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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.


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, 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. POKEMON MASTER // July 7, 2007 at 7:39 pm // Reply

    this is to the pokemon master that asked where you find dialga in pearl….

    i had this name first so could you please change yours or add some #’s

    and you can’t find dialga in pearl

  2. shinymedichamfinder // July 7, 2007 at 4:53 pm // Reply

    i say quick balls stink on pokemon lvl 50 and i caught dialga at full health no status problems with a great ball

  3. I have to disagree with the game guru on the “they don’t even evolve into anything cool” comment he made. In my opinion all three of the starters evolve into something cool.

  4. to get mesprit u have to get a thing for your poketch and it will show u where mesprit is

  5. Go to celstic and defeat the grunt and go to the ruins and press A when near the drawing the woman will come and give HM surf.

  6. palkia master i will battle u my party is

    torterra lv. 100

    lugia lv. 100

    blastoise lv. 100

    charizard lv. 100

    deoxys lv. 100

    rayquaza lv. 100

  7. i have a wormadam lv. 15 [ stole it from a trainer in eterna forest] [ i have an action replay] so if anybody wants it i need abomasnow


  9. TO ANYONE: Is there such thing as a shiny pokemon if so how do u catch it and were do u fined it. PLZ TELL ME SOME INFORMATION ABOUT THE SHINY POKEMON PLZ!!!!

  10. What does Gravler evolve into I realy need to know

  11. I’m new to this, so I don’t know if this will work. I tried pressing A and saying cotcha in the mic. when the ball turned yellow and using a pokeball…it didn’t work. Unless tediursa are immune to the effect, please tell me what I did wrong, or if it really works. Did you do multiple tests? I did catch a snover, but that might be because of luck. I hope I am responding, again, I am new to this.

  12. To get the mystery gift, just talk to the person in the lower left corner of the second floor (I think) and tell him everyone happy wi-fi connection. there are two two word questions, so don’t think I’m wrong when there are only two blanks. I recomend having wi-fi to use this feature.

  13. dark rhydon // July 6, 2007 at 7:17 pm // Reply

    where do u find moss or ice rock?

  14. person who likes cheese // July 6, 2007 at 6:28 pm // Reply

    how do i get to elite 4 i go to end of victory road and guy stands in my way

  15. Pokemon fan 2314 // July 6, 2007 at 1:05 pm // Reply

    Eevee evolves into: How it evolves:

    Glaceon by raising it’s level in route 217

    Leafeon by raising it’s level in Eterna Forest

    Jolteon with thunder stone

    Vaporeon with water stone

    Flareon with fire stone

    Umbreon with happiness+nightime

    Espeon with happiness+Daytime

    Where to get Eevee:

    Trophy gardens 5% morning 5%Day 5%night.

    from bebe after you get the National dex

    you find bebe on the house right next to the hearthome city’s pokemon center.

    Migrate from another game!

  16. where i find hm surf in pearl version

  17. Pokemon fan 2314 // July 6, 2007 at 12:31 pm // Reply

    The way you get the national Dex is the only pokemon in your pokedex that should be missing are a Garchomp, and Milotic. you beat the elite 4, and then you go to celestic town. and go to the big house at the top of the town. you should see a book on the table click on it. then after that fly to sangdem town. go into professor Rowans lab and talk to him and then after that you take your self on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. I say a quickball is the best.

  19. Pokemon fan 2314 // July 6, 2007 at 12:19 pm // Reply

    Everyone asks me when do you get to migrate pokemon from other games. And i said “you have to beat the pokemon league and then go to pal park and they will ask you to perfrom a show, and after that save your game, and shut off your nintendoDS (lite) and on the diamond title screen press start when it says press start at the top, then Right under where it says New game it will say migrate from Leaf green, Fire red, Sapphire, Ruby, or Emerald. Then click on it. forgot to mention, you have to have one of the pokemon Gameboy advance games in the GBA slot at the time. Don’t forget to check your pokemon Gameboy advance game for 6 pokemon to migrate. You have to have 6 pokemon to migrate. Then when you picked the pokemon you wanted to migrate go to pal park and then talk to the worker again. then you go on in to the grass, or water and you run into one of the pokemon you picked. and don’t worry The types of pok’e balls they give you never fail!!!!!!!!!

  20. 100 Manahy // July 6, 2007 at 12:00 pm // Reply

    this is to 7elf you can get chatot on the route going in to sunnyshore city hahahahahahahahahahahaha

  21. Pokemon fan 2314 // July 6, 2007 at 11:58 am // Reply

    I’ve seen 193 pokemon in pokemon diamond version……… how many more do I need to see, and i’ve obtained 95 pokemon, so I’ve already migrated some pokemon from pokemon sapphire version, and pokemon Leaf green version. I’m going to be one of the world’s best pokemon masters in history!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And my highest pokemon LV. is an Azumarril on level 62, and my lowest is a Parchurisu on LV. 14.

    And I’ve defated all 8 gym leaders, and the elite 4. Oh yeah, I defeated Flint with a Dialga LV. 50, and a Azumarril LV.56!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  23. TO ANYONE: Is there such thing as a shiny pokemon if so how do u catch it and were do u fined it. PLZ TELL ME SOME INFORMATION ABOUT THE SHINY POKEMON PLZ!!!

  24. Rate my team you are doomed against the elite four. Their pokemon are high 50’s and 60’s.

  25. Logan, I would use either an ultra ball or a timer ball.

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