Hot Take: "Faithful" Remakes Aren't Good Remakes
The holiday shopping season has been in full swing for some time now and I'm sure some kids have asked for Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl (BDSP) for Christmas. Of course, I hope these players who never experienced Sinnoh before will enjoy these games. As a first play experience, they aren't terrible. That said, they aren't great, either. In fact, I haven't particularly enjoyed my experience with BDSP.
I know I haven't said anything about these games, or any games, for months on this blog. To be honest, there hasn't been much to say. The info cycle for BDSP was practically nonexistent. I'm sure this likely relates to these games being practically carbon copies of their original versions. What is there to say that hasn't been said? Nothing good, apparently.
Now, I wouldn't say I hate these games by any means. They are fine. However, "fine" isn't what I want from my "new" pokémon games. The problem, in my eyes, is the idea to make these "faithful" to the original Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl (DP). For one, those games are easily the inferior versions in comparison to Pokémon Platinum. Without any content in these games to differentiate them from their source material, they literally have nothing new to offer. At this point, the best way to explore Sinnoh is still Pokémon Platinum, which came out 13 years ago. Say what you want about Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, but at least they are a different experience than Ruby, Sapphire, or Emerald. This at least justifies their existence, unlike BDSP. This makes me feel like BDSP were just made to check a box. Even then, they didn't even do that well. For the first time ever I actually got bored playing a pokémon game. I haven't even finished my copy of Shining Pearl. If I can finish the story before Pokémon Legends: Arceus drops, I'll be doing good. That's also partially why I haven't said anything about the games until now. I typically wait to reserve judgement until I have at least completed the main story. Unfortunately, I don't even know that I will so better to say something now rather than never.
After all this, the game does have one redeeming factor. The Grand Underground is, for the most part, an improvement over the original. Secret Bases are kind of pointless now, but at least it is easier to play with friends and the addition of pokémon hideaways was a great idea. Is it an idea worth $60? In my opinion, only if you didn't play Gen 4 when they originally dropped or maybe no longer own DP or Platinum. Otherwise, BDSP is a very skippable entry into the franchise. You're better off asking Santa to reserve you a copy of Legends: Arceus for pickup next month.