Back in 2007, we journeyed around the Sinnoh region for the first time in Pokémon with Diamond Pearl. Here we are 14 years later, heading back to Sinnoh in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, with Nintendo remaking the iconic adventures for the Switch. Having now spent a few hours with Brilliant Diamond, I’d like to think I have a pretty good grip on things. So is the hype justified? Let’s dive in with HM08 and find out.

Well, let’s start with the basics. If you’ve ever played this series before then you pretty much know what you’re in for. You receive a brand new Pokémon from your local Wizard before going on adventure around the country beating various Gym Leaders, all the while almost single-handedly taking down an entire criminal organisation who are bent on destroying the world. You know, just the usual teenage antics these days.

Naturally, it’s much the same here in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.

From the get go, I have to say how great it is to return to top-down Pokémon after the previous few games. Having grown up in the era of Red/Blue and Gold/Silver, the newer 3D games have never really floated my Magikarp, but these visuals really have my nostalgia engines firing off. Much like Link’s Awakening, the Chibi-style graphics used here are gorgeous, particularly when you load your Switch up on the big screen.

Another plus is the addition of the Grand Underground, an upgrade on the Underground from the original game. I’ve spent some time underground and I’ve had a (Poké) ball digging fossils and precious gems out of the wall (no, obviously not in real life), as well as catching Pokémon you can’t always catch on the surface. Having not played the series for a while, I’m also loving HM’s being usable without having to teach them, while the EXP share is always on for all Pokémon, meaning you don’t have to grind to level them all up. I mean seriously, who actually has the time for that these days?

Despite all the good stuff, unfortunately this is probably the weakest of the Pokémon remakes so far. HeartGold SoulSilver were phenomenal because of the number of the improvements they made as well as the sheer amount of content offered. BD & SP unfortunately feel too much like a 1:1 remake, which in a way is fine because they were great games originally, but Platinum truly took it to the next level, and almost none of its upgrades made it in. Also, where are all the new Sinnoh Pokémon at? In my first few hours with the game, I’m mostly encountering Pokémon from the very original games. Can we just vary it up a bit ploise Nintendo?

Look, in any case, I’ve still had an absolute ball reliving my childhood in the first few hours and can’t wait to continue my journey through the Sinnoh region and well and truly become the best bloody trainer the world has ever seen.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are both available now for Nintendo Switch.

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