Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Impressions and Hopes


Earlier today The Pokémon Company showed off a ton of new content including remakes of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. These remakes, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (BDSP) appear to be one for one remakes of the original games, just with the graphical upgrades you would expect given the move to the Nintendo Switch. 

For better or worse, the game overworld layout seems to follow the same grid format which leads the landscape to be rather blocky. We're also back to chibi human characters in the overworld instead of the full sized models we saw in Pokémon Sword and Shield. I am not stoked on that. I find the angular shapes of the environment and chibi proportions to be jarring. That said, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (ORAS) as well as the "Let's Go" games also suffered from the angularity of the environment since Kanto and Hoenn, like Sinnoh, were originally designed that way. I assume we'll see some angular tiled rocky borders and copy/paste tree models in Unova too as well as chibi humans. That tile/grid designed regions didn't go away until Kalos in generation 7. As these are remakes, I can let the angular shape and repeated overworld assets slide the same way I did in ORAS and other remake games like The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. The chibi thing... that may take longer to accept, but I will.

Where concern lies most to me is gameplay rather than art style. There had been some concern that all remakes would be "Let's Go" games with a similar capture mechanic, but the video clearly shows wild battles. At the 0:37 second mark a wild Shinx pops up and the player sends out their Piplup to counter. Thankfully, that worry can be laid to rest. I didn't hate the motion controls of "Let's Go," and I was perfectly happy using the Pokéball Plus. What I didn't like was I couldn't weaken the pokémon to make it easier to catch or defeat for experience. I, for one, don't want to have to catch a lot of the same pokémon, especially in a remake where I probably already have a ton of the same pokémon in storage.

Time to trade and battle like it's 2007.

At the 0:54 second mark the Union Room can be seen which, I assume, is for wireless communication and perhaps even online communication with players on your Nintendo Switch friend list. If that is the case, that is a big step up from the Y-Comm for easily trading and battling friends. It's sad that something from 2007 is a big step up from something introduced in 2019. The Union Room also allowed for players to Mix Records, meaning that occasionally the TV in people's homes would recount what other players did in their games as well as adding some other minor game effects.

Of course I'm excited for the area where you dig for fossils.

The 0:58 second mark shows the Underground has returned, which primarily utilized wireless communication and allowed for some co-op mini-games with friends, like "Capture the Flag." You could also visit other player's Secret Bases, as well as dig for items and fossils.

By the end of the video, it is pretty clear this is a faithful revival of Diamond and Pearl. However, so far everything that has been shown is essentially directly taken from the original games. Every remake has added new content so it is safe to assume BDSP will as well. There are a couple things I would like to see that would be new to the Sinnoh Region:
  1. GO Park: The Let's Go games were the first link between Pokémon GO and the main series. A Go Park would allow for Pokémon from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh (as well as their regional variants) to make their way to the main games from Pokémon GO without using the expensive transporter to Pokémon Home function in Pokémon GO. The Let's Go version of Go Park took the place of the Safari Zone, but I doubt that would be the case in BDSP. The Kanto Safari Zone's mechanics of feeding and chunking pokéballs to capture was translated to the entire Let's Go game. Since BDSP uses standard catch/battle mechanics the Great Marsh Safari Zone game is actually unique. If a Go Park does happen, it would likely be in a new area.

  2. Megas and Primals: Since BDSP are not made using the Sword and Shield engine, it's safe to assume that Dynamax and Gigantamax will not be present. This makes a lot of sense in the lore as well given both are a Galar exclusive phenomenon like Z-moves are for Alola. However, Mega Pokémon has been seen to not be region exclusive as games set in Kanto, Hoenn, Kalos, and Alola use the mechanic. Although they may be locked to late or post-game, there is really no reason Mega evolution couldn't return. In fact, new Mega pokémon could even be introduced. This would add an incentive for players to pick up these games. Further evidence for this... did you notice they didn't show Palkia and Dialga? This is likely due to them having some new form, maybe a Mega or Primal, that is being held back.

  3. Regional forms: In a way, Diamond and Pearl gave us our first regional evolutions, not Sword and Shield. Diamond and Pearl introduced evolutions for a ton of older generation pokémon that required the player to be in a particular area of Sinnoh. Later games added additional methods for getting these pokémon outside of Sinnoh, but still. New Sinnohan evolutions could be added for pokémon introduced from generation 5 through 8 and explained away easily. Those pokémon didn't evolve in to new forms previously because this is the first time post generation 4 pokémon have ever been in Sinnoh. There are also already a small number of pokémon, like Pikachu and Cubone, that only evolve into their regional variant evolutions when they are in a certain region. Who's to say a Klink when brought to Mt. Coronet will evolve into the Klang we're used to? No one knows because to this point it has never been done.

  4. Platinum Episode: As much as I enjoyed Pokémon Emerald and would have liked for it to have been fully integrated into ORAS, the Delta Episode was still pretty amazing. It also allowed us our first opportunity to catch a mythical pokémon in-game in a long time. Generation 4 games are chock full of legendaries and mythicals which means we'll likely get a Platinum episode as well. 
As with every other pokémon game, we'll likely get more information trickled out through the rest of this year. Hopefully at least some of my hopes will show up in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.


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