When people think of Pokemon, they think of cute, cuddly anime creatures with elemental powers fighting each other and dumb humans who are hell-bent on capturing them. In truth, the franchise, now in it's 11th year in production, is still going strong, stronger than most game series out there. With Pokemon Diamond/Pearl, the latest and first installment on the nintendo DS, the series takes another leap into some minor innovations, and is arguably the best game on the little system.
The game does not have any graphical overhauls to be blunt. The sprites are still in vibrant 2-D, the item pages still 2-D, and the battles are still 2-D. The only 3-D comes from the world, which now has a sprawling 3D landscape, reminiscent of Animal Crossing, Wild World.
While the game does not sport any fancy graphics, the animations, it actually retains the classic feel of the game easily. True, I think 3-D pokemon in a handheld would be great, but at the same time, it could be looked as horiffic or grainy on the DS. Despite that, if the world uses 3-D graphics, the sprites and battles should to...
Final Score- B
Pokemon is one of the deepest RPG strategy games in the world. 496 creatures, thousands of attack combinations, numerous bonus items, the game has it all. So the strategy elements are still there, and have been revamped even more. Attacks are now divided between physical and special abilities, not based on type, but based on actual contact. So a firepunch would count as a physical attack, while psychic would be special. This adds a whole new element of strategy, and changes the rules of the game from the past installments.
Another great addition,and arguably the greatest edition, is the Nintendo WiFi connection. You now can battle, trade, and even explore a dungeon on the WiFi system, adding even more possibilities for the game. While you need friend codes to do this, forums around the world are teeming with friend codes for the DS, making this a non-issue. The addition to the WiFi dungeon also add some game elements, as you can make your secret base, dig for treasure, and even capture an elusive pokemon this way.
Whats even better is the touch screen additions. Battling, pokedex manipulation, time, and other nifty new or remade features are utilized with the touchscreen. This makes battling easier, and the menus more managable. Bringing back the day/night system, the beautry contests and all of the other additions to the franchise, the game has improved greatly since it's conception.
The only true flaw is that it's the same adventure. The same journey that fans of the series have played numerous times before. The evil team, now called Galaxy, the gym leaders, the elite four, all of them are the same gameplay mechanics from the original game. It would be nice to see a change in this style a bit, perhaps add more gyms, or acess to the other regions in the world, Kanto, Jhoto, Hoenn, Orre, etc. That would be a great game, battling other gym leaders, and making it to a large, 200 plus person tournament at the Pokemon League Cup.
Regardless, the minor flaws are not annoying, and they don't take away anything from the experience of the game. Pokemon Diamond is as perfect as you can get in the handheld, or even the gaming, world.
Final Score- A+
The music and sound effects have the classic "GBA" feel, but honestly it could be done better. Like the graphics, the sound bites are all classicy, but really don't fit the bill, necessarily, on the DS. I can understand why Gamefreak stuck with their roots, but they need to update the game for the current generations sooner or later, so hopefully this occurs with the next installment in the series.
Final Score- C
There is a reason why Pokemon is one of the largest and most successful franchises in the world today. The gameplay elements are so fun, so addicting, that you can almost overlook any flaws the game has and enjoy yourself fully. Pokemon is perhaps one of the top 10 franchises in video games in the world, and thanks to the high quality of the gameplay, it will continue to be ranked so high for another 10 years.
Final Score- A
Overall Score- A-