Even within the context of a collection that commonly receives criticism for feeling formulaic, Pokemon Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl are notably acquainted. As remakes of the fourth-gen titles Diamond and Pearl, these are homages to an period of Pokemon when the collection was simply beginning to settle into a snug area of interest. Not solely that, however these are extraordinarily trustworthy remakes, proper right down to the visible type and basic fight mechanics. That makes the expertise really feel downright homey, if not just a little deja vu-inducing.
Diamond and Pearl, and due to this fact Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl, are from a less complicated period of Pokemon, earlier than full 3D turned the norm. As an alternative, they harkened again to the collection’ roots as an overhead, sprite-based RPG. There can be clear delineation between a grass “tile” and a city “tile” and you’ll transfer from one to a different as if on a checkerboard. You’ll be able to see a few of these roots at work within the remakes too. Whereas your character has a full vary of motion on this planet and the geometry is not terribly blocky, there are some apparent anachronisms–how NPCs at all times transfer at proper angles, for instance, or how ground tiles are sized to suit your character completely. It is solely mildly distracting and, for essentially the most half, is simply charming.
Equally charming is the artwork type itself, particularly within the overworld. Whereas the more moderen Sword and Defend have adopted a extra lithe, elongated type that appears much like the assorted Pokemon animated collection, Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl have translated the squat pixel artwork of the originals into an equally squat and lovely animated chibi type. Your character seems to be appropriately retro whereas merely exploring within the tall grass or strolling round city, however the type seems to be particularly nice when the digicam zooms in nearer throughout dialogue sequences. At these factors, the art work actually shines since you get to see the depth and vibrancy of the characters. They appear virtually like residing vinyl dolls.
Equally, most of the eponymous Pokemon themselves profit from this new artwork type, particularly the designs which might be extra elegant and easy, just like the pleasantly plump Starly. A few of the extra advanced designs undergo for it, although, for the reason that little thrives can look awkward. That is an issue when you are going to be spending a major period of time taking a look at a Monferno’s red-outlined butt, however in any other case is not too distracting. Your personal characters and NPCs additionally change from their squat chibi types into extra Sword- and Defend-like fashions throughout battles, and people look completely nice even when they’ve much less character.
On prime of the visible distinctions, these remakes pack some quality-of-life tweaks from later video games that make it simpler to return to this era. Borrowing a web page from Sword and Defend, EXP Share is on by default and distributes expertise throughout all of the Pokemon at present in your social gathering, which makes grinding out ranges a lot much less of a chore. Likewise, buying Hidden Strikes offers you with everlasting entry to them no matter who’s in your social gathering, which is able to robotically handle navigation duties like breaking rocks or browsing via the water while not having to maintain a dummy-Pokemon on-hand. And you may entry your Pokemon bins from wherever, fairly than needing to go again into city and verify in at a Pokemon Middle. You’ll be able to have a Pokemon of alternative observe you as properly as soon as you’ve got progressed, which provides a pleasant sense of character to your friendship with the little pocket monsters.
The opposite main addition is the Grand Underground, a revision of the unique Underground mechanic that borrows some components from more moderen video games. You’ll be able to see Pokemon roaming freely, and a few Pokemon can solely be caught by exploring right here, much like the Wild Areas in Sword and Defend. The change would not really feel huge, nevertheless it does appear primed so as to add longevity to the endgame as soon as gamers have fought via all of the gyms and bested the Elite 4.
To this point, Pokemon Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl preserve sufficient basic components to really feel like a snug nostalgia journey, whereas smoothing over sufficient of the tough edges that they really feel comparatively modern with different latest Pokemon video games. It might’t be straightforward for a storied franchise to pay homage to its legacy whereas additionally modernizing on this manner, however in my expertise to this point, Sensible Diamond and Shining Pearl strike the proper steadiness.