Pokémon Shining Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl, a review of two shy remakes for Nintendo Switch



The review of Pokémon Shining Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl talks about two works done carefully, but from which more was expected

The remakes have always been part of the DNA of Pokémon and video games in general, as evidenced by dozens of operations (successful or not) in recent years. When they are done properly, these repropositions for many are a real godsend, able to make current again the most beloved games of youth. Because, let’s face it, if for movies or TV series this is often only a commercial operation, as well as risky (the actors are never as good as the originals, the plot has been changed and so on), video games have had such a sudden evolution over the years that often an adaptation is necessary to have an experience in step with the times both from the technical point of view and from that of game mechanics.

Just think of the Pokémon series, one of those that is always accused of immobility: in spite of this, over the years cooperative online features, game interface improvements, new mechanics and -of course- hundreds of new pocket monsters have been introduced.

The previous remakes of the Game Freak series (there are many: starting with Red Fire and Green Leaf in 2004, up to the recent Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!) had done just that and, also for that reason, were very popular with the public. In other words, not only had they brought classics of the past to the then new generation platforms, but in doing so they had introduced all those achievements made over time, from the wireless adapter to the connection with Pokémon Go and motion sensors.

All things that, as we’ll see in the review of Pokémon Shining Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl, were lost in this latest remake for Nintendo Switch.

Between past and future

Some of the scenes in Pokémon Shining Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl are still impressive.

Let’s start with a very simple concept: Pokémon Diamond Shining and Pearl Shining are two beautiful games. Diamond and Pearl and the region of Sinnoh are among the most beloved chapters, so it’s not surprising that such a faithful recreation of those masterpieces is still an enjoyable experience. The level design of the game map, with its many shortcuts and secrets, is one of the most articulated of the series and the classic progression from zero to hero always works. The combat system is the classic type-based and there are almost 500 Pokémon to capture.

So what’s wrong? First of all that the games taken into account, in a manner faithful to the titles, are Diamond and Pearl and not Platinum, the “evolved” version of these two chapters. So no Park Fight and no parts of the plot related to Giratina, able to give greater depth to the plot and robustness to the endgame. The second disappointment comes from the lack of strong connections with Pokémon Legends: Arceus, the “real” new chapter developed directly by Game Freak, coming in early 2022. Set in a Sinnoh of the past, Pokémon Legends: Arceus will tell of the legends told in Pokémon Shining Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl. That’s why it would have been nice to have a strong connection between the two (three) games coming so soon after each other, in order to best introduce what seems like the evolution of Pokémon.

What’s new

In the Great Underground of Pokémon Shining Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl, you can find pokémon not available elsewhere.

Without the pedigree and strength to get their hands on the original game, ILCA worked in parallel on the remake and new features. That’s because Pokémon Shining Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl aren’t stingy with new features, they just don’t seem seamlessly blended with the rest of the experience.

The things that we liked the most are those that improve the “quality of life”, such as the notice on the effectiveness of the moves once we have entered a Pokémon in the Pokedex, the share experience among all Pokémon in the party (mandatory, something that not everyone likes) or the ability to recall certain skills without the need to constantly have a Pokèmon muletto (who said Bidoof?) always in the group. Definitely more weight is the expansion of the Great Underground. This is an area always reachable if you are outside, to be addressed both solo and with other players, even online, which has become the real endgame activity (but not only) of the game. Inside these underground labyrinths you can meet Pokémon that normally would not be available on the surface, such as a greater variety of fire Pokémon, exchange the stones found with powerful moves and customizations and build your own shelter, to be enriched with statues and treasures of various kinds. All in the company of your friends or perfect strangers who can help make the dungeon richer by completing tasks and collecting special gems left by kind Diglett.

The balance in single player is not the best, but we point out that among the treasures that can be found there are also artifacts that allow you to summon the Legendaries of previous generations, to be used within the Rosa Rugosa Park. These activities are complemented by Pokémon Races, the mini-game for the preparation of Poffins and endgame structures already available in Diamond and Pearl, such as the Fighting Tower and Mount Hostile.

One of the main characters from Pokémon Shining Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl: Bidoof

Novelties very pleasant, able above all to extend the longevity of games already in the origin rather long, but that, as mentioned, seem put there in a manner a bit ‘forced and little amalgamated with the rest. Going in the Great Underground, for example, allows you to accumulate a lot of experience and capture Pokémon stronger than they should be. The experience sharing facilitates the growth of the team. Having the Moves available at all times facilitates exploration and doesn’t force you to sacrifice slots in your team in order to take advantage of shortcuts. In this way the progression in the game becomes much faster and in some ways less complex, allowing you to reach the end credits faster. This is net of some fights, such as those with the Master, redesigned and made even more challenging.

In Pokémon Shining Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl seem, therefore, to coexist two souls: one strictly linked to the past and a more modern, but that tends to break some balances of the main game.

Technically speaking

A snowy area of Pokémon Shining Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl

Another topic that has caused discussion among players of Pokémon Shining Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl is the graphics. If technically we settle on a resolution of 1080p in docked and 720p in portable mode, fixed at 30 FPS, many have not appreciated the chibi style with which it was proposed in 3D graphics of the original Nintendo DS games. This is, perhaps, the only way in which ILCA has been able to keep the secrets of level design unchanged, made of games of perspectives and small mazes. What surprises a bit ‘is the choice to make the characters chibi in the game world and then “realistic” in portraits, but other than that it is the usual clean and colorful graphics, enhanced by some effects, such as light, reflections and water, really remarkable. Excellent as always the soundtrack and the adaptation in Italian.

Obviously we expected a little shot even from this point of view, with the addition of some animation or special effect in more, perhaps a redesign of the interface or models of Pokémon in order to show the effects of status inflicted or the ability to skip some dialog boxes that slow down the navigation between the game menus.

Comment

Pokémon Shining Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl is a well-made remake, but it is a bit too respectful of the original games, reproposed in an almost slavish way. In this way, the new features introduced seem almost a foreign body and one wonders, therefore, why it was not taken into account Platinum, the enriched and improved version of these two classics for Nintendo DS. New players, net of some features that they will not find and others that simplify the main story, will enjoy this trip to Sinnoh, while veterans will focus on the Great Underground regretting the opportunity a bit ‘wasted to restore luster to one of the most interesting regions of the series, also in view of Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

PRO

  • Diamond and Pearl are still valid games
  • Graphically pleasing
  • Dozens of hours of gameplay
  • Not very brave remake
  • Novelties are poorly blended
  • Where is Platinum?
  • Have you noticed any errors?
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.