Among the growing list of Pokemon remakes, Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl are the most recent. These games remake the original Diamond/Pearl released in 2006, giving fans of a series a fresh experience. However, looking at the game, there tend to be more negatives than positives. This article will explain the five reasons why you should avoid Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl at all costs. But we won’t leave you hanging, as there are some much better games Pokemon we recommend at the end.
Overleveling in Pokemon is a mixed bag because, on the one hand, it shows dedication and allows you to beat opponents. On the other, it makes the game too easy. However, in past titles, this was always an option for players. If players wanted to, they could spend their time grinding for levels in the tall grass or battling Trainers. This would create a mixed bag of Pokemon, with some stronger than others.
The issue with Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl is that the game forces players to use Exp. Share after battles. This means that every Pokemon on your current team will receive experience points and can level at the same pace. Exp. Share over levels your entire team, making the end game and Gym Leader Battles too easy.
Previous games with Exp. Share made it optional for players to use either by having to equip an item or being able to turn off the feature. The fact that BD/SP forces everyone to use the system only makes the game age worse and less fun for veteran fans. While the feature was implemented to make the games more accessible for everyone, the issue could be fixed if they ever released a toggle button for the mechanic.
A Faithful Remake
Gamers have different standards and expectations when it comes to a remake. Should the game be faithful to its predecessor? Or should it innovate while still keeping the foundation and classic elements? No matter which option the developers choose, there will always be backlash to their decision.
Looking at Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl, the dev team chose to be faithful to the original games but only to some features. Exp. Share for the entire team was not present in Diamond/Pearl. They did have a held item one Pokemon could hold for experience, but that was it.
However, there were no changes to the post-game, making it as bare and lackluster as the originals. The story remained the same, along with the Pokemon, and they didn’t add any content from Pokemon Platinum. They did remove HMs, which was praised, but the inconsistency with what to keep and remove was jarring.
The games aren’t exactly faithful remakes, nor are they innovative and elevate the original games. They are stuck in a strange middle ground that comes across as indecisive. To some fans, the issues and problems they wanted to change remained the same, but the features they wanted to keep were removed. It also doesn’t help that at release, the game was plagued with bugs and glitches that made for a more frustrating experience.
One feature of the original games that Pokemon fans love is the pixel art and sprites. For many, it’s a nostalgic style that brings them back to their childhood, while others see it as retro and cool. Overall, it’s a style that’s universal and timeless.
The transition to BD/SP replaced the original art style with a Chibi style. Chibi art usually refers to a caricature that makes characters with large heads, small bodies, stubby limbs, and minimal detail. That’s to say the art isn’t for everyone and turns some players away before they even start.
What makes this worse is that the human models can look washed out and low quality compared to Pokemon. Each Pokemon looks like they had time and energy put into their updated designs. This becomes more apparent when a Pokemon and a human stand beside one another.
Graphics don’t make a game good or bad; they only enhance the experience. But when the gameplay is flawed, with controversial features, the Chibi art can ruin the entire experience for some players.
The standard for AAA games is $60-70 today. Regardless of the endless debate on whether it’s expensive, players must consider what they are getting. Diamond/Pearl was over a decade old when BD/SP was released, but the game is the same.
To some players, it’s worth $60 for a new version of the game. Perhaps they never played them before or want to experience some nostalgia again. However, the issue is not that the game is a full-priced AAA game. The problem is that, comparatively, the game isn’t worth it for new fans.
A couple of months after its release, Pokemon Legends: Arceus was released on the Nintendo Switch. Not only was it the newest installment in the franchise, but it was also the first truly open-world Pokemon game. The game ushered in a new age for Pokemon and changed the formula.
When comparing the two titles, released two months apart, having them cost the same amount is staggering. Instead of paying $60 for a decade-old game, players can spend the same amount on the latest and greatest title. The release of BD/SP felt strange, and to some fans, it almost seemed as if the game was lackluster on purpose, not to take away from the Legends: Arceus release.
The Source Material
Keeping a remake as faithful as possible won’t fix a broken gameplay system. At release, Diamond/Pearl had issues, and it wasn’t until the release of Platinum that fans felt the game was fixed. Platinum added more post-game content, better puzzles, removed the fat from the story, fixed the pacing, and improved the games to an enhanced version.
When looking back on Generation IV, players always talk about Platinum because it was the better experience. Hardly anyone will recommend playing Diamond/Pearl when Platinum exists. And this is the exact issue that BD/SP has. They didn’t enhance or improve the games like Platinum did. Instead, they kept the overall problems with the story and pacing but made them easier with Exp. Share.
Platinum was created for a reason, and not using it to remake the game was a mistake. Putting a fresh coat of paint and fancy graphics won’t fix what fans hated in the first place.
The best option for players who want a new Pokemon experience and haven’t played Diamond/Pearl would be to purchase Platinum. If you don’t have access to a Nintendo DS and are looking for a game on the Switch, consider playing Pokemon Sword/Shield or Scarlet/Violet. These games will offer a new experience that doesn’t rehash a past title while offering some interesting mechanics and new Pokemon.
While fans may be hopeful for the future of Pokemon remakes, it can be hard to please every player. Regardless of future releases, it’s clear that fans of the franchise want innovation and change. The series has been relatively the same for decades, giving players the same games now as when they were kids. It’s often the case that ambition leads to criticism, but when looked back on, it’s praised. Just look at Black/White.