Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

After fifteen years since the original release of “Pokémon Diamond and Pearl” on Nintendo DS in Japan in 2006, a pair of long-awaited remakes have finally seen release with “Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.” Joining remakes of previous generations, these titles do a good job of staying true to the original DS games while also presenting a fun experience for newcomers.

Taking place in the Sinnoh region, you and your childhood friend are assigned to complete the Pokédex under the guidance of Professor Rowan. Across this vast land, the player can take part in activities from gym battles to new “Super Contests,” while also clashing with the villainous Team Galactic. 

The original games saw Game Freak bring numerous changes to the franchise’s core gameplay that are still being used today. Here, they’re supervising new-to-the-project developers ILCA, Inc. (“Metal Gear Rising Revengeance,” “Yakuza Zero,” “Nier: Automata”) while working on January’s upcoming “Pokémon Legends: Arceus.” Though the ingredients given to the new developers are clearly recognizable, they’ve still managed to make an enjoyable experience for both newcomers and longtime fans. It’s the difference between preparing a meal with a new spice and dousing it in an overpowering sauce that makes it unrecognizable.

While there was some initial reservation towards the visual style of the new games, the graphics actually strike a nice balance between the simplified style of “Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee” and the flashier visuals of  “Pokémon Sword and Shield.” 

On top of other recent games’ changes to the PC storage and battle system, special “Hidden Moves” can now be accessed via an application on your “Pokétch” smart watch. A new special feature known as the “Grand Underground” lets you find rare items and Pokémon for your quest. Thanks to the Switch having internal memory and an expandable SD card slot, it no longer takes a large amount of time to save your game after using the PC Storage System. To quote a local in Twinleaf Town: “Technology just blows me away!”

Overall, “Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl” are worthwhile remakes of some of the best games in the series. With “Pokémon Legends: Arceus” also expanding on the Sinnoh region this January, they’re easy games to recommend whether you’re a big fan of the original “Pokémon Diamond and Pearl” on DS or experiencing the titles for the first time.

Publisher: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company

Developer: Game Freak/ILCA, Inc.

Platform: Nintendo Switch

ESRB Rating: E

My Rating: *****/5

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