Pokémon Brilliant Diamond

Earlier this year, as part of the Pokémon 25th anniversary event, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl were announced. These games are remastered and updated versions of the classic Nintendo DS games, Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl.

Ahead of the games’ launch on November 19, I was given the opportunity for a virtual first-look including a preview of the games with representatives from Nintendo. Come with me as I share what I learned during this exciting virtual event!

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl Details

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: ILCA
Publishers: Nintendo, The Pokémon Company
Genre: Role-playing
Modes: Single player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Mix of Old school nostalgia with modern features

As a newly minted Pokémon trainer you journey through the Sinnoh region to catch, battle and trade Pokémon with the goal of filling out your Pokédex and becoming the Pokémon League champion. Along the way you’ll unravel the myths of the Sinnoh region, encounter the legendary Pokémon Dialga and Palkia and foil the dastardly Team Galactic.

The scale of both Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl games have been faithfully reproduced with an added benefit of a graphical overhaul. Additionally, new features have been added. For example, in the original games, when you encounter a breakable rock you have to use a hidden move that you need to first teach your Pokémon. However, in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, you can simply walk up to the breakable item and use your Pokémon Watch. No longer do you have to teach a special move to your Pokémon and take up a slot in one of its four moves.

The Pokémon Watch is a smart device that comes in handy along your journey in the Sinnoh region. It has several “apps” such as hidden moves, calculator, memo pad, step counter, Pokémon party friendship checker, and an app to find hidden items around you.

Pokémon battle quality of life improvements

Pokémon battles have seen quality of life improvements as well. Characters are full sized, Pokémon are 3D, each move has its own unique animation and weather moves affect the background. The menu and user interface has been updated to that of modern Pokémon games such as Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.

Each of your Pokémon’s moves are rated (Effective, Super effective, etc.) to help you choose which move to use during battle. Furthermore, you can now, with the push of two buttons, use a quick menu to access your Pokéball.

In older Pokémon games, if you already had six Pokémon in your party, any additional Pokémon would automatically go in a box. Now, when you catch a Pokémon, you can choose if you want to add it to your party or send it to a box. Furthermore, after every battle, all Pokémon in your party will receive experience points regardless if they battled or not. Though, those Pokémon who did participate in battle will receive a little bit more experience points. These are just a few of the Pokémon battle quality of life improvements and updates in both Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond

Pokémon Super Contest Shows

Pokémon Super Contest Shows are fun competitions to pass the time, which take place in the Sinnoh region. You and up to three other friends, via local wireless or online connectivity, can participate. These contests are unique to Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl as they are different in design as opposed to the original games. Each Pokémon has their own  conditions or characteristics such as cuteness, cleverness, coolness etc.

By giving your Pokémon a Poffin, it will enhance any, or in some instances all, of those conditions. There are many different types and ranks of Pokémon Super Contest Shows to choose from. You’ll then choose which Pokémon you want to enter into the contest and which attack they will have. Next, you’ll choose a Ball Capsule which can be decorated with various stickers that you find throughout your journey.

Essentially, Pokémon Super Contest Shows are mini-rhythm games. Your Pokémon dances along to the rhythm and you must time your button presses with moving icons along the bottom of the screen. As you successfully time your button presses, your grove bar along slowly fills up. Winning a contest will net you some stickers to decorate your Ball Capsule.

The Grand Underground

The final part of the demo showcased the Grand Underground. This is an update from the original games. It can be accessed anywhere in the Sinnoh region if you are not in a building or cave. To access the Grand Underground you’ll need to use your explorer kit, which you get early on in the game. As you progress through the game you’ll be able to access different parts of the Grand Underground.

At first glance, the Grand Underground seems very similar to that of the Underground in the original games. However, simply by expanding the map, you’ll see that the Grand Underground is a very interconnected series of tunnels. There are even digging mini games to play in which you can earn spheres. You can use these spheres to trade with other characters you encounter in the Grand Underground for items.

Brand new to Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl are hideaways. These are places where you can see the Pokémon you are going to encounter. Moreover, you’ll find many Pokémon in these hideaways that you can’t find in the same place above ground.

Secret Bases return! In the original games you could collect various accessories and place them in Secret Bases. Sadly, in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl you cannot. However, you can decorate your base with special Pokémon statues, which you sometimes get from playing the digging mini-games. Each statue has an effect or perk for certain types of Pokémon. And, if you place the statues that are all the same type you will increase your probability of seeing that type of Pokémon the next time you enter a Pokémon Hideaway.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl launch November 19, 2021 on Nintendo Switch

It’s clear to see that a great deal of work has been put into both Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl. Not only to keep them as faithful as possible to the originals, but to also update and modernize them for a whole new generation to enjoy.

You won’t have to wait long to get your hands on these blockbuster games. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl launch on November 19 for the Nintendo Switch! You can expect a review at launch right here on the Best Buy Blog.

Let me know in the comments section below if you played the original games. Are looking forward to Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl? Who are your favourite Pokémon?

Pre-order Pokémon Brilliant Diamond or Pokémon Shining Pearl on Switch
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Jon Scarr
Jon is the Gaming Editor and is based in Toronto. He is a proud Canadian who has a serious passion for gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry with over 20 years experience. You can often find Jon streaming the latest games on his YouTube channel. Jon loves to talk about gaming and tech, come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Threads @4ScarrsGaming and @4Scarrsgaming on Instagram.


  1. I don’t remember playing the original games as I didn’t have DS and by the time I got a 3DS older games like Pokémon were difficult for me to find. I am looking forward to these games, I have the double pack pre ordered, as it will be a brand new experience. Thanks for the preview I enjoyed reading about the quality of life improvements and other aspects coming to the game.

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