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Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl’s underground gets renovated

The remakes bring along changes from Pokémon Sword and Shield

dawn, from pokemon diamond and pearl, sitting in a dirt room filled with pokemon statues Image: The Pokémon Company/ILCA Inc
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are “faithful remakes” of their 2006 predecessors, Nintendo says. But those games were weird. And they were Nintendo DS games, after all, with features specific to its dual-screen hardware.

All this leaves fans wondering what from the original Pokémon Diamond and Pearl will make it to their Nintendo Switch remakes. From the 40 minutes of gameplay Polygon saw in a preview event, we can say that developer ILCA has preserved the quirks of the original games, while blending in quality-of-life updates from more recent entries like Pokémon Sword and Shield.

By and large, the game looks like it will bring a lot back from the originals. The preview showed Route 208, an early area of the game just outside a mountain, and looking at the area, we saw the route remade with all its normal landmarks and characters, except with updated graphics. Even quirkier features like the Pokétch, a smart watch with apps, have made their way to the remakes. In this game, you will be able to use the app to do things like count your steps, and leave notes using the Switch’s touch screen.

Quality-of-life features seen in Pokémon games on the Nintendo Switch make up the bulk of the changes we saw in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. The remakes get an autosave feature, for starters. In Pokémon battles, every Pokémon in your party gains experience after a battle, and you can swap Pokémon in and out of your storage system at any point, too. You’ll also no longer need Pokémon with specific Hidden Moves in your party to fly or ride on the water anymore. Say goodbye to needing one Bidoof that knows Surf, Cut, and Rock Smash!

There is also one tiny, but immensely important change in the battle menu: Your list of attacks will tell you how effective each move is. If you have a Pokémon that knows a water-type move and you’re facing a fire-type Pokémon, the menu will tell you that a water-type attack like “Water Gun” is, of course, super effective. Players no longer need to look up what’s super effective against what.

a pokemon character in a pokemon hideaway in the underground Image: The Pokémon Company/ILCA Inc

Diamond and Pearl’s special area, the Underground, will also change up in a pretty significant way. In the originals, players could mine for items and decorate a secret base there. While the remakes will preserve the mining mini game of the original, the secret base is swapped out for “Pokémon Hideaways,” little rooms where you can battle and catch Pokémon while exploring the tunnels.

Though the Underground still has secret bases, you will no longer be able to decorate them. Instead, you’ll fill out your base with Pokémon statues you collect while dowsing. Combinations of these statues will have special effects on the rest of the Underground. For instance, if you place three statues of bug-type Pokémon in your secret base, you’ll see more bug-types in the rooms elsewhere in the zone.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, by ILCA, Inc. and The Pokémon Company, launches Nov. 19 on Nintendo Switch.

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