Shiny Diamond / Shimmering Pearl Pokémon Review
It’s been a whopping 15 years since all Pokémon lovers discovered the Sinnoh region through Diamond and Pearl, one of the most beloved and complicated generations of all that have existed so far. With the legend hidden behind it, there were not a few who were eagerly awaiting its reissue, using the remake formula that Game Freak had us used to since the arrival of Pokémon FireRed / LeafGreen. Thus, last February Pokémon Shiny Diamond and Shimmering Pearl were officially announced, although they came with surprise: the Japanese study was not in charge of it, but ceded development to ILCA, generating some uncertainty.
During the last days we have had the opportunity to take command of Pokémon Shining Diamond to see how the experiment has gone in one of the least revolutionary remakes of the Pokémon saga to date and, while the essence of Sinnoh remains intact, the sensations are rather bittersweet, as sensed from the first glance. There are interesting news, there is no doubt about that and the return to Sinnoh is always a marvel, but the work done is insufficient compared to other remakes and its execution, in many cases, is not entirely satisfactory. Here we explain why through our analysis.
The legendary journey through the lands of Sinnoh
Shiny Diamond / Shimmering Pearl Pokémon promises the same as in 2006 irremovably. You are a young man with the purpose of becoming the best Pokémon trainer that ever lived, so you embark on your own adventure challenging the gym leaders and dealing with all the complications that arise along the way, with the galaxy team as main enemies. The adventure through Sinnoh is identical to the one you experienced in its day with slight changes, so if you are a fourth generation lover, you will be delighted to relive the events with a revamped graphic style, one of the great virtues of these remakes.
A different graphic style that creates contradictory sensations
The first thing that strikes you about Pokémon Shiny Diamond / Shiny Pearl is its graphic style, something common in remakes, so it is obviously the first aspect to be dealt with. Once the impact of the chibi aesthetic is overcome, moving away from what was seen in Sword / Shield, the title is quite attractive. In fact, At the level of textures it is quite careful and looks great, especially if you have a Nintendo Switch OLED, where the difference with the television mode is more than remarkable. That explosion of colors and very lucid environments suits him great with the aesthetics that ILCA has decided to implement, so the work in this aspect is practically flawless.
What’s more, its performance is also particularly satisfactory, so in portable mode it runs without any problems, so the experience is not compromised. In television mode it is appreciated that there is a small drop in the rate of frames per second, although without being uncomfortable, so the performance at a technical level is one of the best news of these remakes. The only aspect that can be criticized in this regard is that there are animations somewhat sloppy and that do not fit with the normal sense of things as, for example, that there is a shot of a few seconds on the protagonist when an encounter with a wild Pokémon occurs, something that is really strange and that I do not understand exactly what it responds to. Secondly, the movement of the characters is too robotic and they seem to have a definite ninety degree path in their turnsTherefore, it is totally unnatural and reflects a clear lack of experience in this type of practice on the part of the ILCA. But, in short, on a graphic and technical level the feelings are positive.
In the other field, the musical, you have to take off your hat. The adaptation of the songs is an absolute joy and the most epic pieces of music have been added. In addition, it has also been decided to include new cries for Pokémon when they weaken different from those of their appearance, which expresses a most interesting pampering in this field. One of the most satisfying aspects of the title, hands down.
Sinnoh’s underground, one of the most interesting renovations
One of the most curious novelties that occurred with the launch of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl was the possibility of get into Sinnoh’s subsoil, to be able to extract fossils by chopping on the stone and executing a minigame for it or create your own secret base to decorate it at will. In Brilliant Diamond / Shimmering Pearl this is also present, although some very interesting changes have been made. The basement has different rooms where wild Pokémon appear, adding a good handful of them and a greater variety of the one in the super-efficient. In fact, I want to dwell on this aspect for a few lines, since the remakes have brought back one of the great problems of the original games and that was solved with its third installment: Pokémon Platinum.
And it is exasperating that in each of the routes visited Bidoof, Starly and other common Pokémon appear that should only be present in the first two routes. The variety of Pokémon in the new areas is negligible and if that problem had already been solved in Platinum, it is incomprehensible that it has not been decided to include that more acceptable pattern, instead of tracing the Diamond / Pearl with its horrible consequences and the expensive process to complete the Pokédex. In truth, I have dreamed of Bidoof on countless occasions, so the meme that has been generated regarding the friendly Pokémon is going to gain more force than ever. I consider a fatal mistake no thought has been given to modifying this formula.
Going back to the Sinnoh underground ground, now secret bases allow you to place various statues that you can get by extracting materials from the subfloor walls. If you get a box, inside it there will be a statue, which will depend on the type in question: water, fire, plant, sinister, fairy, etc … Depending on where you place the statues in your secret base, their orientation and the base you use to place them, the effect will be different and some types of Pokémon will be enhanced or the rooms will be modified, with which you will have the opportunity to meet other types of species and thus alleviate that problem of the surface in the subsoil. Without a doubt, it is the ideal place to complete the Pokédex.
And if it was not enough, It is also very useful for obtaining Shiny Pokémon. If you manage to get the amount of powder that Diglett and Dugtrio drop that you can find along the way, it will activate a unique effect. By chopping on the walls you will be able to get variocolor statues, with which following the aforementioned rules, the appearance of shiny Pokémon of the type corresponding to the statue will be enhanced. In this way, I am convinced that many players will spend most of their adventure underground in Sinnoh, because it must be recognized that the formula is tremendously fun and addictive.
Novelties that effectively complete the formula
What ILCA has tried is to offer small additives that complete the formula of the original games. For this, there are two aspects that stand out notably and that the embargo allows us to mention. One of them is the inclusion of different aspects for the characters, which can be changed clothes to give them a more wintery, spring-like aesthetic or other more daring aspects than the base model of the male and female characters. It is a most cute addition that allows minimal customization of the character, something that was not in the original proposal and that fans who have been able to change their look in Pokémon Sword and Shield will like, although it is not as deep as in the eighth generation.
On the other hand, it has been decided to fulfill one of the biggest requests of the community in recent years and that has already been satisfied in the DLC of the eighth generation: the option for the Pokémon to follow you. The method for this I am not going to explain to you, so that you can solve it yourself, something that you will like to do. However, there is a good part and a bad part to this process. Having the Pokémon follow you is great and, since it was introduced in the second generation remakes, it has been one of the most loved additions by the community. I have to say that the follow-up animations are very well run, as long as you don’t stop and want to retrace your steps. Here again a clear deficit is sensed by the study, since the Pokémon does not follow the same pattern of the trainer and is an obstacle that prevents you from turning and moving whenever it is in front. In fact, ILCA demonstrates a serious problem with physics in general.
Because this problem of the Pokémon that follows the trainer is also seen in narrow terrain where there are many trees around and only a small corridor to cross, or if there are many rocks in the middle of a cave and there is only a minimal access road . The movement is not natural and several attempts must be made for the character to identify this as an access route and not as an obstacle, which greatly hinders the performance of the game in many moments with a latent frustration that spreads throughout the entire adventure.
Another aspect that has been added and improved compared to the original games is the use of the Poké Clock. This time it is located in the upper right part of the screen to offer all its functions, thus mitigating the effect of the double screen of Nintendo DS. Its use is really intuitive and includes MOs as automatic movements, so it is no longer necessary for a Pokémon to learn the move in question to execute it. It is simply selected on the Poké Clock and a wild Pokémon performs it. In this sense, it should also be noted that the use of sports shoes is automatic, so the character is always running, while leveling up is much easier because the experience dealer is always present and cannot be deactivated. In addition, at one point in the adventure they also allow you access the Pokémon boxes from the main menu, which makes things much easier in relation to making modifications to the equipment.
A remake that does not crown, but reaches enough
Pokémon Shiny Diamond / Shimmering Pearl is not the remake I expected, although little by little I have become aware of it since it was officially presented. In the comparison with the remakes of the three previous generations it comes out really badly, because while Game Freak tried to innovate with each of them, offering new mechanics and adapting them to the generation of those moments, here it has been decided to transfer the same dynamics of a game that is already 15 years old with small ornaments that complete the formula. In our memory there will always remain what could have been this proposal with a style like that of Pokémon Sword and Shield, but the reality has been very different, with the hope that that feeling will be brought to us by Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
The conclusion is that we are facing an acceptable remake, no more, which complies with the essentials, but forgets to surprise the player who has been waiting for this new visit to Sinnoh for years. He does certain things well, but also others badly, so his coronation cannot take place in the same way as his predecessors. If you go for Brilliant Diamond / Shimmering Pearl you will find a fun, accessible and even challenging video game, but nothing very different that you didn’t live with a Nintendo DS.
▪ Release date: 11/19/2021