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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. pokemon pearl and diamond are the best

  2. Diamond’s the i got my ds action replay to work,(which i got last year) and i got manaphy, shaymin, darkrai, 2 ho-ohs, a lugia, and tomorrow i’m getting arceus

  3. i want a arceus plzz i want one so much they are my second favorite pokemon u can even put plates on them to make them look cool

  4. My zapdos is lvl 80 but still cant beat elite four /my empolien is lvl 61

  5. giratina89 // June 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm // Reply

    i have aresus,giratina and shymin.

  6. giratina89 // June 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm // Reply

    pokemon platnuim rocks have you got giratina.i have giatina,shymin,regegigas,omstar,kabuto and darkai

  7. i have shamyn,garatina,regegigas,tones of arceas,ripirear,palcia,dialga,mesprit,ucse,alf,charazared,darcari,celsea,hetran,lateos and many more i have the best pokemon in to sobdivishons i will give you an arceas ps is your mom a teacher.

  8. pokemon trainer/master zeek // May 30, 2009 at 7:30 am // Reply

    did you know you can get dealga and palkia on platinum and will someone give me a shymin,darkrai,ditto

  9. how do you get arceus

  10. how do you get arceas

  11. ace pokemontrainer 17 // April 28, 2009 at 5:03 am // Reply

    well my team is pretty sweet
    i have a
    hunchkrow :lvl 100
    purugly :lvl100
    mightyena :lvl100
    lumineon :lvl100
    banette :lvl100
    darkrai :lvl100

    and many more amazinglystrong pokemon.

    but for now thats all im going to tell you. “_”

  12. Pearl_Player1999 // April 27, 2009 at 3:44 pm // Reply

    Even though there arent the best Pokemon, I havent been beaten in a while.
    Try it sometime!!!!!!!!!!!
    Empoleon Lv.71
    Palkia Lv. 67
    Giratina Lv.71
    Groudon Lv. 72
    Heatran Lv.70
    Ivysaur Lv.30 (training 4 a Venasaur)
    Have fun!

  13. not even pokemon master can defeat me so more than triple,double,.not even that

  14. oyu catch glaceonin the snowpoint area by trainig an evee in that area

  15. Ice Trainer // April 22, 2009 at 4:31 pm // Reply

    Does anybody KNOW were glaceon.

  16. iv trained all my pokemon to lvl 100 by my self to lvl100 iv had pokemon for a long time. diamond is not better they r equel.i have pearl and its great.

  17. Hey you remember me I already pass the pokemon league, that was hard to do

  18. pkmn trainer cynthia // April 20, 2009 at 1:15 am // Reply

    my friends gonna give me salamence lv 100 shiny ,gengar lv100 shiny , dusknoir lv 100 shiny and magmartar lv 100 shiny!!!!!!!! lol

  19. pokemon is a great series i hope it never ends!! elite4 is easy but champ was hard the first time.anyway why dose evry1 want arceus,its not that good!!! ive got lvl100 girantia,palkia,dialga,jirachi,darkrai,zapdos,mewtwo,metagross,rayquaza,deoxys,ho-oh,lugia and shinys are regigas,mew,rayquaza,salamance,shaymin,glalie and deoxys. my favs are darkrai and jirachi. pokemon rox!!!!

  20. TIMEMASTER // April 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm // Reply


  21. gamerdude111 // April 16, 2009 at 4:51 pm // Reply

    diamond is better

  22. how do you catch Shamin?

  23. wat lev poke you need to win the elete4 with no trouble (i beat it tho)

  24. dark angle // April 8, 2009 at 6:05 am // Reply

    wow could pokemon platinum get any better man i love this game

  25. it is good

  26. I HAVE
    PALKIA LV 100
    DIALGA LV 100
    SHAMIN LV 100
    TORTERA LV 100

  27. I got pokemon platinum my team is
    UXIE LV 50
    AZELF LV 50

  28. i have all ledgends including palkia dialga uxie azelf mesprit darkrai shaymin heatran giratina regigigas arceus manaphy zapdos articuno moltres lugia ho-oh entei raikou suicune mew mewtwo celebi jirachi deoxys regice registeel regirock latias latios

  29. cant cach azelf i used every cheat i could find but i can not cach it

  30. i beat the game in 3 days

  31. 2 best pokemon player in the world // March 26, 2009 at 10:37 am // Reply

    how do i get true shamin as my friend went to the event but i didnt

  32. Mike Tyson // March 26, 2009 at 7:52 am // Reply

    I’m wondering how to get rid of the people in battl frontier to go to stark mountain?

  33. Skyshaymin // March 25, 2009 at 5:44 pm // Reply

    I’ve heard so many stories about how to get Arceus, I don’t know what to beleive anymore. Could someone please tell me what you do or what happens so you can get it.

  34. I have a friend that has all the pokedex complete

  35. pokemon master // March 20, 2009 at 5:34 am // Reply

    hey guys I didn’t use cheats but I still have a lvl92 pokemon so don’t cheat! you don’t need to cheat! thats my advice to you pokemon fans!
    Staraptor lvl92
    Giratina lvl75
    Heatran lvl73
    Palkia lvl69
    Wezing lvl59
    Camarupt lvl58
    from:pokemon master

  36. hi guys who has every pokemon lv 100 and plus who knows how to get lugia on pokemon diamond

  37. Where did you got 10 Arceus for free Clint

  38. u know what I got 10 arceus for free

  39. it does rock i have groudon arecus lotios darkri
    kyogre and lugia

  40. My team Rocks I Have


  41. pokemasater man // March 7, 2009 at 8:40 pm // Reply

    um im a noob 2 the new ds pearl n diamond games but in my sapphire / emerald game i have got the three regis, rayquaza, kyogra , grouden flygon cacturne metagross all lvl 100! n i have a few more good pokemon not lvl 100 n the only cheat i used was the cloning cheat i cloned master balls wow this pokemon games are amazing

  42. Masta who told you that lie there is no code you need to beat all the gym liders

  43. I have an Arceus Luke.

  44. Em Pokemaster09 where is the union room

  45. pokemaster09 // March 5, 2009 at 1:16 am // Reply

    i have all the legendaries lvl 100 and i have empoleon infernape tortera dialga palkia and the free lake legendaries all lvl 100

    who wants to fight meat me in the union room

  46. where can you catch shamin

  47. Mirage Master 101 can you give me a Shiny Arseus (v) 100

  48. My poketeam is: Luxray (lv)79 Lucario(lv)41 Staraptor(lv)42 Machoke(lv)44 Empoleon(lv)55 Palkia(lv)61

  49. Can somebody give me a Arseus

  50. super kyogre // February 26, 2009 at 3:57 pm // Reply

    how do you get arcanine and elekid too i need them

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