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Pokémon Diamond/Pearl Review

What do you mean, we've gotta catch 'em all? All 493? Sigh, okay

Eight years. That's how long we've been playing Pokémon games in the UK, ever since Pokémon Red and Blue on the original Game Boy arrived on our shores in October 1999. Now we're two handheld generations on and yet still we're more than happy to run about catching those beasties with Poké Balls.

The big question, however, is this - for those of you who've already captured in Kanto, jogged through Johto and hiked through Hoenn, are there enough differences and new features in this new outing to warrant doing it all over again for a fourth time?

Well, the short answer is this. If you're playing in single-player then it depends on how much you enjoyed the previous games, but if you plan on using the multiplayer features on offer, then it's most certainly worth another trek.

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Psyduck Redux

In terms of the single-player adventure, it's not even a huge leap from the original Game Boy adventures, let alone the more recent GBA titles. Although there are undoubtedly loads of new tweaks, like the Pokétch (a watch on the touchscreen which gives you access to a wide range of functions) and a fun dressing-up feature (you can earn accessories for your Pokémon and customise its appearance, then enter it in competitions), the fact is that the main story and the basic goals are still near-identical to Pokémon Red and Blue. Meet a Professor at the start of the game, get a starter Pokémon from him, set out to capture more Pokémon by weakening them and throwing Poké Balls at them, train them up until they're at a

high enough level, defeat the gym leaders, then beat the final Elite Four trainers. The layout (of the main adventure, at least) is exactly the same as it was eight years ago.

Out With The Old

This may sound like we're being negative about Diamond and Pearl but the fact is, this familiarity isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, if you're going to be playing what is essentially an enhanced remake of a decade-old game, you could do far worse than Pokémon, which has remained incredibly addictive throughout the years. In fact, it's a testament to the original's gameplay that the DS version, while an almost identical experience, still feels fresh and current-gen.

In terms of audio and visuals the game isn't exactly pushing the DS to its limits. While it's graphically decent, with the main game world in 3D (just about) and the Pokédex and battle screens featuring detailed 2D Pokémon portraits, the combat still looks wooden.

Sound-wise, the music is pleasant enough and some of the previous games' themes make a pleasant return in a slightly remixed form. But a real disappointment comes in the form of the Pokémon's battle cries, which are heard whenever you select them in battle or access their entry in the Pokédex. Although the 100 or so new Pokémon have new, realistic cries, the older Pokémon retain their old cries, meaning Pokémon veterans like Psyduck and Bulbasaur still sound like their original Game Boy generated-bleeps. Surely a little freshening-up of the sound effects wouldn't have been too hard?

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Bells And Whistles

That said, while this review seems mostly negative, do bear in mind again that it's simply because these pages are otherwise full to the brim of boxes showing all sorts of innovative improvements and new stuff on offer. The various Wi-Fi options open up the world of Pokémon, and never before has the invitation to "catch 'em all" actually seemed so achievable, thanks to the Global Trade Station feature .

The problems we've mentioned are still minor complaints in the grand scheme of things. If you're looking for an enjoyable RPG adventure that's going to have you playing for months on end, there's nothing to beat Pokémon Diamond and Pearl on the DS. Just don't go expecting any huge surprises if you've played through any of the previous games.


17 comments so far...
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  1. george best Wednesday 13th Feb 2008 at 18:42

    i am just getting this game and i must say i can't wait, i wanna see prof oak again

  2. Anonymous Thursday 14th Feb 2008 at 16:26

    i think dat they should make a pokemon game with all the regions and all the pokemon in it, it would make the best game ever!!!
    from Harry Derges, From Barnstaple

  3. scizorset Saturday 15th Mar 2008 at 14:33

    :D I love the new games!

  4. funnyboy Friday 4th Apr 2008 at 18:54

    it dosent tell you much of what pokemon dimind @ pearl is about. 8)

  5. youngrcb Wednesday 14th May 2008 at 21:18

    I would give this game 97%
    its the reason i got a DS

  6. Anonymous Saturday 31st May 2008 at 13:10

    what is better spectrobes, pokemon or custom robo arena?

  7. catinthefreezer7 Tuesday 8th Jul 2008 at 18:47

    My mate gave me a Shiny Darkari. :D HOORAY!!
    It's called fishpaste though. :(
    It's a sad day for odd looking pokemon around the world...

  8. graemedowie23 Monday 15th Sep 2008 at 03:23

    new to the ds, looking for games that will challenge and kill time splendidly, what do you do in pokemon and is it really as good as the reviews?

  9. fisher2007 Saturday 1st Nov 2008 at 03:24

    i give this 89% its great and i have lots of level 100 pokemon. :D

  10. super_billy_64 Monday 3rd Nov 2008 at 20:17

    Pokemon Diamond and Pearl are two of the best games I have ever played in my entire life. Wifi: excellent Multi player: even better New pokemon: best ever! 96% at least.

  11. DBZFan355 Monday 22nd Dec 2008 at 21:08

    Way too over-rated. It's WAY too similar to the previous games. After the first few battles, the fighting system gets boring and repetitive. The gym leaders are way too easy, and you stride into the pokemon league so relaxed you didnt even bother to stock up on potions! It gets so frusrating when you have to spend days leveling up your pokemon, and then find you still can't beat it! No game has ever made me swear at the screen so much! As for catching them all, by the time you have a chance to catch them all, there is no point as by then you can beat virtually anyone! When you get your first level 100 pokemon, you feel triumphant, and then discover it's so strong that you don't use it since you can't get a challenge! 64% at the most! Although the new region is well designed and the battles have a few perks, so on that basis 71%. If you dissagree PM me and we can argue for a bit.

  12. DBZFan355 Saturday 3rd Jan 2009 at 11:31

    I wrote a review on this crap. Follow my link ... hp?t=37355

  13. LiamGodOfFood Thursday 25th Jun 2009 at 18:05

    Most over-hyped game of the year. Way too easy, got all legendaries (yawn) and several of them. PM me for friend code if you want one.

  14. mantisboy1 Wednesday 15th Jul 2009 at 13:42

    I would so give this a better score.....
    IT RULES XD, I had diamond from USA... then I got pearl for Ł3.00 off some kid

  15. LiamGodOfFood Monday 19th Oct 2009 at 21:34


  16. dizzychocobo Wednesday 7th Jul 2010 at 01:31

    This is the worst game in the series!
    I got bored with it before The fourth gym, the battle engine is slow as heck and the wi-fi connection took over. What about the people who can't get broadband?
    It sucks.

  17. Ghostly_Shadeon Thursday 2nd May 2013 at 17:34

    Sigh; I'm playing Black 2 and I'm already starting to miss some great features from these 4th gen of games-the Pokeradar, the Poketech, Seal least Nintendo should bring back some form of Poketech into X and Y-that way, I won't have to scramble the four corners of the region just to keep up with a roaming 'mon...

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