It’s been exactly 10 years since I started something… at least on the day this post goes live. I think this is a good any time as any to have a review and retrospective about Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and the 4th Generation of Pokémon.
Why April 25th? not April 22nd 2007, which was the US release date of the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. It was more down to the date I could get my copy in the UK. Unlike in the recent years, there was a 3 month delay between the US release and the European release which was 27th July 2007.
Pokémon Daimond and Pearl took place within Sinnoh, with a new Pokémon to catch and train. New Pokémon included the Lucario, which has become a very popular Pokémon from the new Pokémon in this game. (Lucario was initially teased over a year before it was in a game in 2005 Movie Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew.)
As with all Pokémon games you had to choose between three starters, Piplup, Chimchar and Turtwig. I choose the water type Piplup. Like all starters, Piplup was first part of a 3 stage line of Pokémon. Like each set of starters, Piplup was strong against the fire type Chimchar and weak against grass type Turtwig. In a form of Rock-Paper-Scissors, as many reviewers of the Pokémon games have described the type system.
Like in Previous Gold & Silver, and Ruby & Sapphire, there where changes to the core gameplay mechanics which included new moves, abilities and Pokémon. The biggest change was Dubbed by fans as the “Physical/Special Split”. With the name of “ThunderPunch” you would expect the move use the Attack stat, but in every Pokémon game before Diamond and Pearl, it would mean the electric type would make it use the Special attack stat. This would mean that Hitmonchan in the older games would not hit very hard due to his low Special attack stat. Alakazam could use ThunderPunch effectively due it’s high special attack. In Diamond and Pearl and every game since, ThunderPunch used the Attack stat.
The world of the Sinnoh seemed more dynamic than previous games due to the fact the the world used 3D models and a day/night cycle was re-introduced. This meant that one could walk around building and see the lights turn on and off during the night, depending on what time of day it was. The time of day wasn’t just limited to cosmetic changes, some Pokémon could only be found during the day, and others during the night.
The move from one screen to two was generally good, but some hold over maker questionable choices in the UI department, when comparing with later games. Almost all the game used the top screen similar to how it worked in the older Game Boy Advance games, usually leaving the bottom screen blank. The battles used both screens, with the top screen with status info, and the bottom with your inputs. One niggling feature meant, you could find two different move replacement screens depending if you where in battle or not. Most of these issues where resolved by HeartGold & SoulSilver.
One complaint about the variety of Pokémon on the Sinnoh Dex prior to beating the Elite Four. For example: outside of Chimchar and it’s evolutions, there was only Ponyta and Rapidash for fire type Pokémon. There were new Fire types, but the method to obtain these where tricky at best or impossible due various reasons. The Moveset of Ponyta didn’t really help matters, as it didn’t gain fire type moves until later. This lack of fire types was reflected in the Elite Four member Flint, as he thee non fire types. Platinum fixes this by adding the new Pokémon in the game before the Elite Four. The total fire types rose from 5 to 9 Pokémon, or from two families to four families.
Prior to the DS, there was a requirement in that you had to buy a separate accessory to use the communication functions, usually the link cable. With the DS built in wireless connection, this meant that one would only need two DSes to trade. However the biggest improvement was the introduction of Wifi and trading online. You didn’t need to be sitting next to your trade partner. You could be sitting in London and be trade with a player in Tokyo. However this would require the use of Friend codes which you shared before hand, and was also which was a requirement for the DS games.
The Biggest changes in the games was GTS or Global Trade System, where a player could trade their Pokémon with near total strangers, with a Auction like system. One restriction was to allow players to ask for Pokémon the Pokédex as marked as seen, and another was to limit one Pokémon being held for “sale” at any one time. A player could Place a Pokémon online and still be look for another.
As a result of being able to trade between the countries, this was also the first time Pokémon could be traded between Different Language versions of the games, where English players could obtain Pokémon named in the Japanese characters.
This online trading slowly dropped off in 2010 due to the Pokémon Black and White and the way the all 4th Gen Pokémon games had to connect online, as the original DS and it’s games where unable to use modern standard of secure Wifi connections. With all Wifi support for DS games being discontinued, GTS and any online function in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl being discontinued.
For players with Game Boy Advance games, could bring their their Pokémon to Diamond and Pearl using the DS and DS Lite’s GBA slot. The first DS that didn’t support GBA games was released a few years after Diamond and Pearl.
Like Previous games in the series, Diamond and Pearl got an improved “Directors Cut” version in the form of Pokémon Platinum. A few new areas where added, and quite a few areas got reworked. Many Pokémon got moved around and several appeared without requiring the National Dex. Most of the TV show shown after Platinum released showed the changes to the area. A few other annoyances that where present in Diamond and Pearl where fixed. The Big thing that was introduced was that Giratina and few other Pokémon got new forms, that altered their temporarily appearance, stats and move set. These changes would be reverted when communicating with Diamond or Pearl.
Following Platinum, the Games of Gold and Silver got remade in to HeartGold and SoulSliver. They remained relativity true to the games they where based on, but kept some changes that was introduced in the Crystal. One change that most fans liked was the “walking” Pokémon, where the lead Pokémon followed the trainer in the world. While Keeping the many of Additions that Platinum had, HeartGold and SoulSilver could trade or battle with Diamond and Pearl with no issues.
Pokémon Diamond and Pearl was for many players the return to Pokémon, this was in part due to the popularity of DS that was enjoying due to the rise the Brain Age/Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training games and similar games that was releasing around the time.
For me, this was first day one purchase of a Pokémon game. I was already playing the previous games on my DS lite. As you can see, I’ve purchased each game multiple times. During this time, I got the first Pearl copy mainly for the ability to obtain more than one event Pokémon. I like the game so much I wanted to play though the game a second time. My second Daimond and Pearl where purchased when I discovered that my first copies had been physically damaged and where risking wiping the save file, which both of them did.
Due to the portable nature of the DS, I’ve been carrying either the DS or 3DS around almost every day for the last 10 years, and most of the time I’ve been carrying Pokémon game, and for a long time, it was Pokémon Diamond. While my Last playthrough was in 2010. It was a blast..