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Pokemon Diamond / Pearl Review

Developer: Game Freak Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: April 24, 2007 Also On: None

As the resident Pokefreak on Game Freaks 365, I’m more than ready for the upcoming continuation of the Pokemon series, the DS’s Diamond and Pearl Versions. In fact, I’m ecstatic. Every bit of info that I hear about the games excites me more and more, and I’d like to do my best to inform any of the less-knowledgeable fans about some of the new stuff featured in Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl.

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Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl take place in the new Pokemon region called Sinnoh. At the beginning of the game you’ll have the choice of playing as a male or female Pokemon Trainer who lives in the small village called Twinleaf Town. Surely enough you’ll bump into a blonde-haired “rival” who will challenge you all the way throughout the journey with an opposing Pokemon companion. You’ll meet a Pokemon expert named Professor Rowan, and bump into a no-good team of evil-doers called Team Galactic. Team Galactic’s ambitions are a mystery for now, but it seems that they could be kidnappers like Team Rocket, Aqua, and Magma before them.

Only a few deductions can be made about Diamond and Pearl’s gameplay. The visuals are much more detailed than in previous Pokemon adventures, and actually reflect some 3D elements such as trees and buildings that seem to pop out of the screen. I find it to be incredibly disappointing that the battle screen is still very simplistic and lacking in detail; the backgrounds are still colorful gradients rather than fully-detailed backdrops like they could be. If a game like Final Fantasy III can look so great on DS, Pokemon most certainly can!

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl launch just before Nintendo Wii’s Pokemon title that introduces online multiplayer gameplay to Nintendo’s next-generation console, and the two titles are actually compatible with several other Pokemon titles. Pokemon from FireRed, LeafGreen, Emerald, Ruby, and Sapphire Versions will be able to be traded to Diamond and Pearl cartridges. There is a special bonus for those devoted Pokefreaks who picked up Pokemon Ranger. In the Ranger cartridge there is a special mission after beating the game that allows you to find a special Pokemon egg. The egg contains Manaphy, a Pokemon that looks very much like the Chao creatures from Sonic’s recent titles.

Only a few Pokemon from Diamond and Pearl Versions have been introduced. Of course the cover creatures are “legendary” Pokemon and will most likely be iconic creatures throughout the adventure, but the two most recognizable are Munchlax and Weavile. If you recognize similarities between these creatures’ names and other Pokemon, you’d be thinking on the right track–Munchlax actually evolves into the large and sleepy Pokemon Snorlax, and Weavile is the evolution of Sneasel, the Dark- and Ice-Type weasel Pokemon from previous Pokemon titles. None of the three “starter” Pokemon have been officially introduced, so they’ll be a surprise for gamers when the game releases April 22nd.

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl Versions look to be promising additions to the Pokemon franchise. The classic, addictive training, trading, and collecting mechanics will be reintroduced on April 22nd, and never before have Pokemon games shown such early promise. This could be the second coming of the Pokemon revolution, and will hopefully reinvigorate some respect for Nintendo’s life preserver that kept them afloat before the Nintendo DS and Wii came around.

Written by Cliff