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Pokemon Diamond and Pearl game review

Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl begin much like any Pokemon game — you’re a kid who dreams of training Pokemon, and you run into a kindly professor who makes that dream come true. In this case the professor is named Rowan, not Oak or Elm, the professors from past Pokemon games.

THE LOWDOWN

Graphics: 7.0

Sound: 6.0

Gameplay: 9.0

Value: 9.0

Overall Score: 8.0 out of 10.0

Pros: The best thing about Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl is that they look and feel like a good old Pokemon game. The controls are the same, the goals are the same and the play is similar.

Cons: The new monsters are not especially cool, and some changes to the game aren’t that fun.

There are other story changes as well.

In the past, games began with the professor inviting you to his lab and giving you a Pokemon. As Diamond and Pearl open, you and a friend are exploring by a lake. You find a briefcase in tall grass and are attacked by two bird Pokemon called Starlys. Fortunately for you, that briefcase belonged to Professor Rowan, and you find three Pokeballs inside.

Your string of good fortune continues because after you defeat the wild Starlys, Professor Rowan informs you that the Pokemon you used on the Starlys has bonded with you.

Thus begins two Pokemon journeys: yours and your friend’s. (I’m not sure what your friend’s name will be. The game offers the names Barry and Tyson, among others. I named my friend Doofus, and he lived up to his name.)

VIDEO: The graphics in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl are updated and there are scenes that include some 3D.

You walk from town to town in a land called Sinnoh finding, capturing and training little monsters that you then enter in fights with other Pokemon. Sinnoh is vast and has some really fun puzzles, and some of the gyms make great use of the DS’s ability to render 3D.

As in other Pokemon games, winning fights earns you money, and it earns your Pokemon experience points that make them stronger and sometimes evolves them into more advanced versions of themselves.

One thing Pokemon games have always done right and continue to do right is to offer a certain rock-paper-scissors approach to combat. In many of the past games, you chose between a Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur for your first beast. If you took Charmander, a dragon, you could cook Bulbasaur, the plant Pokemon, in fights—but Squirtle, the water Pokemon, had your number. Squirtle, however, was vulnerable to Bulbasaur’s plant attacks. It all evened out.

VIDEO: Diamond and Pearl have the same turn-based fighting system, but many moves come with vastly improved animations.

Diamond and Pearl have that same rock-paper-scissors balance. The first three Pokemon are fire, water and plant creatures: Chimchar, Piplup and Turtwig.

One thing that stands out about Diamond and Pearl on Nintendo DS is how similar they are to the old Game Boy games. They still have the same turn-based fighting system, the same basic exploration and dialog controls. The game has changed only on the surface.

You can control some parts of Diamond and Pearl using the touch pad controls on the bottom screen, but I found it wasn’t worth the trouble. I played the game using standard Game Boy controls.

Instead of using the select and start buttons to bring out registered items, look for inventory and access your Pokedex, you now have X and Y buttons.

In past Pokemon games, you turned berries into blocks to feed them to your Pokemon. You did this by playing a mini-game in which you pressed a button as a centrifuge spun your berries around.

In Diamond and Pearl, the berry blender is replaced with a pot in which you stir your berries using your stylus as you cook them into Poffins. It’s a cute game that’s not bad, but it’s not especially fun, either.

Overall, if you liked past Pokemon adventures, you should like Diamond and Pearl. They preserve the old games well.

VIDEO: The new Pokemon interface makes some use of the DS’s lower screen, offering it as a clock, a pedometer, a calculator and more. Since the game features a built-in clock, the world now changes from day to night in real time.

Change Can Be Good: Diamond and Pearl introduce some cool changes. One of these is a new Pokeball called a Heal Ball that lets you catch, heal and use wild Pokemon on the fly. If you’re going into an area where your favorite Pokemon run wild, you can leave an open slot in your party and catch that Pokemon with a Heal Ball. As soon as it’s yours, you can use it.

The biggest changes involve DS’s WiFi ability. In the past, you either needed to link Game Boys with a cable in order to battle other players or swap Pokemon with a friend. Later, Nintendo released a wireless controller for Game Boy, but you still needed to have your friends right there to swap or fight.

DS, with its WiFi compatibility, lets you take fights to the Internet. There’s even a wireless headset that lets you talk to friends as you battle them.

And Change Can Be Not-So-Good: If there’s one place Diamond and Pearl fall a bit flat, it’s in the area of new monsters. Between them, Diamond and Pearl offer more than 100 new monsters to collect. But these new monsters aren’t as cool as most of the originals. You begin with Turtwig, an adorable baby turtle with a tree growing from its head; Chimchar, a baby monkey with a flame on its tail; and Piplup, a baby penguin.

Turtwig

Turtwig, seen here in concept art, is one of the new and overly adorable starter creatures in Diamond and Pearl. He’s sort of a replacement for Bulbasaur.

These creatures are too cute to be cool — or even evolve into something cool.

Of course, there were some goofy original Pokemon. Let’s face it—Mr. Mime was downright embarrassing. But the new monsters include Burmy, which looks like a weed and evolves into Wormadam, which looks like a Chia Pet. That’s not to say you can’t get a kick out of the Diamond and Pearl Pokemon: Nintendo has added new animations to the mix, some of which have hilarious results. The one that really got me is the animation for Machop. It’s supposed to look like he’s boxing, but to me, it looks like he’s making funny duck-like noises by placing his right hand in his armpit and flapping his left arm over it.

On a less comical note, Nintendo has expanded the Pokemon contests in Diamond and Pearl, making them a bit dull.

More: Game tips | Pokemon primer | Games Guru Q&A

25 Comments on Pokemon Diamond and Pearl game review

  1. Hey anybody know where to catch mesprite after he flew off from his cave

  2. golfer90210 // July 3, 2007 at 6:19 am // Reply

    my team is arceus darkray empoleon blazekin venesuar and ryperior

  3. who thinks this would be a great team // July 2, 2007 at 11:24 pm // Reply

    ALL LVL 100 manaphy arceus mew phione regigas and a mewtwo i own every pokemon game even yellow and pokemon special yellow version and even the trading card one for game boy i have the party listed above and i got all legenaries in every game to lvl 100 yay me who thinks there better????hmm any1

  4. rate my team // July 2, 2007 at 11:16 pm // Reply

    my team is a manaphy infernape garchomp staraptor luxray and roserade im about to batlle elite 4 every1 except manaphy is lvl 40

  5. Pokemon expert // July 2, 2007 at 11:12 pm // Reply

    To:face less you get surf at celestic town and you get rock climb behind a cabin on route 217

  6. To get surf go to Celistic Town and beat the glatic man then go in and see the painting on the wall. A laxy will come and give the Hm.

  7. Hey can read my posts. Im a real help in any game.I know anything about pokemon.

  8. to rob-man if you want I can trade you the classic pokemon I need someone to be my friend.

  9. keekeegirl // July 2, 2007 at 6:44 pm // Reply

    i really need to know where i can buy lots of honey please help thanks

  10. I LIKE THE NEW POKEMON GAME THAT IS OUT

  11. man of cheese // July 2, 2007 at 5:05 pm // Reply

    wow. i’ve already beaten the game. every single pokemon (including national dex) caught. -.-

  12. Random numbers // July 2, 2007 at 4:19 pm // Reply

    This is to Rob-man-

    If you already beat the game , over 300 pokemon from the previous games are supposed to appear. Prof. Rowan does give you this Poke Radar thing that dosen’t help really much. I don’t think it is nessessary to get all 3 starter Pokemon. I don’t even carry mine around with me any more. If you can get them, then get them but otherwise, you don’t have to.

  13. roserade820 // July 2, 2007 at 3:37 pm // Reply

    I have one but i dont like it wanna have it?

  14. roserade820 // July 2, 2007 at 3:36 pm // Reply

    does anyone want a cresselia? me dont want one

  15. POKEMON MASTER // July 2, 2007 at 2:22 pm // Reply

    this is to someone….

    no all you need to do is go to a nintendo event or get an action replay(i got mine for like 25 bucks at wal-mart), but you have to some cheats(like darkrai) online or post a request and if i have it i’ll give it to you(which i do have the darkrai cheat)

  16. Can someone please answer me these questions? Can u get all the origanal pokemon like sandslash, charizard, arcanine and well… all of them? Do you need some sort of Poke finder thing? How many Pokemon in the whole game is there? And is it worth getting all the 3 starter Pokemon?

  17. poke freak // July 2, 2007 at 12:32 pm // Reply

    someone one told me if u press L,L,R,A,A,B, you get more rare candies… i dont

    belive her becuase i dont know if that restarts the game. can someone plz tell

    me if those buttons restart the game… PLEASE…thank you. 😦

  18. this is to SOMEONE do you have darkrai,shaymin or aruseus.I can trade you any kanto pokemon you need.Also I have Cyndiquil,Totidile,Chickorita.If there is anyone who wants to trade let me know just by typing something to me.

  19. Sorry rob-man you can’t get the kantos well some but no t alot. You can trade from firered or leafgreen but you need the naitioneldex.

  20. to smarty. it is impossible to get darkrai in either game. in order to get it they have have pokemon conventioins in real life, in japan and places like that and you have to go to one to get darkrai. and it really isn’t worth it so don’t worry about it. also there was one a few months ago at Toys R’ Us

  21. This is POKEMON MASTER do you need any kanto pokemon I got all of them.Also to everyone could read my last post.

  22. shinymedichamfinder // July 1, 2007 at 11:16 pm // Reply

    i put my shiny medicham up for trade today at the GTS it is a blue medicham instead of red for anylvlpalkia

  23. One more thing can someone answer more often.My mom said I need more friends.And its true.

  24. POKEMON MASTER // July 1, 2007 at 10:33 pm // Reply

    this is to wfdragon….

    you have to beat the pokemon leauge and get the national dex(pro. rowan) then go to pal park

    this is to face less….

    i don’t remember where surf is but rockclimb is on route 217 by a house on the far left

    this is to solidar….

    mew is not the most powerful, arceus is, but mew is probably top 10, and yes mew is the only pokemon that can learn every single TM

  25. Any kanto pokemon you need I got it.I need a darkrai,aruseu and shaymin

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