Pokemon Diamond and Pearl are 2006 games and the 4th generation Pokemon titles. Developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS, these two games received a generally favorable reception and launched in North America in 2007. The games introduced Wi-Fi battles and Global Trade to the series. I remember when I received Pokemon Pearl for Christmas and I genuinely loved these games when I was a kid. BUT, I’m a little older now. A little wiser, smarter (not really), and a little more critical of games from my childhood. Is Pokemon Diamond and Pearl worth it in 2023? Eh, maybe not.
It is unfortunate that secondhand sellers tend to overprice physical copies of these games. This is not a problem unique to Pokemon. Honestly, this problem might not even affect a large amount of potential fans with the constant rise and evolution of emulation. However, if you’re like me and like to have physical copies of your games for whatever reason, expect to pay an insane amount for the Pokemon games. Pokemon Diamond and Pearl are available on Amazon for around $80, which is relatively cheaper than Pokemon Firered and Leafgreen which can sell for up to $200. I mean you COULD buy one of those generic 208 in 1 Game cartridges to get access to all of the Pokemon games on official hardware but I don’t know if I would personally. If you’re interested, you can simply emulate these games. Emulation works on most modern hardware.
Platinum Is Just Better
Pokemon Platinum probably has the most changes and additions than any other mid-generation upgrade. All of these changes are straight-up mind-boggling in terms of how they just made the game 1000 times better. Below is an extensive list of every change.
- Rotom now has five new forms in Pokémon Platinum: Cut, Frost, Heat, Spin, and Wash. These all feature an increase in stats and each has a unique attack learnable whenever you change its form, however, their move sets and abilities match the original Rotom. You can only have one of each form at any one time.
- Giratina has been given a separate form. This is called the Origin Form and is how any Giratina exists in the special Distortion World. While out of the Distortion World, Giratina is always in it’s original Altered form. However, with a new item, the Platinum Orb, Giratina can remain in this form for however long it is attached. Giratina’s attack stats and defense stats are switched in the change of form, and its ability is Levitate in Origin Form. Its moveset remains the same.
- Shaymin also has a new form in Pokémon Platinum. This form is obtained by using the Key Item the Gracidea Flower on Shaymin, the item is obtained by showing a character in Floaroma Town either a Shaymin from an event or the Shaymin obtained from your own game. This new Shaymin form, the Sky Forme, features changes in stats, moveset, type (adding the Flying type), and a change in ability to Serene Grace.
New Pokemon In The Sinnoh National Dex
- The Sinnoh Dex has a further 59 Pokémon, including all the non-legendary new Pokémon introduced in Diamond & Pearl. As such, trainers throughout Sinnoh and the wild Pokémon of Sinnoh have been changed to respect this. You will need to see all 210 in order to obtain the National Dex.
- Here are the new Pokemon in Pokemon Platinum:
- Porygon 2
- If you have the Regigigas obtained from a specific event, Route 228, Mt. Coronet & Iron Island now hold Regirock, Regice & Registeel respectively at Level 30.
- After obtaining the National Pokédex and talking to Professor Oak in Eterna City, Articuno, Zapdos & Moltres start to roam Sinnoh. They are at Level 60.
- If you inadvertently knock out a Legendary Pokémon, they have a chance of re-appearing later on in the game. In the case of Giratina, it will now appear in Turnback Cave next to the portal to the Distortion World.
- During the game, you are given a Togepi Egg and a Level 25 Porygon.
- The Pokémon back-sprites are now animated.
- The main addition in areas is the Distortion World. This new area is a barren area accessible only from Mt. Coronet and Turnback Cave. This area features the final battle with Cyrus as well as the encounter with Giratina. This area also features complete 3-dimensional travel and defies the laws of gravity.
- Battle Park has been removed and replaced with a Battle Frontier. Following on from the original in Hoenn, this Battle Frontier features five facilities for you to battle in. These include the old favorites; Battle Tower & Battle Factory. In addition to that, there are three new facilities for you to battle in.
- In the Survival Area, there is a new building that holds different people every day. These include the 8 gym leaders and the 5 double-team partners. They all feature higher-level Pokémon and can be battled every day.
- A new Villa has been added to the Resort Area. This Villa is owned by you and allows you to place various expensive items. When you add in items, various in-game characters will come and visit.
- A new WiFi area has been included. This area features you interacting with up to 20 random players. You cannot battle with them but can partake in a variety of activities including playing one of three specific mini-games: Swalot Plop, Wobbuffet Pop & Mime Jr. Top.
- There are a variety of new WiFi features which you can do with your friends. These include creating Poffin, playing the aforementioned Mini-Games, and battling through the Battle Frontier facilities with your friends in tag-battles.
- Another new feature includes a key item called the Vs. Recorder. This item allows you to record and save various battles, both online and in Battle Frontier. You can view replays whenever you wish. In conjunction with the GTS, you have the ability to upload your videos for other players to download and view. With this item and this system, you can trade pictures of your Pokémon’s contest appeals, and your boxes, and view global rankings of Pokémon battles.
- Two new characters have been added to the game’s storyline:
- Looker is an investigator who is hunting down Team Galactic in an effort to end their plans.
- Charon is a new admin in Team Galactic. You don’t battle him, but he is used in the storyline often as Team Galactic’s scientist. He is also utilized in the backstory for Rotom’s alternate forms.
Even More Miscellaneous Additions
- Three move tutors have been added. These tutors, dotted in Route 212, Snowpoint City and the Survival Area, can teach specific attacks any number of times in exchange for various Shards.
- The GTS now gives a feature that will send an email to you or to your Wii whenever a trade of yours is successful over the Global Trade System.
- Over local wireless, there is a new feature that allows you and the other nearby players to put Pokémon eggs in and you will be randomly given one of the eggs for a Pot Luck of Pokémon.
- In many Pokémon Centers across Sinnoh, there are various trainers who will appear in the centers every day. These trainers are available for rematches every day and increase their level as you progress through the game.
- Before entering the Fight Area, you will end up in a double battle against Volkner & Flint, marking the first time you can battle a Gym Leader & Elite Four member at the same time.
- Wi-Fi Events are now being utilized over the Mystery Gift feature. These give away special items allowing you to change Rotom’s forms or to obtain Pokémon such as Darkrai & Shaymin.
- Important trainers such as Gym Leaders, Tag Partners, and Galactic Admins now have animated sprites.
- Various Pokémon have changes in the moves they learn when they level up.
- The Regigigas found in Snowpoint Temple is now at Level 1, being the lowest-leveled Wild Pokémon in any Pokémon game.
- In Resort Area, you can find Magikarp from Levels 1 up to Level 100 making it the highest leveled Wild Pokémon in any Pokémon game
- You can now get Eevee given to you prior to obtaining the National Dex.
- Every area’s wild Pokémon are changed to meet the new Sinnoh Dex’s additions.
- Many trainer’s Pokémon rosters have been updated with the new Sinnoh Dex Pokémon.
- Dialga & Palkia are both obtainable at Level 70 after the completion of the Sinnoh Dex.
- Manaphy can be seen in a book in the Pokémon Mansion.
- Swarm Pokémon, PokéRadar-Specific Pokémon, Trophy Garden Pokémon & GBA-Insertion Pokémon have all been updated to exclude Pokémon now within the Sinnoh Pokédex.
- Every Pokémon now has foreign Pokédex entries if they have been traded over from a Pokémon game in any of the following languages; Japanese, English, French, German, Spanish, or Italian
- Many Pokémon owned by trainers have PokéBall Seals attached to them.
- Every area has received a graphical update. Some have only minor updates, such as tidying up for the buildings and the roads, but others have been Major. Specifically, the Battle Area has been given a more tropical climate. Routes 201-204 and Lake Verity, Twinleaf Town & Sandgem Town now include Snow patches. Stark Mountain also now has running lava.
- Amity Square has been updated to be separated into various areas and now allows the starter Pokémon and their evolutions within it.
- The lighting within Forests & Caves has been updated to be more realistic.
- Veilstone Department Store now has a basement that includes three new areas for purchasing things such as Lava Cookies & Poffin.
- Eterna City Gym, Hearthome City Gym & Veilstone City Gym have changed their layout. Eterna City’s gym now features a middle area that rotates to give access to another area if you have defeated a trainer. Hearthome City Gym features mazes with trainers looking through them. You need to find a symbol on the floor and go through the door that matches that symbol. Veilstone City Gym now features a puzzle that involves moving punching bags to access new areas.
- The Eterna & Veilstone Galactic Buildings have been enhanced with different layouts and setups.
- The functionality from the Vs. Recorder has been added to the Global Trade Station.
- The gym rosters have been updated to feature different Pokémon at different levels. Rather than focusing on the types of moves, the gyms return back to having Pokémon of that specific type.
- In the Underground, Skull Fossils are found if your Trainer ID is odd while Armor Fossils are found if your Trainer ID is even.
- The order you battle the gyms in has changed. Hearthome City Gym is now the third gym you will battle, pushing Veilstone & Pastoria back to 4th and 5th respectively.
- The Elite Four’s teams and levels have been updated to include new Pokémon in the Sinnoh Dex. They are also available for rematches at higher levels.
- The main storyline has been greatly enhanced, providing more backstory for Cyrus and revealing their plans to be even grander than in Diamond & Pearl. The storyline also continues after the defeat of Cyrus up into you reach Stark Mountain to find more details about the rest of the Galactic Admin’s plans.
More Miscellaneous Changes
- Dawn, Lucas & the Rival all have different looks to reflect the change in Sinnoh’s climate.
- Your Rival is now available for rematches in the Survival Area with his Pokémon increasing in level from around Level 60 up to and including Level 85. They are increased as the number of times you beat the Elite Four increases.
- The attack, Hypnosis now has an accuracy of 60%.
- Surfing has become significantly faster.
- The Graphical User Interface has changed to reflect the area that you are battling in. The layout of the interface has also included an enhancement graphically.
- You can now batch-buy Honey in Floaroma Meadow.
- The Pokétch has gained a visual update including a back button. One of the event applications has also become available in Pastoria City.
- You can now find HM04 and HM05 in Iron Island and Solaceon Ruins, respectively.
- The prices in the Floaroma Accessory Shop are considerably cheaper.
- The method of receiving the Macho Brace from the person in Pastoria City has changed from showing him all 3 Burmys to showing him a Male and a Female Combee.
Play Pokemon Platinum, it is the definitive way to experience the Sinnoh Region.
Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl Might Be A Better Option
I was not a fan of the Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl remakes, but they did sell, well so someone out there liked them. These remakes provide a layer of Modern polish to the original 2006 games and honestly, they are a bit more palatable. If you’re buying Pokemon games for a younger fan, it makes more sense to buy the remakes for Nintendo Switch. These remakes brought a few quality-of-life features but on the downside, they didn’t bring all of the great changes from Platinum. The games were advertised as accurate recreations of the original titles. So while Pokemon Platinum is definitely the better game, when it comes to casual gamers and children the remakes might be a more accessible option.
Other Games To Consider
I love Generation IV Pokemon games because I played originally during an important portion of my life. Today as an adult I find the older Pokemon games a lot harder to recommend unless you are dabbling with emulation. Below I curated a list of games I would probably recommend a lot more than Pokemon Diamond and Pearl based on certain criteria.
- Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! – The Let’s Go games are a remake of Pokemon Yellow and incorporate elements from the popular mobile game Pokemon Go. I personally enjoyed my time with Let’s Go Pikachu but it definitely isn’t for everyone.
- Pokemon Platinum – The best way to experience Sinnoh hands down. This game does every single thing that Pokemon Diamond and Pearl does but way better.
- Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver – These games are the pinnacle of retro Pokemon. They are the perfect balance between modern and retro.
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl aren’t bad games but there are better games in the series. With Pokemon Platinum being such a big upgrade from the Diamond and Pearl, there just isn’t a reason to play them. If you absolutely have to play them then I recommend you just emulate them but if you’re looking to experience the fourth of generation of Pokemon just play Platinum.
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