Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl bring the beloved 2006 classics back to life in an art style that’s essentially the 3D equivalent to the originals’ 2D pixel art. These remakes have garnered a moderately good critical reception, with the negative points being how it plays things too safe in terms of reimagining the DS games.

However, the positives have generally been its tasteful faithfulness to the original Diamond and Pearl while implementing welcome quality-of-life improvements and some new features. Given the reputation this generation of games had, fans on Reddit have expressed some unconventional takes on the remakes.

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No Mega Evolutions

Generation six with Pokémon X and introduced a new gameplay mechanic that quickly became a fan-favorite. Mega Evolutions gave older Pokémon newly designed forms with stat boosts and Type changes to freshen things up. However, an unfortunate tradition of The Pokémon Company has been to cut features shortly after they were introduced.

Megas was one such feature, but Redditor MikeyNgTh expresses relief over their exclusion from Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, saying they’ve wanted “a back-to-basics game” that cuts the gimmicks and brings the franchise back to its rawest form. While Mega Evolutions are generally regarded as one of the best features, wanting a purer form game is understandable with all the overly-gimmicky features like Z-Moves and Dynamaxing that were tacked on to later entries.

A Helpful EXP Share

Pokémon games were never particularly difficult. But over the years, the mainline games have gotten even easier than before. Part of this stems from Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl‘s forced EXP Share. It’s a useful tool, but it’s now unable to be toggled off and gives full EXP to the entire party. The same Redditor suggests this could be beneficial, saying no Megas and the EXP Share could be “a great way for me to learn how to build teams to counter these rematches” for competitive play.

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A refreshing feature of these remakes is how surprisingly tough the post-game gets. Gym Leader and Elite Four rematches feature progressively stronger teams with smarter AI, held items, and EV/IV trained Pokémon. Therefore, it could be seen as a good quality-of-life improvement to Pokémon that this EXP Share keeps players up-to-speed with the more grueling challenges, even if a “toggle” option would have been welcomed.

Chibi Art Style Is Fitting

Though some saw the chibi art style as a 3D version of faithfully adapting the originals’ artwork, other fans were disappointed it didn’t maintain the art style in Sword and Shield or the Let’s Go games. Sword/Shield weren’t graphically impressive games, but some agree that still-stylized but more proportional overworld character designs would’ve been welcomed.

Redditor R-Emiru, however, believes the chibi art is more suitable to Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl than Sword/Shield. They say that “after playing the game I think that it manages to create a modernized version of the old Nintendo DS character sprites.” It’s a solid argument for games meant to conjure up a sense of nostalgia.

Following Pokémon Feeling Tacked On

It’s an aesthetic feature more than anything else, but fans have typically been warm to the Following Pokémon feature of some of the main games. Players getting to let their favorite creatures walk around with them is fun and immersive for the cute Pokémon of the franchise, but some feel this is a half-baked measure.

Redditor CorporalClegg1997 says that while they like the feature, it also feels like “something Game Freak tack onto a game late in its development as an attempt to please the fans.” Though it’s worth noting that ILCA developed Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, decisions like this may come from higher up in The Pokémon Company for games to compensate for a lack of inventiveness.

The Underground Being Stripped Of Its Fun Features

The biggest new feature that Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl introduced to these otherwise safe remakes was the Grand Underground. Exploring the Underground was in the originals, but the Pokémon Hideaways were a great new addition. They essentially house the Regional Dex species from Platinum and the majority of the National Dex in the post-game.

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But some argue the Underground has been stripped of the charming details in the process. Redditor swhipple- says “looking back at Gen 4 you could place ACTUAL stuff in your secret base,” and “capture the flag with all the cool traps would have been absolutely awesome to see in the new graphics.” The variety of Pokémon improved, but seemingly at the cost of another fan-favorite feature.

Clunky Movement

Moving on from the 2D pixel art of the Game Boy, GBC, GBA, and DS games meant moving on from the movement grid as well. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl let the player move in any direction, which feels better. Generally, though, as others cited this transition of movement didn’t go over smoothly.

Redditor poisonedfrosting notes they had to “keep using the D-pad to move sometimes because the control stick feels weirdly slippery.” Similarly, Sypheroo agrees, saying they’re “loving the game but I keep bumping into stuff/getting stuck on corners, etc.”

Great Looking Graphics For The Art Style Used

The chibi art style and the graphics are certainly a point of contention among fans. Many fans were expecting the aforementioned Sword/Shield approach to these remakes in terms of visual scope. Despite that, some felt the different graphical elements aside from the art style worked well given the context.

Redditor makebeansgreatagain says “I don’t see a problem” and that “the textures, models, shading, lighting, it’s all brilliant.” From the reveal trailer to release, the remakes did undergo a notable visual improvement. Especially so with the lighting and textures, which made several locations within Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl worth visiting.

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Post-Game Is Great, Even By Platinum Standards

For those critical of the remakes, Pokémon Platinum is still regarded as the best way to play through the Sinnoh region. Along with HeartGold and SoulSilver, it’s often considered one of the best games in the franchise with the most worthwhile post-game content.

Even with that sentiment being so most popular, Redditor Kampy5567 still attests that Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl’s post-game is nothing to scoff at. They claim “the post-game is, easily, the best part about the games for someone who still owns Platinum.”

ILCA Succeeded With What They Were Tasked With

Scope and scale are things that the veteran fans of Pokémon found disappointing. While critic reviews were somewhat kinder overall, the consensus of “faithful to a fault” seems to be consistent regardless. As a counter, the same Redditor believes that developers ILCA accomplished what they were tasked with.

In addition to graphics, they also think that “a faithful remake that included some QoL improvements” serves as an “excellent representation of Diamond and Pearl and a great way for people who haven’t played Gen 4.” Given that ILCA is a new studio working on their first games, this argument could carry more weight within context.

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