Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl Review: An Ancient Treasure

Find out in our review whether we were right to retrieve Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl from Sinnoh’s dungeons

For those who are writing to you, talking about the franchise always means talking a little about oneself and this review from Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl is no exception. A personal note, moreover, goes well with those who have grown up with the brand. Furthermore, one occasion is as good as another to reveal a little secret. The year of birth and that of graduation, marked in the biography of the undersigned, do not coincide with a smooth training path. And it is precisely during one of these that the originals Diamante and Perla, lightening both the heart and the wallet of this humble reviewer, have come “at the right time”.

After a high-sounding en plein on the number 68 of Nintendo the Official Magazine, dated August 2007, for the originals, it is not a couple of remakes that have ever had an “easy life” like RossoFuoco and VerdeFoglia or Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Here the development team was faced with an even more demanding challenge: to recreate two authentic “sacred monsters” of the franchise. And what makes the company we are going to talk about even more remarkable is the fact that, this time, it is the one who takes care of it ILCA, the Pokémon HOME development team. A task that would lead anyone to swallow nervously, as Game Freak herself probably did in the days of HeartGold and SoulSilver.

When gold and silver also spoke the TG

The references to Johto were wasted in the originals, and even in the first (vague, as tradition has it) hints of plot of Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl we had the opportunity to appreciate, during the review phase, the “report” on the mythical red Gyarados. Already in the first hours of the game we can get to know the various (and colorful) supporting actors who fill the saga with color. To give two examples we have the rival Barry and the champion Camilla, both guests of honor of their respective top five dedicated to them. However, the good guys (almost) never contribute to the little plot in a game in the series.

This time around, the Poké-terrorist cell we’re facing is the Team Galaxy, led by the ever stoic (albeit somewhat clumsy by the Nendoroid proportions which we will discuss later) Cyrus in his attempt to rewrite the universe. To do this, the group of criminals will leverage the legendary cover of your game. In our case it is the time Pokémon Dialga, while for you it could be the space Pokémon Palkia. For the rest, the formula of the series remains unchanged: in the plot it remains a metaphor for emancipation in a journey of personal growth, and in the gameplay, as for GTA, a long tutorial for free play. What journey awaits our Dawn?

Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl Review: An Ancient Treasure

Unique Formula – Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl Review

There is not much to dwell on in terms of gameplay in this review: after all, Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl are the remakes of the last chapters of the saga that can be defined as strictly “traditional“. Whether in the fictional Hokkaido counterpart or not, the coach’s classic journey always involves the same steps. Obtain the first creature, the Pokédex, the medals, and prevent yet another plot of the local crime cell. What was new about the Sinnoh region in its time, then, compared to the three pairs of adventures that preceded it?

As for the basic structure, there was nothing new, and in its unwavering fidelity to the original material (double-edged sword) this dual remake does not intend to reinvent the wheel. As the English saying goes: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Therefore, the gradual opening of the map, in terms of explorable areas and gradually demolished barriers, also allows us to meet new creatures and, by perpetrating a revolutionary idea at the birth of the franchise, to make various monsters (in a constantly growing fauna ) the interchangeable members of our team.

Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl Review: An Ancient Treasure

Cloying Putty – Pokémon Review Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl

One of the activities that the promotional material sought to emphasize was the reinterpretation of the Hoenn region’s “Pokémon Contests”, which have now become “Super gare show“. Undoubtedly more of a Treccani smoothie than a real nomenclature, but what we are facing is not just an upgrade compared to the original (and quite random) minigame seen on the Game Boy Advance. Instead we have instead an authentic rhythm game, which transforms a beauty contest into something actually interactive and enjoyable, representing a pleasant distraction from the journey.

To accompany this mode we have a separate food, i Poffin. Their preparation, like every element associated with interfaces and so on, has been adapted to the traditional input scheme (the classic commands) and output (the single screen). Statistics associated with values ​​that are less useful for game progress, such as Acumen, Beauty and Grace, they can be increased in this way, relegating to the moves the role of special attacks to give some spice to the competition. The end result, surprisingly, isn’t even the best distraction. There is one that will test your ability to stay focused on adventure. Indeed, a very hard test!

Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl Review: An Ancient Treasure

The Boulder Dash of Us Youngsters – Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl Review

While in the original games, underground exploration was a nice addition but nothing more, i Great Underground they are mostly flour from the phenomenal sack of ILCA. The irony of seeing an authentic breath of fresh air in the subsoil compared to adventure is not the only reason behind the addiction that the tunnels are able to provide, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. In the original games, it was “down here” going down to tap walls and find evolutionary stones here and there, along with an almost total castration of the “Secret Base” concept that saved Hoenn in a corner (on GBA; not that it was needed on 3DS).

In remakes, on the other hand, we have all the improvements of the modern era at an ice ax reach. To begin, this is where we take the opportunity to say that 3D models for wild Pokémon in the overworld (revolution of Spada, Scudo and the two Let’s Go!) have disappeared from the surface world. Underground, however, we can find them in the caverns, where there are also creatures not found elsewhere. This goes to remedy some defects of the original, primarily the disastrous shortage of fire-type Pokémon. In addition, the statues found in the excavations can be placed in ours Secret base to influence the fauna of the caverns. Two improvements in one … or three, if we count that everything can be faced in multiplayer. Well, almost everything.

Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl Review: An Ancient Treasure

Together, yes, but over time – Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl Review

We have already seen it with “secondary” franchises (mandatory quotes) of the Big N such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It is certainly not lighthearted that we must note that Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl, the review of which strictly concerns their context from day one, officially marks the Kyoto giant’s entry into the policy of late feature implementation through updates. On the aforementioned front of the multiplayer, it must be said that the co-op of the underground represents the only possibility to play together at the writing of the article. Almost a week after the game’s release, the “future update” is still hiding.

We are not even talking about second-rate features, but about some of the very foundations of the socialization element that made the franchise’s fortune. True, the Contact Room (with a maximum limit of two players per day one) is available; for some reason, however, the historian Colosseo it is one of the expendable functions. As for the Global Trade Station of Jubilife City, the flagship of the online debut of the series, say goodbye. The structure has given way to the Global Prodigious Station, but we’ll come back to that in a discussion on the state of the franchise later. We have before the good stuff to say!

Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl Review: An Ancient Treasure

I can’t wait (and neither are the horrors) – Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl review

The main device of the game, the PokéKron, was born in the originals as an almost forced implementation of the touch screen of the then young Nintendo DS. In this colossal burst of irony, one wonders what happens to the function. Not only is the wristwatch alive and well, but the R button allows you to access it at any time, keeping its functions mostly intact (but not necessarily always comfortable, such as the search for tools). Keeping an eye on the time in a Pokémon game, however, can always help. Keeping the small hours is incredibly easy!

There are also new functions, one above all the use of MN. We have good and bad news about the devices to teach the moves. The bad news is that Spada and Scudo’s turnaround on single-use technical discs (with a brilliant dualism between multi-use, CD-shaped MTs, and single-use, vinyl-like DTs) has reached its peak. With all due respect to the most nostalgic, austerity has been extended to all existing technical machines. The good news is that HM moves, useful outside of the exploration battle, can now be ordered via the PokéKron to nearby wild creatures. No more obligations on our range of moves!

Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl Review: An Ancient Treasure

Modernity, sweet as a chocolate bar ILCA – Pokémon Shining Diamond and Shining Pearl Review

We can only praise the work of ILCA in polishing two of the most loved titles (although perhaps muted compared to the noise of the Unova lovers) of the whole series. After the bolt from the blue gods always accessible boxes of the two Let’s Go !, in Spada and Scudo we got used to this convenience and the development team has seen fit to allow us to keep it tight. This, however, without giving up the charm of the PC in the Pokémon Center (a relic, above, along with the return of the separate Pokémon Market). Clearly, this isn’t the only (and unexpected) breath of modernity over the two games. Attention to i details is wasted, from the sense of scale in the animations during the fight (finally) to the DS counterpart of the legendary GB Player of HeartGold and SoulSilver in the post-game.

Even the casino, after Cyclamepolis’ cold shower in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, has found a worthy replacement in dress shop, which while boasting fewer options (full uniforms rather than individual items of clothing) is still an excellent addition (shame you have to wait for Rupepoli). The Rosa Rugosa Park it’s another worthy replacement of the post-game Friends Park seen on DS. Similarly to the Ruby and Sapphire remakes (and similarly to the Dynamax adventures too), the structure allows you to capture most of the legendary Pokémon otherwise absent in the game. The return of the …