Pokemon Pearl/Diamond DS Review - 05/09/2007

Well here it is, the new Pokemon game that the lucky Japanese DS owners have had for months and us UK owners have just got. You better be prepared because you are about to give up a lot of your time.

The game starts the exact same way as the other Pokemon games, you find a level 5 Pokemon in a bag that a Pokemon expert has dropped and so it starts an epic adventure to become Pokemon league champion.

The game's new features are stylus controls handling the menus and battle screens, and they work well. Also it has a whole new 3D style (well kind of) that makes mountains actually look like they have a scale of height to them. Despite all this it’s still the same old Pokemon style. The graphics have been smoothed out somewhat and at times look great for a DS game, but they really need some new ideas with backgrounds.

There are also around 150 new Pokemon for you to catch and get this, it’s no longer impossible to fill your pokedex and you can fill it with only seeing all of the Pokemon, which is great! This also means you can forget about the whole trading between consoles via a cable like old Pokemon games - you do use Wi-fi, but more on that later.

The design on the Pokemon is still brilliant and very detailed and you will always want to see their evolutions. One gripe is though that the starter Pokemon just aren’t as loveable of old Bulbasar or Charmander and you’ll feel slightly let down with them and only the Penguin one is even slightly as good as those.

To start off with though the game seems easier than previous instalments and it seems it is now easier to level up which with it being a kids games, you would expect. It however is not a child’s game and at first what looks like a simple battle and level up system actually has a complicated underlay.

The last games had Pokemon contests that went up in rank and were good fun. This year they’ve been given a shake up and feature 3 events: a beauty competition, a rhythm action tap the screen mini game and the same thing as last year, a perform a move to judges event. The problem with these new features is that it takes too long and when you're hoping for a quick distraction from the battling you end up playing it for 20 minutes only to come last!

Despite all that, Pokemon is as good as ever and is still one of the most addictive games there is and with online…well I’ll tell you about online. Pokemon now has a Wi-fi mode where you can battle and trade with people all around the world and is one of the best things about this new Pokemon. This also helps to fill up your Pokedex.

One of the (few) gripes with the game is that they really need new ideas in terms of locations. It’s the same old small starting town to big city. There are 2 locations in this version that I would call interesting, a beautiful snow ridden town and a marsh where you have to keep moving or you’ll get trapped in the mud. These are the only examples of interesting locations, which is poor considering the talent of the Pokemon developers Game Freak.

This new Pokemon game is great and is one of the most addictive and long lasting games out there. You can spend literally months playing it and no two games will be the same, however it doesn’t have enough new stuff and you’ll be left wanting more. Overall the online modes and all the other brilliant things about the Pokemon games are there and make this game great.

– James Briscoe



Game Freak