The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

Pokemon BDSP from a new trainer


Images of the box legendaries from Nintendo’s “Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl” promotional page

ILCA has developed and released remakes of (arguably) the most popular Pokémon generation and region, Sinnoh. They are calling the new versions “Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl,” collectively referred to as “BDSP.”  Most Pokémon games are developed by Game Freak, but this time, the remakes were passed onto another development studio. ILCA’s work in BDSP was supervised by Junichi Masuda of Game Freak, who has made sure the remakes were faithful to the series. 
These games clearly have a long history and depth behind them, which set high expectations. The reviews suggest that these expectations may not have been met. Metacritic’s review of the rereleases scored at least ten points (out of 100) below the original games. The user reviews scored three (out of 10) points lower than the original games. The community that has developed around the Pokémon games doesn’t seem to have been satisfied with the re-releases. But how does it feel to play the game if you’re new to the Pokémon community?
I’ll admit I’d only ever completed one Pokémon game before purchasing “BDSP” (I chose the Brilliant Diamond version, but the version differences will be negligible for this review) and that was Pokémon Sword, one of the most hated Pokémon games in the series. When I played “Sword,” the game was fun and I enjoyed it, but the pacing felt wonky and I struggled to latch onto the game. I understood the appeal of Pokémon to some people, but thought, just maybe, that the series might not be for me. However, when “Brilliant Diamond” came out, I caved to peer pressure and bought it on release day. 
I quickly understood why people love Pokémon so much and why “Sword” was underwhelming. Before the end of the year, I had already put in over 70 hours of game play, finished the main story and was still playing. To put that number in context: I had just over 100 hours in my most played game that year and I put in those 70 hours in one month. Needless to say, I was engrossed. 
I can’t call the game perfect, however. The feature that sold me on buying the game was having Pokémon be able to follow you. While I’m ecstatic that my Togekiss can follow me around while I run through Sinnoh, I wish more had been done with this mechanic. Through normal gameplay, the Pokémon will appear behind you and follow you as closely as it can; probably dependent upon its speed stat. This speed stat, however, was not always well scaled when the Pokémon was following. Spiritomb, for example, which is literally a boulder with a ghost attached to it, drags itself behind you at a snail’s pace. Even if you’re walking as slowly as possible, it cannot keep up.
This did, however, make for a wonderfully unique following animation. Other Pokémon were not blessed in this way. Many serpentine Pokémon, for example, such as Ekans and Rayquaza, remain coiled up and just hover over the ground, instead of having a slither-like motion like Gyrados. It sounds small, but the thing about Pokémon is that you fall in love with the most random little creatures. When yours doesn’t have a decent following animation, it’s kind of heartbreaking.
One of the largest complaints the pokemon community had regards the ease of the newer games. Many consider the game to be easier than it should be, resulting in low user reviews. While there are plenty of valid critiques of the games, the level of difficulty shouldn’t be the primary, especially for this game. First, the Pokémon series is directed towards kids, with almost every game is rated E. If the game is too hard, kids are going to be dissuaded from finishing the game. 
Another tangential point is that Pokémon is as hard as you make it. I went through much of the game with Pokémon that were a decent level lower than whatever gym I was facing. By trading out the members of my team, I could have some variety on my team and tailor it towards each gym with lower-level Pokémon instead of having one extremely high-level and overly well-rounded team. 
Overall, the art and stylistic choices are adorable. The gameplay isn’t so hard to dissuade people from playing, which lowers barriers for entry. There is a fun and compelling story being told (or, for those who played the originals, retold). If you’re going into the game with little to no expectations, then this game should be considered a wonderful way to enter the series. It has inspired me to pick up a copy of “Pokémon Ultra Sun” and a virtual copy of “Pokémon Yellow” (I don’t want to give up the ability to make my Pokémon follow me).

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *