Nintendo finally gave Pokémon fans everywhere a pretty extensive look at Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl ahead of their November 19, 2021 release date, and it turns out that fans of the original games will actually have quite a few new and changed features to look forward to in these Switch remakes.
While Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl won’t completely change the original games (which makes sense given that the original games were quite good), they will offer a series of modern additions as well as a couple of smart alterations clearly designed to address some of the biggest missing/underdeveloped features from the 2006 Nintendo DS titles.
Here are all the new and altered features that we’ve found in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl so far:
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl’s New Developer
Let’s start with the biggest change in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: their developer.
Game Freak is currently busy finishing up Pokémon Legends, so they’ve tasked developer ILCA with bringing Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl to life. While ILCA has assisted with the development of major projects in the past (including Pokémon HOME, Yakuza 0, and Dragon Quest XI), this is arguably the studio’s biggest assignment yet. It’s also the first time a “mainline” Pokémon game isn’t being developed by Game Freak.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl’s New Graphics
While everyone expected Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl to upgrade the original games’ graphics, some were surprised to see that the remakes will feature a new art style as well.
Fan reception to this new art style has been…mixed so far. Some feel that it looks pretty good, but there’s certainly a vocal contingent who believe the original pixel art style is the better way to go. In any case, it’s certainly interesting to see that the new art style so closely resembles Pokémon: Let’s Go’s also sometimes controversial visuals.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl’s Expanded Trainer Customization Options
Fashion conscience players can finally breathe a sigh of relief as Nintendo has confirmed you will be able to customize your trainer’s appearance in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.
It’s not entirely clear how extensive the game’s customization options will be, but given that this feature is essentially being borrowed from more modern Pokémon titles, it makes sense that your options will be relatively similar to what’s available in recent franchise entries.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Lets You Use Stickers to Change Poké Ball Looks/Effects
Here’s another customization option that hasn’t been fully explained quite yet, but the basic idea is that Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl will let you use stickers to change the design of your Poké Balls as well as their animation effects.
This probably won’t be the most extensive new feature in the game, but it should be a fun way to allow trainers to add a dash of personality to their battles (which could prove to be quite important for reasons we’ll discuss in a bit).
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Will Show Pokemon Folloing Their Trainers
While the original Diamond and Pearl games did let some Pokémon follow you in certain situations, it seems like the remakes will allow you to choose pretty much any Pokémon on your roster and have them follow you at any time.
This feature has gone in and out of fashion in Pokémon games over the years, though it’s certainly become more prominent in recent Pokémon titles that emphasize seeing Pokémon out in the world. Speaking of which…
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Feature Hideaways With Wild Roaming Pokemon
This is actually kind of a blend of new and old features, but the big takeaway here is that you’ll be able to roam around “Grand Underground” areas that feature hideaways where special, rare Pokémon roam the world map.
This underground area will allow you to dig up special treasures and fossils as well as catch rare Pokémon that can’t be found anywhere else in the game. It’s also where you’ll access your trainer’s secret base, which is essentially a kind of clubhouse that serves as your home away from home.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Adds Online Battles to the Original Games
Given that you can still never really trust Nintendo to do the obvious (and often best) things with online play, it’s nice to hear that Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl will support online battles at launch.
Online play is hardly a marquee feature in 2021, but this is certainly one of those instances where the absence of this feature would have likely been a bigger deal than its presence. Let’s just hope that it actually works as well as advertised.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Turns Super Contests Into More of a Rythmn Game
While Super Contests (essentially talent shows/beauty contests for Pokémon) were a pretty big deal in the original versions of Diamond and Pearl, these remakes will add expanded rhythm-based gameplay sections to these challenges that should hopefully make them much more substantial experiences.
Again, the basic idea behind these contests remains the same (show off your Pokémon and win fabulous prizes), but the contests themselves appear to be much more involved and certainly much more visually impressive.