Pokemon Brilliant Diamond Review: Fun but Little Incentive For Returning Fans

As many of you have seen up to this point I am a huge fan of the Pokemon franchise so of course, I was going to get a copy of the gen 4 remakes. Since I had Diamond for the DS I decided to go with Brilliant Diamond for the Switch, plus I like the exclusive Pokemon more in this version. Now the gen 4 games were games I did really enjoy playing but they were admittingly not my favorites so I was really hoping that the remakes would fix a lot of my concerns and provide something new on the side. I got a little bit of what I wanted but not much.

Overall the game is a lot of fun because the original versions of the game were fun. I’ve greatly enjoyed the gameplay of all the Pokemon games so this is no different; however, the issue comes in how this game plays in comparison to the original. It’s almost an exact duplicate down to some of the game’s own flaws. For example, fire-type pokemon are still extremely limited despite being one of the more popular types of Pokemon and you still had to go through the process of leaving honey on trees to spawn rare pokemon which could take literal days to do. Additionally, many of the amazing gen 4 pokemon such as the evolutions of Rhydon and Electibuzz were still locked to post-game content even though you could now catch the first evolutions of these Pokemon in the grand underground you couldn’t fully evolve them. These are Pokemon that would be fun to use in the final battle with the champion but we just can’t because the items needed for their trade evolution can only be found in the post-game. Now the upgrades to the underground do resolve this a little bit, by presenting more Pokemon that can be caught circumventing the concerns like the limited fire types and how Munchlax was hard to catch but these improvements are not enough to prevent these flaws from having an impact.

Now as for the story of the game. Pokemon is not really a franchise you play for the story so it wasn’t shocking that the story was nearly exactly the same as the original; however, all of the previous remakes added something so that returning fans had something different to experience. The gen 1 remakes had new locations, gen 2 had the Pokeathelon and the Pokewalker, gen 3 was practically redesigned and had new post-game content, but gen 4 had mainly just quality of life improvements. Granted those improvements were handy such as no need for Pokemon with a bunch of HMs in your party, but when Pokemon Platinum, the third game in the trilogy of the gen 4 games, adds a lot more content to the gen 4 story than the remake I see this as a bit of a glaring concern.

I did greatly enjoy the gym battles and the battles with Cynthia and the elite four. They were all comfortably challenging without being crazy difficult. It was actually a nice balanced experience that I really loved. Additionally, the graphic style was amazing. All of the characters have a chibi appearance to them and the designs of all the maps were beautiful. As far as Pokemon games go I believe visually this one was my favorite. As for the grand underground, which in the original game was a vast underground network where you can dig for items and make a base, this mechanic saw some much-needed improvements. First of all the items for your bases were a lot more interesting with the various Pokemon statues and the ability to catch rare Pokemon was a real added bonus.

So overall the graphics were amazing and the improvements to the underground section were much needed. Plus the battles with the most iconic trainers in the game were tons of fun. However, a lot of the flaws from the original version carried over to the remake with some, but not enough, improvement. The game also offers a fun experience but it really doesn’t offer anything new to returning fans that we’ve come to look forward to from previous Pokemon remakes. So while this game is a must-buy for Pokemon fans that have never played the gen 4 games the fact is this game doesn’t have much to offer returning fans unless they just loved the original games and want to play them again because you’re really not getting anything else on top of it.

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