes made in these remakes seem to make for a far more approachable experience--I think players are going to find these games to be a lot easier to get through than the original Diamond/Pearl.

In terms of overall structure and presentation, yes, B. Diamond/S. Pearl are faithful adaptations of the original Diamond/Pearl. Unlike Sword/Shield with its over-the-shoulder perspective, realistically proportioned characters, and occasional free camera moments, B. Diamond/S. Pearl is presented in Pokemon's traditional top-down isometric perspective with a more chibi-like visual style and no free camera.

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Now Playing: Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Look To Evolve Upon The Originals' Mechanics

B. Diamond/S. Pearl looks like an old-school Pokemon game--the Pokemon Center and Poke Mart are separate buildings again, for example. More notably, catching wild Pokemon is once again a mostly random affair--Pokemon won't appear in the overworld while you're walking through tall grass or using Surf over water, meaning you have no idea what you're running into until the fight starts. The one exception to this rule is the new Grand Underground--which looks absolutely massive--an area that replaces the original Diamond/Pearl's Underground. In the Grand Underground, Pokemon wander around (and, if aggressive, chase after you), similar to the Wild Area in Sword/Shield.

Many Generation IV-exclusive features return in B. Diamond/S. Pearl. You can bait Honey Trees to attract wild Pokemon, enter enhanced Pokemon contests, make Poffins to improve your Pokemon's conditions, decorate Poke Ball Seals with Stickers, and walk around with your Pokemon in cute parks to strengthen your relationship. They all look to be just as unrewarding as they were in Diamond/Pearl, but they all appear to be just as easily skippable this time around as they were in the original games.

That's not where B. Diamond/S. Pearl have made strides in the formula--these remakes make their most notable changes in regards to catching Pokemon, battling and leveling Pokemon, and exploring. B. Diamond/S. Pearl bring forward a lot of the improvements made in Pokemon games since the release of Generation IV--some are purely aesthetic but most are mechanical changes. And those mechanical changes could domino effect into an altogether more approachable Generation IV experience.

Hidden Machines (HMs) return in B. Diamond/S. Pearl, but similar to the last few Pokemon games, these moves are no longer tied to Pokemon--you don't have to give up one of your Pokemon's moves to have it learn a HM. For those who don't know or remember, Generation IV has a HM problem. You used to have to regularly carry around at least two Pokemon that collectively knew Cut, Surf, Strength, Rock Smash, Waterfall, and Rock Climb just to get through Generation IV. Since you no longer have to do that (you can use HM moves once you have the right Gym badges), it should help you build out a more balanced team.

And on top of that, it will be easier to grow the strength of that team thanks to all Pokemon in your party receiving experience for a fight--Exp. Share is available from the start and is applicable to your entire party. That's going to be huge for helping to deal with Diamond/Pearl's level pacing issue. In Generation IV, you immediately go to fight the Elite 4 and Champion after completing all eight Gyms--there's nothing to really do in-between. That's a hard fight if you don't take the time to grind out and level all members of your team--the highest level Pokemon for the eighth Gym is 49, while the Champion has a team of Pokemon that are levels 60-66. Most Generations have a gap in strength between Gym 8 and the Champion, but Generation IV is especially tough given the size of the gap and the team that the Champion uses.

So you have to train up your team between the eighth Gym and taking on the Elite 4 and Champion in the original Diamond/Pearl. Type match-ups are most important for Pokemon battles, but an 11-17 level difference is significant enough for the Champion to just tank your hits. Provided B. Diamond/S. Pearl keep all trainers at the same levels, the grind between beating the final Gym and taking on the Elite 4 and Champion should be a lot shorter, thanks to that Exp. Share.

Like in the old games, Pokemon Centers and Poke Marts are two separate buildings.
Like in the old games, Pokemon Centers and Poke Marts are two separate buildings.

More than anything, however, is that B. Diamond/S. Pearl will incorporate current Pokemon typings. That means you'll get Fairy types, which didn't exist when Diamond/Pearl first launched. Bringing a Fairy type Pokemon into the back-to-back fights of the Elite 4 and Champion is huge, as some of those trainers' hardest hitters are weak to Fairy type Pokemon.

Beyond that, B. Diamond/S. Pearl adds a host of quality-of-life improvements: an autosave feature should help to make sure you don't accidently lose hours of progress, Pokemon move info will inform you whether the attack you want to do will be effective, a button on the battle screen will quickly pull up the Poke Ball page in your bag so you're not scrounging around through menus when catching Pokemon, and a waypoint marker will let you know where to go to next in case you're lost. There are an assortment of other changes too, like being able to access your PC Pokemon from anywhere.

As I mentioned before, there are a few aesthetic improvements the remakes make as well, beyond the obvious updated graphics and visuals. The first is character customization: Though I didn't get to see what options are available, your trainer in B. Diamond/S. Pearl can be customized.

"While we're on the topic of the character model, you'll notice that [my trainer] has got a brown skin tone," a Nintendo Treehouse spokesperson said during the preview. "I chose that because I have brown skin, and so I chose a character that looks like me. There's about eight ways to change the appearance of your player character--four for female, and four for male."

You can go on small walks with your Pokemon through Amity Park.
You can go on small walks with your Pokemon through Amity Park.

And on top of that, each Pokemon move has been reanimated so that every move has its own animation. "Every move has its own individual vibrant animation," the spokesperson said. "The farther along you get in the game, you get some really cool animations--spoiler: the animation for Hyper Beam looks so awesome."

All in all, the mechanical changes in these remakes speak to a possibly altogether smoother, far more hassle-free experience. Generation IV had such a pacing problem back in the day, one exacerbated by the incessant need to use HMs and progression roadblocks in the form of grinding. I remember having to always keep a Pokemon on hand that knew a lot of HM moves in order to avoid needing to constantly backtrack to reach a Pokemon Center and withdraw that Pokemon in order to progress. That change alone is going to alleviate a lot of unnecessary headaches. Based on my hands-off preview, it seems like B. Diamond/S. Pearl have been designed to address many of the biggest issues that players had for the original Diamond/Pearl. The remakes may look faithful to the originals, but I think they're going to feel much better to play.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl is scheduled to launch for Switch on November 19.

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Mickeyminime

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Is this like Pokemon Lets go or Pokemon heartgold.

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DarkCaptain3

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@Mickeyminime: Its a mix, it brings in shit from sword and shield yet its in the art style and method of heartgold. Its just a remake of diamond and pearl but with a mix of both old and new shit.

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R3GN4R

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SO many people crying about the exp share, lol. Oh no! All my pokemon are leveling up so now I don't have to spend 20 hours extra doing it 1 at a time. Waaahhh.

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DarkCaptain3

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Edited By DarkCaptain3

@r3gn4r: People didn't do it one at a time, the experience all thing was always a thing back then, the difference was its not always on. Thats the annoying thing. This basically gated off all the nuzlockers or people who played the game for harder shit. Which was like the majority of the players (fyi the japanese fanbase are in uproar about it so you are in the minority on the matter). Also people didn't like it when it was in Sword and Shield either, it was one of the biggest complaints about the game. Its why hardcore nuzlockes aren't generally done in the game at all. The problem then was the company just shrugged it off when the japanese fan base bitched about it and said it didn't matter cus they knew it would sell out internationally.

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R3GN4R

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@DarkCaptain3: Then pretend this game doesn't exist and keep playing the old stuff. Nobody is forcing you to play the new game and they certainly aren't going to cater to the less than 1% of the fans that do that dumbass nuzlocke crap.

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Smosh150

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@r3gn4r: "they certainly aren't going to cater to the less than 1% of the fans that do that dumbass nuzlocke crap."

You mean they can't make a simple option in settings or an item like in previous games that just turns it on and off? 1% or not it takes almost zero effort to make that a thing.

If you don't criticize new entries then how does a series get better? Should these people just not play future entries ever and not present what they want in the game?

Game Freak (Yes I know this game isn't being remade by them) is gradually declining in the quality of their games and communicating with their fanbase with mainline entries. Fans and potential customers have the right to complain or ask for more to be done, accepting it and moving on without saying anything is a rather poor take.

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DarkCaptain3

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@Smosh150: It's also not 1% who complain about this, considering the entirety of the japan fanbase were in an uproar about it originally in sword it seems more like its 70% of the fanbase who don't want it and its this guy whose in the minority who don't care.

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Smosh150

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@DarkCaptain3: I just didn't have a figure or facts on that part so I didn't want to say more.

But yea, even if it were just 1% that is still a fair amount of people. If we based that on the sales for SwSh alone (21 million copies sold) that would be 210,000 people. Of course there are some who buy both, but can't really nail down what number that is. I'd say that number is pretty damn significant especially given how simple it is to change that.

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Kintaro5000

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Them making the game easier honestly sounds like a huge turnoff. People have been criticizing the difficulty options for at least a couple generations, but you're going to turn around and make one of the easier games in the franchise even easier? What's the point? What satisfaction do you gain by having literally no challenge to anything, from beginning to end?

Legitimately just let another developer handle the Pokemon IP. If they don't want to listen to valid criticism to create a better game than there's no point in their continued interaction with the franchise.

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Smosh150

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Edited By Smosh150

The games really don't need to be easier. The game can cater to all players. Those wanting a more difficult experience without really needing to balance it and those looking for a more casual experience.

There just needs to be difficulty options available to the player. Toggle options such as level scaling (Not exactly equal, but let's say you can only level like 5 over your adversary [Maybe limited to Gyms and the like]), equal Pokémon per battle (If the opponent has two you can only use two for the whole battle), AI type awareness (AI switch out Pokémon that have a serious type mismatch), AI using useless status moves when they need to attack, timed turns (The player will have X seconds before they have to choose what they want for the turn), no flee option, etc.

When I really think about it if the games would be more difficult I'd imagine there would be more draw for those that have been turned off the last few games (SwSh was ridiculously easy. The only part that could provide a challenge is the Battle Tower without going the multiplayer route).

But it's Game Freak of course. I don't hold hope for anything in the future like that. Still can dream I guess

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DarkCaptain3

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@Smosh150: With the experience share they ruin the ability for self imposed challenges now like nuzlockes too. An this has been brought up to them numerous times and they just shrug it off when most of the fan base showed dislike for it originally.

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Smosh150

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@DarkCaptain3: Agreed.

I've yet to understand why that ability to turn it off and on has been removed like with some of the previous games. I never went the nuzlocke route before and I planned to do it for the first time with this with the exception of Pokemon being "killed" (The thought never sat right with me). But that dream is kinda dashed. If it is for the younger kids or casual players then keep it in, but let the ones who want the challenge not be forced to use it.

There is just so much potential for Pokemon to be better with very minimal work needing to be done to accommodate the playerbase and not turn off customers. It is mind boggling to me. I still love Pokemon, but it is just sad to see.

One can only hope there will be enough backlash for them to add that option for players, but it is a bit late to do it before launch. May wait a bit to see if they change their minds and give an update that allows so.

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sakaiXx

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Another pokemon rehash that somehow people act like its a new thing.

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matty_6666

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Edited By matty_6666

Thanks for this! I was actually considering getting this game if they didn't have Exp Share. Wish you said if it's forced like Sword and Shield or if you can turn it off. But anyway I'm going to pass on this one. They've dumbed down Pokémon so much now it's boring. Miss the old days when it was a challenging JRPG.

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SmashAdams

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Exp Share being default is a huge dealbreaker. By far one of the worst things they’ve began implementing. I’ve met very few(if any) people who enjoyed it in Sw/Sh. Odd to hear it spoken of so highly here.

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illegal_peanut

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@smashadams: What's skill share? (Note: I haven't gotten a new Pokemon mainline game since X)

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Smosh150

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@illegal_peanut: X actually had the ability, but it was a toggle. Exp Share is essentially every Pokemon in your party will gain experience even if they didn't participate in the battle. If off only the Pokemon who participated in the battle would gain experience.

Besides providing a bit more of a challenge it allows the player to have to diversify their Pokemon when battling instead of throwing in your high level Pokemon and level the low level Pokemon in your party fast.

I've tried this in past Pokemon games (Very apparent in SwSh) and pretty much cheesed my team building. My lvl 85 Vaporeon pretty much got all my other Pokemon (Was building an Eeveelution team) to 60 in less than an hour from battling wild Pokemon. It just makes the game extremely easy as catching, leveling, and evolving takes absolutely no effort at that point.

It just needs to be an option much like the introduction of bottle caps (Allowed maxing a single IV or if a gold one all IVs). In SwSh so those who want to do it by breeding and what not can and those who don't have the time but want to play competitive can also obtain it by using those bottle caps.

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DarkCaptain3

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I think you were ignoring that many pokemon fans enjoyed how tough the original game. Diamond and Pearl is talked about as one of the toughest pokemon games not in a bad way but fondly as the speedrunners love it for this. As for the exp share people hated that about Sword and Shield and it was one of the backlash things. Unsure if you were even aware of that with how you speak about it.

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uberDave

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@DarkCaptain3:

Exactly. There's a reason Cynthia is the most beloved Champion. Because she's an absolute beast with a well balanced team.

What's annoying is that they also went back to single use tms. So they made the game easier but also more annoying. It's like gamefreak is actively hostile to their fanbase.

I'll never understand why it is that pokemon as a franchise is considered to be off limits for even the mildest critique from people who only want the game to be better. You can criticize halo or last of us....objectively better games with more effort put into them. But websites will openly spin problems with pokemon and removal of features as positives

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