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Pokemon Diamond and Pearl game review

Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl begin much like any Pokemon game — you’re a kid who dreams of training Pokemon, and you run into a kindly professor who makes that dream come true. In this case the professor is named Rowan, not Oak or Elm, the professors from past Pokemon games.


Graphics: 7.0

Sound: 6.0

Gameplay: 9.0

Value: 9.0

Overall Score: 8.0 out of 10.0

Pros: The best thing about Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl is that they look and feel like a good old Pokemon game. The controls are the same, the goals are the same and the play is similar.

Cons: The new monsters are not especially cool, and some changes to the game aren’t that fun.

There are other story changes as well.

In the past, games began with the professor inviting you to his lab and giving you a Pokemon. As Diamond and Pearl open, you and a friend are exploring by a lake. You find a briefcase in tall grass and are attacked by two bird Pokemon called Starlys. Fortunately for you, that briefcase belonged to Professor Rowan, and you find three Pokeballs inside.

Your string of good fortune continues because after you defeat the wild Starlys, Professor Rowan informs you that the Pokemon you used on the Starlys has bonded with you.

Thus begins two Pokemon journeys: yours and your friend’s. (I’m not sure what your friend’s name will be. The game offers the names Barry and Tyson, among others. I named my friend Doofus, and he lived up to his name.)

You walk from town to town in a land called Sinnoh finding, capturing and training little monsters that you then enter in fights with other Pokemon. Sinnoh is vast and has some really fun puzzles, and some of the gyms make great use of the DS’s ability to render 3D.

As in other Pokemon games, winning fights earns you money, and it earns your Pokemon experience points that make them stronger and sometimes evolves them into more advanced versions of themselves.

One thing Pokemon games have always done right and continue to do right is to offer a certain rock-paper-scissors approach to combat. In many of the past games, you chose between a Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur for your first beast. If you took Charmander, a dragon, you could cook Bulbasaur, the plant Pokemon, in fights—but Squirtle, the water Pokemon, had your number. Squirtle, however, was vulnerable to Bulbasaur’s plant attacks. It all evened out.

Diamond and Pearl have that same rock-paper-scissors balance. The first three Pokemon are fire, water and plant creatures: Chimchar, Piplup and Turtwig.

One thing that stands out about Diamond and Pearl on Nintendo DS is how similar they are to the old Game Boy games. They still have the same turn-based fighting system, the same basic exploration and dialog controls. The game has changed only on the surface.

You can control some parts of Diamond and Pearl using the touch pad controls on the bottom screen, but I found it wasn’t worth the trouble. I played the game using standard Game Boy controls.

Instead of using the select and start buttons to bring out registered items, look for inventory and access your Pokedex, you now have X and Y buttons.

In past Pokemon games, you turned berries into blocks to feed them to your Pokemon. You did this by playing a mini-game in which you pressed a button as a centrifuge spun your berries around.

In Diamond and Pearl, the berry blender is replaced with a pot in which you stir your berries using your stylus as you cook them into Poffins. It’s a cute game that’s not bad, but it’s not especially fun, either.

Overall, if you liked past Pokemon adventures, you should like Diamond and Pearl. They preserve the old games well.

Change Can Be Good: Diamond and Pearl introduce some cool changes. One of these is a new Pokeball called a Heal Ball that lets you catch, heal and use wild Pokemon on the fly. If you’re going into an area where your favorite Pokemon run wild, you can leave an open slot in your party and catch that Pokemon with a Heal Ball. As soon as it’s yours, you can use it.

The biggest changes involve DS’s WiFi ability. In the past, you either needed to link Game Boys with a cable in order to battle other players or swap Pokemon with a friend. Later, Nintendo released a wireless controller for Game Boy, but you still needed to have your friends right there to swap or fight.

DS, with its WiFi compatibility, lets you take fights to the Internet. There’s even a wireless headset that lets you talk to friends as you battle them.

And Change Can Be Not-So-Good: If there’s one place Diamond and Pearl fall a bit flat, it’s in the area of new monsters. Between them, Diamond and Pearl offer more than 100 new monsters to collect. But these new monsters aren’t as cool as most of the originals. You begin with Turtwig, an adorable baby turtle with a tree growing from its head; Chimchar, a baby monkey with a flame on its tail; and Piplup, a baby penguin.


Turtwig, seen here in concept art, is one of the new and overly adorable starter creatures in Diamond and Pearl. He’s sort of a replacement for Bulbasaur.

These creatures are too cute to be cool — or even evolve into something cool.

Of course, there were some goofy original Pokemon. Let’s face it—Mr. Mime was downright embarrassing. But the new monsters include Burmy, which looks like a weed and evolves into Wormadam, which looks like a Chia Pet. That’s not to say you can’t get a kick out of the Diamond and Pearl Pokemon: Nintendo has added new animations to the mix, some of which have hilarious results. The one that really got me is the animation for Machop. It’s supposed to look like he’s boxing, but to me, it looks like he’s making funny duck-like noises by placing his right hand in his armpit and flapping his left arm over it.

On a less comical note, Nintendo has expanded the Pokemon contests in Diamond and Pearl, making them a bit dull.

More: Game tips | Pokemon primer | Games Guru Q&A

53 Comments on Pokemon Diamond and Pearl game review

  1. I have legendary pokemon

  2. Can you pass me a Arseus

  3. Big B do you have more Rayquasas in level 100

  4. Where can you find Arseus

  5. take out the manaphys, giratina, and dialga. Replace with Garchomp, Aggron, Gengar, and a pokemon of your choice. At least, that’s what I’d do.

  6. how do u get the flute to get acurceaus

  7. PLEASE rate my my team:

    daxia(torterra) lv.95
    blue(manaphy) lv.96 (pokemon ranger 1)
    manaphy lv.100 (event)
    weavile lv.100
    dialga lv.91
    exera(giratina) lv.90

    no action replay used and I beat the elite four 15 times

  8. Who can tell me where RAYQUZA is after the natol dex.

    my very first poemon is a empoleon called water on level 100
    and these r all the other pokemon i have caught r Jolt my Jolteon on level 100
    Crystal my weavile on level 100
    Chomp my garchomp on level 86
    Uxie called gold on level 92
    and finally my Honchkrow called shadow on level 100.
    I went through the league 10 times.
    (i got Jolt from Dude u will see his name at the bottom)

  10. how do you get totadile

  11. To marriland where is spring path?

  12. I got natinol dex on my weakest person

  13. I got Joltion on lev 5

  14. 56corn serup // February 15, 2009 at 8:23 pm // Reply

    my couson said that on pokemon after you finish the nashinal pokedex you can go get the flute i dont know where though get the flute go where you found dialga or palkia then use the flute save befor going on the steps and battle it then try to catch it

  15. my action replay is saying unknown game everytime i put my pokemon pearl in i dont have the and i put in the game title and id but it is coming up red and blue screen so please help me i am beggin

  16. I got Torterror Empolen and Infernape

  17. PokemonPlayingPerson // February 2, 2009 at 11:40 pm // Reply

    does anyone know which city to be in to trade between pokemon diamond and emerald!!!!! Please help!!!! :]

  18. great game i beat pokemon pearl on the fith day when it got released in australia

  19. pokemon legend // January 31, 2009 at 4:12 pm // Reply

    to get rock climb you half to beat the 7th gym

  20. Please Rate my team!
    Empoleon Lv. 100
    Happiny Lv. 35
    Staravia Lv. 23
    Carnivine Lv. 26
    Bibarel Lv. 25
    Electrive Lv. 50
    P.S. I got Electrive from A mystery gift from Poketopia by using a code om pokemon battle revolution!

  21. Raichu is awsomer! // January 23, 2009 at 6:04 pm // Reply

    I have a ton of shiny pokemon! Oh Yeah! I know how to get an EZ Burmy, AR!

  22. to beat the game get good pokemon

  23. KK, i got a question 4 every one, I don’t have a D.S and i’m wondering if i should get one just 2 get pokemon Diamond/ pearl. Also what game is better Pearl or Diamond, pls hlp. ty.

  24. how do i get a wormadan

  25. At what lv evolve turtwick pls tell me

  26. dear jalapeno on a stick,

    you have to get them by trading with friends

  27. I am an expert i can tell you were to get dark ri

  28. what level does lickatung evolve at?

  29. Action replays ROCK

  30. is there a real action replay code that can really make your pokemon permanently shiny ?

  31. darkri lover // January 1, 2009 at 9:44 pm // Reply

    Iv beaten the game and got all the pokmon and they are all lvl 100 and have nothing to do if you have any things i can do pleas tell me

  32. trust me i have shiny charzard lv 108,black entie lv 254,shiny lugia lv 563,shiny magmortar lv 989,ho]oh lv 991,and sauske uchiha lv 10000, on pokemon diamond version.and i beat the first gym leader i started out with a geodude lv 999

  33. skater chick // December 27, 2008 at 2:46 pm // Reply

    Dimand is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Darkri rocks!!!!!

  34. where does buck go after he takes the magma stone

  35. pokemon are cool

  36. dude…..THIS GAME ROX!!!

  37. can some1 plz tell me how 2 get all of the unknown!!!!! it’s sooooo anoying!!

  38. to penny u need the national dex

  39. the jalapeno on a stick // December 9, 2008 at 4:56 pm // Reply

    where do u catch a charmander or squirtle¿¿¿¿¿?????

  40. so what, pokemaster that gabite evolves at lv48 because pupitar evolves at lv55

  41. awsome have every pkmn.

  42. if want a magby put pokemon leaafgreen in gba cartiege then go to stark mountain use your poke rader and yah it will appear but it is kind of rare if u are lucky it might hold magmoizer

  43. *Pokemaster* // October 12, 2008 at 9:47 pm // Reply

    for anyone who might be wondering…Gabite evolves at lvl 48! ive checked this myself so i hope this helps. ^_^

  44. diamond has some really good graphics as opposed to the old games but the new pokemon are really lame

  45. if u wanna go to the other 2 areas after u beat the champion u have to complete ur pokedex

  46. also shiny jirachi shiny celebi and loads more just keep searching for them and u shall find them

  47. i found a shiny typhlosion a shiny lugia and a shiny ho-oh

  48. wild empoleon // September 7, 2008 at 2:51 pm // Reply

    i need an easy way to catch a burmy

  49. how do you get wormadan

  50. I con’t beat the game man help me.

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