“Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl” is lacking luster


Playing it safe, while reliable, can create the feeling of a series becoming stale. Yet according to the trailers and leaks, that is exactly what the upcoming remakes of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, “Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl,” releasing on Nov. 19, seem to be. Being remakes of the fourth generation of Pokémon games, released in 2006 for the Nintendo DS, the two games sold 17.67 million copies, and the updated third version, “Pokémon Platinum,” sold 7.06 million. Being immensely popular games, even within their own series, the remakes have a lot to live up to, yet worryingly, may fall short.

Straight away, the art style immediately shows the derivative nature of the Generation 4 Pokémon remakes. Cute and small, the art style seeks to replicate the original pixel art on Nintendo DS, but with 3D models, giving the appearance that the world is made up of toys and figures. This comes in stark contrast with other remakes in the series that usually take up the art style of the most recent game, such as “FireRed and LeafGreen,” remakes of “Pokémon Red and Blue,” replicating the style of “Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.” “Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl” go against this, taking on a more cutesy and toy-like appearance compared to the latest entry in the series, “Sword and Shield.”

Though, if the art style was the only issue, this critique wouldn’t be needed. These remakes have chosen to essentially carbon copy the originals with a fresh coat of paint, with a few quality of life improvements. While that may be sufficient for some, it’s incredibly underwhelming compared to previous Pokémon remakes, especially compared to remakes such as “Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver,” which took elements from the latest Pokémon games and integrated them into the gameplay. “Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl” takes just about nothing significant from previous generations, other than newer Pokémon, which is a given. No Mega Evolutions from “X and Y”. No Z-Moves from “Sun and Moon.” No Dynamax from “Sword and Shield.” It’s the basic Diamond and Pearl experience and nothing more.

Embarrassingly, even if they simply wanted to play it safe, the leaks have shown that the remakes are lacking many changes from the third, improved version of the fourth Generation Pokémon games, “Pokémon Platinum.” Omitting improvements from a previous, updated version of the game seems absurd, making for a worse experience as the original Diamond and Pearl were incredibly messy and rushed, lacking the polish that Platinum brought. Gym Leaders, the boss battles of the game, use their original teams from Diamond and Pearl, which were limited due to the unbalanced regional Pokedex, rather than their improved versions from Platinum. To not include fixes and content from Platinum is akin to buying a new tire for your car, but then removing the entire wheel upon reselling your vehicles.

Suffice to say, “Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl” are looking to be extremely underwhelming. While they improve with a few quality of life updates, they fail to live up to the expectations that previous Pokémon remakes have built up. Playing it safe has caused the remake to be developed in a way that feels artificial and bland, and the lack of features from the improved third version, Platinum, is truly the final nail in the coffin. While the games are still good at their core, “Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl’ truly are looking to be disappointing as remakes.