After viewing the introductory trailer for Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (coming to the Nintendo Switch this November) and giving some time to reflect, I have come up with a list of items I hope are included and addressed for the upcoming remakes of the beloved Diamond and Pearl (Nintendo DS, 2006 in Japan/2007 Worldwide). I do not expect them all to come to fruition, but the more that is included in the final product, the more enjoyable the experience will be for new and returning players alike. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Diamond and Pearl Related
- Fixing the Regional Pokedex: This is the most common critique of the original games and for good reason. The Sinnoh regional Pokédex is the only one to exclude Pokémon introduced in their generation. It included all Pokémon (in National Pokédex order) from Turtwig to Weavile, then skipped the rest barring the cover legendaries Dialga and Palkia, the Lake Guardian Trio, and Mythical Pokémon Manaphy. That shouldn’t be the case. Not to mention key types such as Fire and Electric were underrepresented. Ponyta was the only option for a Fire type if you don’t choose Chimchar as your starter. This problem was addressed in Platinum so I’m hoping for a Sinnoh Pokedex similar to that of Platinum for the remakes.
- Online Gameplay: Diamond and Pearl were the first games to feature Wi-Fi connection, enabling trading and battling around the world where many fans were previously restricted to a handful of friends or siblings that lived close to them. Therefore, my expectation is that the Wi-Fi experience is as smooth as possible. The Festival Plaza in Sun and Moon was difficult to navigate, whereas a hybrid of the Player Search System in X and Y and the Y-Comm in Sword and Shield (which needs some tweaking, such as the code system used for players to find each other) would be the best case scenario.
- Day and Night: I know it won’t just be aesthetic, as many Pokémon rely on this feature for evolutions. But go beyond that. I want that variety of encounters to come back. There should not be a Ghost type Pokémon appear in an outdoor wild location before 8 pm. Certain trainers should only challenge you at certain times of day. Along with other minor events such as those that made the Johto and original Sinnoh games fun to check out throughout the week, this could be a source of endless potential.
- Gym Leaders and Pokémon League: I want the Gym Leaders to feel like a slightly different challenge than they were in Diamond and Pearl while remaining faithful to the originals. Roark can still have his Cranidos, but even if Byron uses Bastiodon, let him have Shieldon too. Have Gardenia’s Turtwig evolve into Grotle. Just a few of many examples. As long as the changes aren’t a step backwards, such as changing Giovanni’s Rhydon in Red/Blue/Yellow to Rhyhorn in FireRed and LeafGreen. This also ties in with the Pokedex points made above.
- Event Pokémon: Several Legendary and Mythical Pokémon trace their origins to these games, many of which were accessible through special distributions. Darkrai, Shaymin, and Arceus also had in-game events occur prior to obtaining them. In the games since Diamond and Pearl, distributions had continued but the events have been removed. Obtaining these powerful and rare Pokémon should feel like a momentous occasion rather than being reduced to an NPC just giving it to you at the Pokémon Center. Additionally, I would love to see a Mythical Pokémon appear through normal means this time around albeit with a new plot point, similarly to Deoxys in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.
- VS Seeker and PokéRadar: These are two of the most important key items from the original games. The VS Seeker opened the door to rematch countless trainers across the Sinnoh region which would offer a great way to earn vital experience points and money regardless of what point of the game you’re at. The PokéRadar grants access to rare Pokémon, particularly rare to Sinnoh, and is a Shiny Hunting method. We haven’t seen the former since Platinum or the latter since X and Y but both should return to enhance the experience.
- HMs: A common experience for Diamond and Pearl players was using a Pokémon such as Bibarel to learn as many HM moves such as Strength and Waterfall as possible because it was a necessity to progress through the game. HMs have not appeared in any game starting since Sun and Moon which allows for players to use a full team of six of their favorite Pokémon without having to rotate one of them out constantly. If I had my way, that would remain the case. But the door isn’t officially closed on HMs so it remains a possibility.
- Mindy: A trainer named Mindy in Snowpoint City thought it would be “hilarious” to trade us a Haunter holding an Everstone for a Medicham, with said Everstone blocking its evolution to Gengar. Please fix that trade. Is that too much to ask?
- Battle Frontier: Pokémon fans love the Battle Frontier because it offers a comprehensive, competitive, and unique battling challenge that provides dozens of hours of action. It last appeared in Heartgold and Soulsilver, and it was teased in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. In an era where more fans are becoming critical (mostly justifiably so) of the direction the Pokemon franchise is taking, just the presence of the Battle Frontier as it appeared in Platinum would produce a lot of good will.
- Giratina and the Distortion World: Giratina, the third member of the Creation Trio with Dialga and Palkia, was relegated to a Post Game role in Diamond and Pearl. Giratina starred in Platinum where it felt most concretely accomplished Cyrus’s dream of creating a new world through its access to the Distortion World. It’s a visually stunning and logic defying area that provides a unique experience within the Pokémon games and I would love to see it return to some capacity.
- Battleground: The ability to rematch Gym Leaders is very important for me. The initial gym battles are fun, but I want to take on every major trainer post game when they aren’t holding anything back. It’s great to see even the earliest Gym Leaders reach their full potential and it provides a great way to train your Pokemon even when they are already at high levels.
Past Remakes Related
- Post-Game: I covered this indirectly with some other points, but most Pokémon fans believe that the Post-Game portion of recent games have been underwhelming. Sinnoh is tailor made to have a strong Post-Game because of the Battle Zone being a large area that isn’t accessible prior to the credits rolling. That alone won’t be enough to satisfy fans, but in conjunction with my other suggestions, there will be enough content to keep people playing after taking down Cynthia.
- Blend Old with New: Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl have been emphasized as “faithful” remakes. That tells me the nostalgia department will be fulfilled, but I hope that can be paired with taking some risks. I am not sure what those risks should entail because I want to be surprised. Even Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee threw a curveball by giving Green, the female protagonist of Kanto, a canon role. Something along those lines would be cool!
- Cameos: At times, the various games and regions of Pokémon have felt disconnected. However, almost every Pokémon game has connections to others whether they are explicit, discrete, or both. Whether they appear before or after the Pokémon League, as allies or as obstacles in a Battle Facility, I hope we get to see old rivals, gym leaders, or other characters appear on this adventure. This includes Jasmine, Johto Gym Leader of Olivine City, who made an appearance in the original Sinnoh games.
Recent Games Related
- Optional or Restructured Exp Share: My biggest philosophy when it comes to improving Pokémon games is that in order to please a big and varied audience, you should strive to provide as many options as possible. Pokémon as a concept is already a customizable experience by the sheer amount of characters you have access to. But by building on that customization through settings such as the rate of gaining experience points and therefore strengthening your Pokémon, it gives newer players a lifeline without making it too easy for the veterans.
- Access to Other Legendaries: While I hope non-Sinnoh Legendaries make an appearance, I would prefer them not to be shoehorned into some dimensional portal. I understand there are so many of them at this point, but it’s a copout. Tie them into the region or the story whenever possible.
- Access to Newer Pokemon: As of now it’s unclear how many Pokémon will be accessible at any point of the game, whether it’ll be restricted to the 493 that existed in Diamond and Pearl or if it’ll include any of the 405 introduced since. In order to connect with Sword and Shield, all will have to be programmed. That doesn’t mean they’ll be obtainable in these games. Ideally it would be great if they were, but at a minimum these games should seek to include every Pokémon excluded in the Galar games including DLC expansions.
- Dynamax/Connection to Galar: A parallel timeline? A multiverse? Whatever the case may be, I hope the connection between Sinnoh and Galar can be apparent. If they could make it work with Hoenn and Kalos, they can do it here. Should Mega Evolutions come back, Dynamax would be even more in limbo than it already is given it’s been described as a Galar-only phenomenon. A multiverse situation would be the easiest way to include Dynamax. This battle feature is controversial, but it would be naive to expect they would be left out entirely including mentions by NPCs.
Rapid Fire: General Suggestions
- Difficulty Modes Available at the Beginning: Somehow this has never been a thing in Pokemon and it really should be. Again, options!
- Make Tutorials and Cutscenes Optional: Also something that should’ve been addressed in previous games. This would make them more replayable.
- Allow Starter Pokemon and Legendaries to be Shiny Hunted: Shiny locking these Pokémon alienates the Shiny Hunting community.
- Walking Pokemon: Based on the trailer, I only expect it to happen in Amity Park in Hearthome City but allow it to be accessible to more (maybe all?) Pokémon.
- Move Tutors: I just want to see them be accessible early on (via a reasonable obtainment method) and with a good variety of moves.
Pokémon is one of the biggest video game franchises in the world. While it may seem like I’m asking for a lot, I am not asking for anything that’s out of their capabilities. In fact, a lot of what I asked for has been done before. One of Pokémon’s biggest issues right now aside from generally getting in their own way and a lack of transparency is that they think making each game unique means arbitrarily removing and adding features, especially features that didn’t need to be removed or added in the first place. This is also a pivotal time in this franchise’s history. Capitalize on the goodwill and nostalgia Pokémon fans are feeling as the milestone of a 25th anniversary is in the back of their minds. Do them justice by pulling out all the stops and creating a game we can all be proud of!
Let me know your thoughts down below, on Twitter @PokeWizardCali, and Instragram @ivanthewriter95! I hope you are as excited about Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl as I am!