Pokémon Diamond and Pearl
|Publisher(s)||The Pokémon Company|
Pokémon Diamond Version and Pearl Version[a] are role-playing games (RPGs) developed by Game Freak, published by The Pokémon Company and Nintendo for the Nintendo DS. They are the first installments in the fourth generation of the Pokémon series. They were first released in Japan on September 28, 2006, they were later released to North America, Australia, and Europe over the course of 2007. Pokémon Platinum, a special edition version, was released two years later in each region.
Like previous Pokémon games, Diamond and Pearl chronicle the adventures of a young Pokémon trainer as he/she trains and battles Pokémon while also thwarting the schemes of a criminal organization. The games add many new features, such as Internet play over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and changes to battle mechanics and Pokémon Contests, along with addition of 107 new Pokémon. The games are independent of each other but feature largely the same plot and while both can be played separately, it is necessary to trade between them in order to complete the games' Pokédexes.
Development of Diamond and Pearl was announced at a Nintendo Press conference in the fourth calendar quarter of 2004. The games were designed with features of the DS. It was forecasted to be released in Japan in 2005, but was shipped in 2006. In promotion of the games, Nintendo sold a limited-edition Nintendo DS Lite in Japan, and held a release party celebrating their North American release.
The games received generally favorable reviews. Most critics praised the addition of Wi-Fi features and felt that the gameplay, though it had not received much updating from previous games, was still engaging. Reviewers were divided on the graphics, however, and the audio was criticized as being primitive. The games enjoyed more commercial success than their Game Boy Advance predecessors: with around 18 million units sold worldwide, Diamond and Pearl have sold over 2 million more units than Ruby and Sapphire and almost 6 million more units than FireRed and LeafGreen, while outselling their successors, Black and White, by over 2 million copies.
Pokémon Diamond and Pearl are role-playing games with adventure elements. The basic mechanics of the games are largely the same as their predecessors. As with all Pokémon games for handheld consoles, gameplay is in third-person overhead perspective, and consists of three basic screens: a field map, in which the player navigates the main character; a battle screen; and the menu, in which the player configures his or her party, items, or gameplay settings. The player begins the game with no Pokémon or Poké Balls, but is given the choice of three Pokémon as a part of the story line. Once Pokéballs are obtained, the player can capture more Pokémon using Pokéballs. The player can also use his/her Pokémon to do damage to the other Pokémon. Whenever the player encounters a wild Pokémon or is challenged by a trainer to a battle, the screen switches to a turn-based battle screen where the Pokémon fight. During battle, the player may fight, use an item, switch the active Pokémon, or flee (the last not an option in battles against trainers). All Pokémon have hit points (HP); whenever a Pokémon's HP is reduced to zero, it faints and cannot battle unless revived at a Pokémon center or with an item. If the player's Pokémon defeats the opposing Pokémon (causes it to faint), it receives experience points. After accumulating enough experience points, it can level up; most Pokémon evolve into a new species of Pokémon whenever they reach a certain level. Pokémon's stats also increase every time it levels up, and they will also learn new moves as well. If the player cancels an evolution the Pokémon will learn new moves faster.
Apart from battling, capturing Pokémon is the most important element of Pokémon gameplay. Although other trainers' Pokémon cannot be captured, the player can use different kinds of Poké Balls on a wild Pokémon during battle. A successful capture adds the Pokémon to the player's active party or stores it if the player already has the maximum of six Pokémon. Factors in the success rate of capture include the HP of the target Pokémon and the strength of the Poké Ball used; the lower the target's HP and the stronger the Poké Ball, the higher the success rate of capture is. Also, inflicting certain status effects such as sleep or paralysis adds a multiplier to the capture rate, making it easier to capture wild Pokémon. Each species has a capture rate of its own as well.
As with other generations of Pokémon games, Diamond and Pearl retained the basic gameplay of their predecessors while introducing additional new features. Increased from three times of day in Gold and Silver, there are five time periods in Diamond and Pearl: morning, day, afternoon, evening, and night.[fn 1] Diamond and Pearl introduced several changes to battle mechanics. In previous generations, Pokémon moves were classified as "physical" or "special" based on their type; for example, all Fire-type moves were special and all Ground-type moves were physical. In Diamond and Pearl, however, moves are categorized into three groups. Attacks that make physical contact with the opponent are "physical", attacks that do not make physical contact are "special", and moves that do not deal damage directly are classified as "status".
Some of the games' new features capitalize on the Nintendo DS's features. The Pokétch (ポケッチ Poketchi), a simulated smartwatch, uses the DS's bottom screen and hosts applications including a clock, a calculator, a map, a counter, and a drawing pad. These applications are obtained throughout the game. Beneath Sinnoh's surface is the Underground (ちかつうろ Chikatsūro), a large area used for wireless multiplayer gaming;[fn 2] in it, players can create and decorate secret bases (first featured in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire) and participate in minigames. The items mined in the Underground can then be transferred into the player's bag in the main game.Diamond and Pearl also employ support for the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection (discontinued), allowing players to communicate through voice chat, trade, and battle online. The main system for trade is the Global Trade Station (which for Pokemon art director Ken Sugimori was the new feature he was most pleased with), that allows players to trade with people around the world. Players can search for any Pokémon that they have seen in the game and can offer their own; if another player is offering the requested Pokémon and is looking for the offered Pokémon, the trade occurs immediately. (The trade does not have to be instant; an offer can be left for other players to browse and complete, even while the player is offline.) Certain species of Pokémon traded internationally will have a Pokédex entry in the language of the game it originated from.
Diamond and Pearl's Pokémon Contests (events in which the player's Pokémon compete in a show to win ribbons) consist of three stages, two more than the Contests of the Game Boy Advance games. In the Visual Competition stage, players use the Nintendo DS's touchscreen to place accessories on their Pokémon to boost a particular trait, such as "Cool" or "Cute", and earn points. In the Dance Competition stage, the player must tap buttons on the touchscreen in rhythm with the music. The final stage, Acting Competition, is similar to Pokémon Contests of the Game Boy Advance games; Pokémon use their moves to appeal to the judges and crowd. Like Pokéblocks in the third-generation games, baked goods called Poffins can be made from berries and fed to Pokémon in order to boost a particular trait, and therefore, the likelihood of success in a relevant Contest.
Connectivity to other devices
In addition to compatibility with each other, Diamond and Pearl offer compatibility with the Game Boy Advance Pokémon RPGs, Pokémon Ranger, and Pokémon Battle Revolution. After earning the National Pokédex in Diamond and Pearl, the player can "Migrate" Pokémon from the Game Boy Advance games to Diamond and Pearl by inserting a Game Boy Advance cartridge into the Game Boy Advance cartridge slot of the Nintendo DS while Diamond or Pearl is in the DS slot. After six Pokémon are uploaded from the cartridge, they are sent to the Pal Park, an area where the player can capture the transferred Pokémon.[fn 3] Pokémon uploads are restricted to six every twenty-four hours per Game Boy Advance cartridge, and the player must capture the uploaded Pokémon before performing another transfer. Pokémon transferred to Diamond and Pearl this way cannot be sent back to a Game Boy Advance cartridge. After completing a special mission in Pokémon Ranger, the player will be able to send a Manaphy egg or Riolu from Ranger to Diamond or Pearl. Finally, players can wirelessly upload Pokémon from Diamond and Pearl to the Wii games Pokémon Battle Revolution and My Pokémon Ranch. DS players can also connect to the Internet and "battle" with other players around the world. They can use "DS Wireless" to play with people within approximately 5 m. They can also play underground (for example, steal flags, find spheres and set traps).
Diamond and Pearl are set in the fictional region of Sinnoh, an island based on the Japanese island of Hokkaidō. Sinnoh is probably not directly connected to any other region in the Pokémon universe, much like Hoenn. It is characterized by large, snow-covered mountains (Mt. Coronet, a part of a mountain range, divides Sinnoh in half). In this game, the starters are the grass-type Turtwig, the fire-type Chimchar, and the water-type Piplup. Turtwig can evolve into Grotle and then into Torterra, Chimchar can evolve into Monferno and then into Infernape, and Piplup can evolve into Prinplup and then into Empoleon. Unlike other regions, Sinnoh has a "northern" feel to it because it is the only region with snow-covered routes. Sinnoh is also characterized by its waterways; it has three main lakes (Verity, Acuity, and Valor) that form a triangle. Unlike the Hoenn region, however, which is mostly water routes, only 30 percent of Sinnoh's landscape comprises waterways. Underneath Sinnoh's surface is the Sinnoh Underground, which is a large maze of caves and tunnels.
The games chronicle the adventures of a new Pokémon trainer who strives to become the Pokémon League Champion by collecting and training Pokémon. Like most games in the series, Diamond and Pearl feature eight Pokémon gyms led by Gym Leaders, professional trainers whose expertise lies in a particular Pokémon type. Gym Leaders (Roark, Gardenia, Maylene, Crasher Wake, Fantina, Byron, Candice, and Volkner) serve as bosses and reward skilled trainers with Gym Badges, key to the advancement of the plot. As all core games, the protagonist must also thwart the schemes of a crime syndicate (and here, it is Team Galactic), who plans to use Pokémon to create a new universe just for themselves, while destroying the current one.
Like all other Pokémon RPGs, Diamond and Pearl begin in the protagonist's hometown. After viewing a television report about a media-conducted search for a Red Gyarados, which was spotted at a faraway lake (Johto's Lake of Rage), the protagonist and his or her best friend (named Barry by default) travel together to check the local lake for a Pokémon like it. They spot Professor Rowan, a Pokémon evolution researcher, and his assistant, the playable character not selected in the game: Lucas (boy) or Dawn (girl). After a short discussion, the professor and his assistant leave the lake, leaving a briefcase behind. When they are attacked by wild Starly, the protagonist and his or her rival examine the case. The player is then given a choice among the three Pokémon found in the briefcase (Turtwig, Chimchar, or Piplup) with which to battle the Starly. After defeating the Starly, Lucas or Dawn retrieves and returns the briefcase to the professor. Noticing that a bond has been forged between the young protagonist and his or her chosen Pokémon, Rowan offers it to him or her, asking that he or she embark on a journey and fill his or her Pokédex.
The protagonist encounters the antagonistic team, Team Galactic, early in the game, when he or she must save Professor Rowan from some of their thugs; however, their motives are unclear until later. The protagonist encounters the Team twice (when it takes over a wind farm and when it sets up a base in Eterna City) before it takes over Sinnoh's three lakes in an attempt to capture the Mirage Pokémon (Uxie, Azelf, and Mesprit). Shortly after the player earns his or her seventh Gym Badge, Team Galactic captures the Mirage Pokémon and imprisons them inside the science laboratory of the Team Galactic Headquarters Building, where its members extract crystals from the Pokémon to create the Red Chain, an object that can control the legendary Pokémon Palkia (in Pearl) or Dialga (in Diamond) (both in Pokémon Platinum, though Giratina appears after this). After releasing the trio, the protagonist is able to access Spear Pillar, an ancient ruin atop Mt. Coronet, where the leader of Team Galactic summons Dialga or Palkia. The legendary Pokémon's powers begin to overwhelm Sinnoh, causing the newly free Uxie, Azelf, and Mesprit to attempt to stop it. The player then battles Palkia/Dialga; after defeating or capturing the Pokémon, Sinnoh returns to normal. After this, the player will continue, eventually battling the Sinnoh Region Pokémon League's Elite Four: Aaron, Bertha, Flint, and Lucian. After defeating all four members, the player will battle the Sinnoh League champion, a woman named Cynthia, who had appeared before in the game. If the protagonist beats Cynthia, he or she is the new Sinnoh League champion, beating the game. After the player beats the game, there is a new island to explore that is filled with other types of Pokémon. His or her old friend, who challenged him or her to battles multiple times before, will be waiting for him or her here. The old friend will challenge the player to another battle. On this island, there are also stores and a tournament center.
Development and release
With Pokémon Dash's release and the release date of the Nintendo DS, the development of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl was announced at a Nintendo Press conference in the fourth calendar quarter of 2004. Junichi Masuda at Game Freak developed the titles, saying it would "become a new type of game that offers a number of new forms of play" and that he was determined to create "the ultimate [Pokémon] version". Though Diamond and Pearl were expected to be released in Japan by 2005, Nintendo revealed that the developers were still working on aspects of the gameplay and that the games would not be released until 2006. The company said that Diamond and Pearl would be able to communicate with Pokémon games for the Game Boy Advance, allowing players to transfer their Pokémon to the new games. Nintendo also announced that the games would make full use of the Wi-Fi capabilities of the DS, allowing 16 players to communicate wirelessly at one time. Further information concerning the games was not released until mid 2006, when Nintendo President Satoru Iwata mentioned that connectivity with Pokémon Battle Revolution was also still in development; new features such as the Pokétch and time sensitivity were also mentioned.
According to Pokémon co-creator Ryan Long, the games were designed with the DS's unique features in mind, such as the Wi-Fi capabilities and slot for Game Boy Advance cartridges. The command buttons in the battle screen are large and color-coded; according to Masuda, this feature would facilitate gameplay for players unable to read. Also, the touchscreen interface was designed to encourage players to use their fingers rather than the stylus to manipulate the screen. Though most of the graphics in Diamond and Pearl are 2D, some of the background elements are 3D. The decision to retain 2D graphics in Diamond and Pearl drew criticism; in response, Tsunekazu Ishihara said that "we wanted to maintain the original idea of Pokémon being a game that you played on this big map" and explained that physically, the games were in three dimensions but was designed to "maintain the original feel of the game". Responding to criticism over the use of Friend Codes in the games, Ishihara explained that it was a security measure taken to ensure that players would not be able to chat with strangers over the Wi-Fi connection. Nintendo released a statement detailing glitches found in Japanese releases of Diamond and Pearl. The glitches caused players to be stuck in an in-game wall or lose saved data. Nintendo has released patches to certain retailers in Japan to fix these glitches.
The games were released in Japan on September 28, 2006. To commemorate the release, Nintendo sold a limited-edition DS Lite in Japanese Pokémon Center stores and through the Pokémon fan club by mail. The consoles featured the games' mascots Dialga and Palkia painted in silver and gold respectively on a metallic black finish. On December 20, 2006, Nintendo of America announced that the North American release of the games was slated for April 22, 2007, and that those who pre-ordered their copies of the games would receive special DS styluses branded with some of the new Pokémon. Shortly before the games' North American release, The Pokémon Company presented a limited demo of the games for Nintendo's booth at the Game Developer's Conference. To celebrate the games' North American release, Nintendo held a release party at the Nintendo World Store in New York City's Rockefeller Plaza. Nintendo of Europe announced a release date of July 27, 2007, for the European Union, and Nintendo Australia announced a June 21 release date. A launch event was held in GAME stores at Hamleys to celebrate the European release of the games. The event, held on July 26, 2007, offered a chance to purchase the games one day before their official release date and featured an appearance by band McFly. To celebrate the Australian release of the games, Nintendo launched the nationwide Nintendo DS Connection Tour 07; each stop in the tour featured events such as Pokémon Trading Card Game competitions and Pokémon trivia games.
The success of the games revived the popularity of the Pokémon brand. George Harrison, then Nintendo of America's vice president of marketing, noted that the games were attracting "players of all ages"—from younger children to "grown men and women" and older players who "played the original Pokémon games". As a result, Pokémon USA opened a temporary boutique in the Times Square Toys "R" Us that sold exclusively Pokémon licensed merchandise including Jakks Pacific-created action figures, plush toys, backpacks, and clothing. Ronald Boire, president of Toys "R" Us, stated that the store planned to open temporary boutiques in all 585 of its domestic locations. Other Pokémon merchandise includes a BattleDome Playset and a talking Pokédex. Additionally, Pokémon USA partnered with Burger King in 2008 to launch a promotional campaign in which Burger King included exclusive Pokémon trading cards and accessories with Kids Meals. The promotion lasted from July 7 to August 3 in the United States and continued through the fall internationally.
Nintendo DS Pokémon Diamond & Pearl Super Music Collection is a two-disc soundtrack featuring music scored by Hitomi Sato and Junichi Masuda under the supervision of Go Ichinose, with a few other fanfares composed by Morikazu Aoki. The album, released in Japan on December 22, 2006, peaked at #253 on Japan's Oricon charts and charted for one week.
Pokémon Diamond and Pearl garnered slightly higher ratings than FireRed and LeafGreen and Ruby and Sapphire. The Japanese version of the games have an 85 out of 100 on Metacritic and an 85% ("generally favorable reviews") on GameRankings. The highest score given was a 92 by UK Official Nintendo Magazine, while the lowest was a 67 by Game Revolution. Ryan Davis of GameSpot gave the games an 8.5/10 ("Great") and called the games "the most well-rounded Pokémon games to date." IGN and GameZone also gave the games an 8.5/10. The UK Official Nintendo Magazine gave the games 92%, and GameSpy gave them a 4.5/5. The games received slightly lower reviews from ComputerAndVideoGames.com than Ruby/Sapphire had, but earned an "A-" grade from 1UP.com, an improvement from Ruby/Sapphire's "B-".
Most reviewers felt that though the gameplay and storyline had not changed much since the first games, Diamond and Pearl were still engaging. Ryan Davis of GameSpot said, "[I]t's a little surprising how well the formula holds up in Diamond and Pearl, which is a testament to the strong fundamentals of the series as well as the quality of the execution." The games' Wi-Fi connectivity also earned largely positive reviews. 1UP.com called the addition of wireless connectivity the games' "biggest improvements". GameSpot and GameSpy both listed the addition of online play as one of the positive points of the games and called the system "robust" and "probably the most significant new feature." ComputerAndVideoGames.com said of the Global Trade Center, "Suddenly, Pokémon feels properly alive for the first time since playgrounds were abuzz with monsters in the late '90s – and you'll instantly forgive Game Freak their technical stubbornness the first time you switch on your DS and find the level 100 Munchlax you craved is on your cart."
The graphics generally received positive reviews. GameSpot praised the blend of 2D and 3D graphics, and GameZone said that the graphics were "better than what I had originally imagined" and that "a Pokemon title hasn't ever looked this good on a handheld." GameSpy felt that the graphics, though simple, made the game "a pleasure to explore". ComputerAndVideoGames.com, however, said that "the so-called '3D' isn't up to much: it's just a viewpoint shuffle, with DS's gutsy engine taking a nice long nap between the odd hypnotic windfarm or fog effect." The audio was not so well-received: IGN felt that the cries made by the Pokémon "still screech with the flair of the original Game Boy" and that the music, while "more advanced", was "not much beyond [Game Boy Advance] quality". GameZone also felt that the sounds had not been updated, saying "This [the audio] is the only area that hasn't taken one step forward. It remains stagnant and doesn't show any progression over the GBA titles". GameSpot cited the games' "recycled" sounds as one of the negative points.
First released in Japan in 2006, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl have the most successful launch week of games in the Pokémon series, and the best launch week for any Nintendo DS game for the country alone. Within forty-six days, the games sold three million units, becoming the fastest DS games to do so; by the end of the year, the number increased to five million units in just under three months, making Diamond and Pearl the best-selling Pokémon games in Japan. In the United States, pre-orders for Diamond and Pearl passed 533,000, almost twice the pre-sale numbers for FireRed and LeafGreen. Within five days of release, the games sold around one million copies and were the fastest-selling Pokémon games ever until the release of Pokémon Platinum. The games were the seventh-best-selling video games of 2007, with around 4.27 million units sold in the United States; in early 2009 sales passed 5.3 million units. As of September 30, 2017, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl combined have sold 17.67 million copies worldwide, making their sales totals around one million higher than those of Ruby/Sapphire and around six million higher than those of FireRed/LeafGreen. The games also boosted sales of hardware in the United States, spurring the sales of 471,000 DS units and causing the sales of video games in April 2007 to rise 20% from April 2006. In Europe, the games sold around 1.6 million units within just seven weeks of their release and topped the charts in Spain, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Additionally, there have been more than 10 million Pokémon trades via Wi-Fi. At G4's G-phoria 2007, the games won "Best Handheld Game", and were nominated for "Best RPG". In 2008 Pokémon Diamond and Pearl were nominated for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Children's Kids Vote Award. In IGN's Best of 2007 Awards, Diamond and Pearl were named the best online multiplayer games and the best RPG games. In the 2006 Famitsu Game Awards, Diamond and Pearl won the Best Hit award and tied with Final Fantasy XII for the Game of the Year award.
Pokémon Platinum Version (ポケットモンスタープラチナ Poketto Monsutā Purachina, "Pocket Monsters: Platinum") is an enhanced version of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS handheld game console. It was released on September 13, 2008 in Japan, March 22, 2009 in North America, May 14, 2009 in Australia, and May 22, 2009 in Europe. The developers made Platinum with the intent of making it a stronger version of Diamond and Pearl, which they described as the "ultimate" Pokémon titles.
Pokémon Platinum has been met with generally positive reception, holding aggregate scores of 84 and 83.14% at Metacritic and GameRankings respectively. It was praised for the additions and changes made to Diamond and Pearl by publications such as IGN, Nintendo Power, and GamePro, though it has been criticized for being too similar to them. IGN included it as the ninth best Nintendo DS game ever made, as well as nominating it as one of the best DS role-playing games of 2009. It was the fastest-selling game in Japan at the time, selling 7.06 million copies by May 7, 2010.
Pokémon Battle Revolution
Pokémon Battle Revolution (ポケモンバトルレボリューション Pokémon Batoru Reboryūshon) is the first Wii incarnation of the Pokémon video game franchise. It is also the first Wii game to use the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection in North America and Japan and the first Wii game to wirelessly interact with the Nintendo DS handheld.
My Pokémon Ranch
My Pokémon Ranch (みんなのポケモン牧場 Minna no Pokemon Bokujō, Everyone's Pokémon Ranch) is a Wii game developed by Ambrella and released via the WiiWare download service. First released on March 25, 2008, in Japan, it was later made available in North America on June 9, 2008, and in Europe on July 4, 2008, for 1000 Wii Points. Like the GameCube's Pokémon Box, Ranch allows players to store and arrange Pokémon from Diamond and Pearl. Pokémon transferred from those games are rendered in 3D and can interact with the player's Miis. Although given positive reviews by parents and children, it was received very poorly by critics, who criticized it for its graphics, one responding "I can't even tell what these things are! I bet the children can't either!".
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