Star Rating:

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

As a reviewer, it can be difficult to negate a lens of nostalgia when critiquing a beloved game from your childhood - thankfully, when a game as good as 'Pokémon: Diamond' is remade with modern improvements and additions it’s easy to review the merits of the game and not on fond memories.

'Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond' is a faithful remake of the classic 2006 DS release which adopts elements of the newer 'Pokémon' games without changing the core gameplay or breaking Pokémon types.

In essence, the team exp. share is present, meaning that your entire team of six gains a share of experience from defeating enemy opponents or capturing wild Pokémon.

The feature has been commonplace in modern releases, and whatever your thoughts on the feature, it does prevent excess hours of grinding throughout the game.

Thankfully, 'Brilliant Diamond' hasn’t implemented the feature seen in 'Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu' and 'Eevee' where the titular characters could learn almost any move type and had the stats to steamroll through any “challenge” sent your way with a one-shot.

Even though you will still mainly rely on your chosen starter throughout your playthrough, there is still enough of a challenge presented by opponent trainers to switch out your pocket monster to gain a more strategic advantage.

Based on these additions, 'Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond' caters to many a fan new and old across age generations as the series has always done.

The biggest change to the new releases is that of the somewhat 3D graphics style applied to the titles we’ve seen in games since Gen 5 and subsequent games and releases.

The art style is quite faithful to the original releases in the overworld. However, in battle, the game shifts from the more “HD 16-bit styling”, to full-on HD modern sprites and 3D Graphics.  

The graphics remain faithful to the original game but with some modern twists

With that said, the graphics here are as always, adorably cute, and fits in with the classic 'Pokémon' styling without changing the mould.

One subtle detail that was appreciated is the enemy trainers in battles holding their positions as the original game's sprites were shown when starting a battle, which is a nice nostalgic nod to the old games.

Other changes to the game, such as the Grand Underground, are warmly welcomed. With the team exp. share, as mentioned, there won’t be many times you’ll need to grind throughout the game, however, if required, or if you’re seeking an extra challenge, the Grand Underground now features scaling levels for wild Pokémon to the player level.

Instead of battling with the usual cannon fodder throughout the main game world, players can go underground to not only find some rare Pokémon, and create a secret base, but also battle against similarly levelled Pokémon to your team for extra experience and an additional challenge. 

One change isn’t quite as welcomed.

The talent show competitions in the original games were beloved by the majority of the game's fanbase.

With 'Brilliant Diamond', this system has been changed to an odd rhythm-based “tap along” mini-game, that just doesn’t hold the same level of enjoyment as the original’s contest.

The uninspired and repetitive gameplay update may put some players off from entering the competition.

As always, the music and sound design are on point. There are few game soundtracks and audio soundscapes as recognisable as any 'Pokémon' game in any regard, and 'Brillant Diamond' upholds that standard.

Be it gleefully plodding through a town with your Pokémon following along, or getting down to brass tacks with a wild encounter stinger announcing your opponent, your ears will be serenaded by sweet nostalgia. Or for younger gamers, perhaps their first experience of hearing sounds they’ll be nostalgic for in the future (is there a word for Future Nostalgia? Sorry Dua Lipa)

Some animation details for buddy Pokémon in the overworld are a little disheartening though.

By now many will have seen the viral clip of an Ekans following its trainer, like a Roomba cleaning the ground behind the player.

For the series that is 'Pokémon', with such close attention to detail and love for the experience, seeing something like this skip by quality control is slightly annoying for a publisher at the level of Nintendo.

Apart from being a faithful remake of 'Diamond' that has modernised a classic game in the franchise for the Switch and a broad audience, 'Diamond' does quite create a yearning for a more mature 'Pokémon' game.

Be it fatigue of the same systems and processes we’ve seen from the original 20+-year-old formulae, or the maturation of this reviewer, a fully-fledged open-world RPG with more in-depth multi-faceted stats would be very much appreciated.

Thankfully, 'Pokémon' fans who share this vision have 'Pokémon Legends: Arceus' to look forward to releasing in early 2022.  

At the end of the day, 'Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond' is a faithful remake of a classic game that is accessible to a multi-generational audience and will continue to be a fantastic work in video game history.