Nintendo
Advertisement

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are games in the Pokémon series and remakes of the 2006 Nintendo DS game Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. The games were released for the Nintendo Switch on November 19, 2021. The games were first announced in a Pokémon Presents presentation on February 26, 2021, along with Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Unlike most games in the mainline Pokémon series, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl is not be developed by Game Freak, who were developing Pokémon Legends: Arceus at the time. Instead, the game is developed by ILCA, Inc.

Gameplay

Gameplay of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl is similar to the original Diamond and Pearl games, comparable to previous remakes. The games are presented in a top-down isometric third-person perspective, though with a distinct chibi visual style. Battles resemble the modern games with the trainers taking on the poses of the sprites from the original titles. The Pokémon retain their stats, abilities and movesets as of the eighth generation games.

The largest change is the introduction of the Grand Underground. The Grand Underground is changed from the original Sinnoh Underground to have online multiplayer and add special rooms where the player can encounter Pokémon normally not found in the Sinnoh region. Once the player unlocks the national dex, they can find Pokémon from the original 4 regions. The statue mechanic has been added to hidden bases which increases the chances to find certain Pokémon in the rooms.

Instead of Pal Park, the location has been replaced with Ramanas Park. Instead of importing Pokémon from previous generations, the location is for special encounters with legendary Pokémon. Some Pokémon are exclusive to one version. Each encounter requires the player to trade in mysterious shards to get slates. Each slate gets used up after each encounter regardless of whether the player catches the Pokémon or not. All the Legendary Pokémon must be count in a set before the next set can be accessed.

Plot

The plot remains largely the same as the original Diamond and Pearl. There are some minor changes with some changed mechanics such as the Grand Underground and Ramanas Park, but everything else is basically identical.

Development

Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl were developed by ILCA; as such, they are the first main-series Pokémon games where Game Freak was not the lead developer. They were directed by Yuichi Ueda from ILCA and Junichi Masuda from Game Freak, the director of the original games.

Possible development on remakes of Diamond and Pearl had been leaked on 15 January 2021, when a "diamondpearl" subdomain of the Pokémon website was registered and published. Shortly after, the domain was taken offline. On 26 February 2021, the day of the Pokémon 25th Anniversary Pokémon Presents presentation, several leakers claimed that the upcoming livestream would announce remakes of Diamond and Pearl, titled Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, alongside an open world game also set in the Sinnoh region, later revealed to be Pokémon Legends: Arceus. During the Pokémon Presents, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl were announced for the Nintendo Switch with a tentative late 2021 release date.

On 26 May 2021, a release date of 19 November 2021 was announced along with a reveal of the games box art. During the reveal of the Nintendo Switch OLED model on 6 July 2021, footage displaying improved visuals for the games was shown.

Reception

Pre-release

After the announcement, fans were divided on the new chibi art style shown in the trailer.

Critical reception

Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl earned a 34 out of 40 total score from Japanese magazine Famitsu based on individual scores of 8, 9, 8, and 9. The games received "mixed or average" reviews from Western critics according to review aggregator Metacritic, earning a 73 out of a 100 average. Rebekah Valentine of IGN gave the games an 8 out of 10, stating: "Like the themes of its story, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are solid and enduring – leaning on the past, with all of its triumphs and tripwires." They would ultimately declare that "If a good remake is defined by its loyalty to the original, then Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are very good remakes indeed," but lamented that they "weren’t braver in how they improved upon the originals in the same way other Pokémon remakes were." Game Informer's John Carson likewise called the titles "faithful remakes" of the DS games, but that they "deviate from the mechanical blueprint, with varying degree of success." He would go on to praise the graphics engine which was "mostly free of framerate drops or the slowdown that plagues other 3D entries in the series," and declare the games "a welcome throwback to a simpler time when I felt completing a Pokédex was a somewhat realistic task to undertake."

While the games' stylized chibi art style was mostly praised by IGN with the exception of certain story sequences meant to be taken seriously, others such as Destructoid's Chris Carter felt that the visuals took some getting used to. He said that while the region can be a "joy to explore", developer ILCA tried to stick too closely to the originals while adding a few new features on top, leading to a disjointed experience. In addition, the inability to turn off the Experience Share feature can result in the player's Pokémon being over-leveled for the majority of the game, making battles with NPCs "a chore" rather than a legitimate challenge. Jordan Middler from Nintendo Life declared the change in art style to be "for the worse" and that the characters resembled "emotionless Funko Pops", but the correctly-proportioned character models in battles were considerably better. ILCA's decision to exclude story elements and features seen in Pokémon Platinum was also seen as a detriment, but the inclusion of the new Grand Underground area made up for the otherwise limited selection of Pokémon originally included in Diamond and Pearl. GameSpot's Steve Watts praised the chibi art style and quality-of-life improvements while criticizing the franchise's lack of evolution and difficulty spike the Elite Four represented.

In addition, while IGN International gave these games a high score of 8/10, Mr. Takuya Watanabe of IGN JAPAN gave them a low score of only 5/10. He criticized many points: The meaning of respect for the original is wrong; Graphics are really degenerate compared to Pokémon Sword and Shield; Most elements are unsophisticated; There were too many glitches during the first release; so they are not good enough compared to the same "remakes" released in the past. He concluded that only people who played the original versions 15 years ago and feel nostalgic should enjoy these games.

Sales

As of the end of 2021, the games reached 13.97 million units sold worldwide. This means that they were the 9th best selling Nintendo Switch game at the time. They knocked Splatoon 2 out of the top 10. The game reached 14.65 million units sold worldwide as of the end of March 2022. It surpassed Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! during the same quarter, thus claiming the spot of 8th best selling Nintendo Switch game.

Advertisement