Nostalgia can hit like a brick thrown from a strong arm. The Pokémon franchise is loved or loathed by all who know it and becomes more transgenerational with every entry.
Pokémon Diamond/Pearl Version, initially released in Japan on September 28, 2006, was the first main series Pokémon game to be release for the Nintendo DS. It was also the first Pokémon game that I dedicated myself to playing to completion. Given that I had never owned a game from the franchise or a DS for that matter, December of 2008 was life-changing if nothing else. Christmas came and went, but Pokémon had quickly set in to be one of my all time favourites for the Nintendo handheld. To this day, I can go back to my DS game cartridge and revisit old towns and listen to the soundtrack simply for the sake of going back in time to my initial play through. The experience is astounding and Game Freak should be applauded for the effect of their games.
Now for the game. It features the same formula as all Pokémon games. One choses their player gender and name, listen to the Professor’s ramblings, pick a starter and set off to become the Pokémon Master by beating all 8 gyms, the Elite Four, and ultimately face off against the reigning Champion of the region. The plot takes place in Sinnoh. A personal favourite as it features towns with varying climates and the soundtrack – given the system capabilities – was a huge upgrade from previous instalments in the franchise. Pokémon from previous games could be transferred over which made completing your collection easier. Multiplayer also received an upgrade since one could now use the DS Internet accessibility to wirelessly interact with other players. I never part took of this feature, however, so I cannot garner an opinion on its quality.
The story was by far they most exciting in a game I had played at the time. The characters were full, vibrant, and so well written. I was emotionally invested in the characters and their stories. Perhaps my favourite villains in the series by far. Team Galactic were truly fierce. Beating them at the end of the main storyline felt like a true victory. The leader also had such an effect in how his character was portrayed that I couldn’t help but sympathise with him since his character still seemed human, even though he was “evil”.
The Pokémon introduced in this game were wonderful. Their aesthetic was marvellous and it furthered the feeling of differentiating locales of the region. Where one could hunt for these creatures made sense with their typing and appearance. It made me want to search through every patch of grass available and I spent hours trying to fill my Pokédex just to see what the next entry would look like.
Overall, Pokémon Diamond/Pearl is a great game. It looks magnificent, it plays wonderfully, and the plot is rich with characters. The Sinnoh region is a surely recommended site. Besides the generic formula, the game does manage to stand out among other titles of the time. When you’ve the time, pick up Pokémon Diamond/Pearl and pay the Sinnoh region a visit. It’s truly worth it.