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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

44 Comments on Pokemon Diamond and Pearl game review

  1. only have pokemon X and Y #NEEDTOGETOUTMORE.

  2. The new monsters are not especially cool? Look at Darkrai,Lucario, Gallade, Giratina, Rotom, Heatran, and Regigigas.


  4. Toast Hunter // May 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm // Reply

    This is an excellent game. As a person that has played many pokemon games including black and white, I have to say these games, along with Emerald, are the ones I most thoroughly enjoyed. When I am older, this is game that I will remember.

  5. I love my Pokemon Diamond but it’s too hard if anybody knows any cheats please tell me.

  6. rate my team flareon lv.100,torterra lv.100,charizard lv.41,staraptor lv.44,venusaur lv.47,galade lv.49.

  7. how do you migrate because i have firered.

  8. blocked drains // January 29, 2011 at 5:19 am // Reply

    I was trying to find more data on Pokemon Diamond and Pearl game review Boys’ Life magazine and this item has some good data in comparison to the others I encountered about it. Thanks for your output, now I recognise where to check for dependable content next month There is no smoke without fire and in that respect there are no remarks without postings.

  9. alice is hot // January 26, 2011 at 7:15 pm // Reply

    this game is so awesome and i am getting black and white

  10. How do you get Shamin Arceus and Darkri

  11. videofreak5876 // September 7, 2010 at 7:03 am // Reply

    to catch arceus go to a mystery gift event and get the azure flute then go to the spear piller and use it then walk up the stairs and catch arceus

  12. Failboy 101 // July 16, 2010 at 1:31 pm // Reply

    How do you get Shaymin

  13. i wish i have a ds

  14. For a rpg this games plot is very shalow.for a real pokemon expereance stick to gameboy games

  15. lil spooks // April 4, 2010 at 3:43 am // Reply

    AZELF is hard to catch

  16. DialgaHahathats a funnyname // April 1, 2010 at 9:46 am // Reply

    who knows how 2 catch rayquaza and darkari

    • I don’t know, but I LOVE your screen name.

    • Here’s how to catch Raquaza…
      Beat Pokemon SoulSilver and get red orb from Prof. Oak then catch Groudon
      Beat Pokemon HeartGold and get blue orb from Prof. Oak then catch Kyogre
      Trade one over to the other game (use someone else’s DS) and take red and blue orb and go to the spot where you caught Kyogre/Groudon Raquaza will be there

  17. well to catch giratina go near Rt 213 and go down then go between two trees then your in sendoff springs go left to ovid wild pokemon for 26 seconds theninn the top middle of sendoff springs the pokemons level are 52-65 buy 37 luskery balls and 26 dusk balls use kyoger and raquaza that are lv.91 and 1v.87. be careful giratina is lv.70. catch him now

  18. i have all the pokemon games and all dexes complete withiut action replay so ive got arceas girrntia shaymin/skyform to darkrai rayquaza zapdos lugia ho oh all the regis cresslia dusknoir electivire ryperrer and all the pokemon

    • how exactly did you do that because i need some stronger pokemon to beat the eliete four so if you live close to vancouver can you please trad me

      • lucario // July 13, 2010 at 1:17 pm //

        Do you have any other pokemon games? if so, you could trade your pokemon from one game to another. Even if the level’s not higher, they’ll grow faster. P.S. I’m also trying to beat the elite four, so reply if you want my team info.

    • its”oh-ho” not”ho-oh”!

  19. fyghbhjhngvnm // February 25, 2010 at 2:56 pm // Reply

    pokemon is the best I ever played

  20. My freind told me that you can catch Palkia and Dialga and Garitina on the Platinum Version! Is this true or not? PLEASE HELP

  21. I have a shaymin a lvl 100.
    I also know how to get a reggiegiges and arceus.
    Oh yeah I got the shaymin through a trade

    • can someone tell me how to catch regegigas.

      • u have to get all regis

      • unknown // May 22, 2010 at 1:18 pm //

        You first have to get all three reggie in pokemon ruby or sapphire then go to snowpoint city with all 3 reggie get past the maze then you will find him in the center of the room talk to him it will said when you gather ice,rock,and steel the king will appear.reggigigas will be on level 70

  22. ultimamarx12 // August 28, 2009 at 2:11 pm // Reply

    allright u can get arceus by getting the azure flute by using action replay, or u can get the azure flute by getting the mystery gift option and looking at it, u might get lucky and score an azure flute that way it depends on what event is going on, then go to mt. coronet top, and use the azure flute which will lead u to a set of stairs and to arceus as well…

  23. I have infernape on lv 84 dakrai on lv 99 giratina 73 ditto 35 dialga 61 and staraptor 46

  24. diamond is so better than pearl

  25. i want to play pokemon diamond games

  26. u can get the HM defog in the safari game go in it and see the first person u see and talk and u got defog

  27. needs more berrys

  28. besttrainer // July 14, 2009 at 2:25 pm // Reply

    I got everyone in the game shaymin girteana regis gallade rayqaza rotom darkri crseleia ps if you want to challenge me not acsepted

  29. I want to play pokemon games

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