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6 great quality-of-life changes in the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl remakes

Here’s what’s coming down the pipeline

two characters from brilliant diamond and shining pearl on the screen. one has an exclamation point over her head. 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 bring a fresh coat of chibi paint to two beloved Pokémon games from the Nintendo DS era. While much has stayed the same — many sections boast a one-to-one recreation of the earlier games, and minigames like the beauty contests will return — the game will bring plenty of gameplay changes. And lots of these updates are quality-of-life improvements.

These changes, although minor, can seriously influence the way people will play the games. These include details like whether or not the entire team gets experience from battling, which can make a difference in the overall difficulty of the game. So here’s a round up of these quality-of-life improvements, along with a few features that didn’t get modernized.


This game has an auto-save feature. Now, each time you enter or leave a route or building, the game will automatically save and show a “Now saving ...” message in the upper-right corner. You can still manually save in the menu and if you’d like, and you can turn auto saving off in case you’re worried about saving where you don’t intend to. (Like after accidentally killing a legendary Pokémon.)

Battles now show type differences

After you beat a Pokémon for the first time, the attack menu screen will show how effective each type is on it. So if you’re picking an attack it’ll say if it’s “effective,” “super effective,” and so on.

a image of a pokemon battle in shinning pearl Image: The Pokémon Company/ILCA Inc via Polygon

Access to Pokémon PC anywhere

Now, like in more recent games, you can swap your Pokémon in and out of your PC at any point. There’s no need to go all the way to a Pokémon Center to change who’s in your party.

Using Hidden Moves (HMs) on Pokétch

In this and other mainline Pokémon games, you’ll run into obstacles like trees or rocks that require a Pokémon knowing a special move, called a Hidden Move, to remove the barrier. (For example, Rock Smash will destroy a boulder blocking a path.) It’s a clever way to guide the player along a specific path and keep certain content locked until the trainer is ready.

In the originals, you needed to keep a Pokémon that knows that move in your party at all times. Meaning, if you ran into a specific obstacle, but didn’t have a Pokémon who knew how to remove it, you’d be out of luck. In the remakes, you now no longer need to bring Pokémon with HMs along. There’s a new Pokétch application that allows you to use unlocked HMs whenever, regardless of which moves your in-party Pokémon know.

Experience Share

All Pokémon in your party get experience points (EXP), regardless of whether they battled or not.

The pause screen tells you where to go next

Your map now has a flag showing you where your next destination is, as well as clear, written directions like “Travel South on Cycling Road” when you pause your game. The written directions are helpful, especially when you need to look for someone specific within a town.

a menu in pokemon brilliant diamond and pearl. the text in the dialog reads” Defeat Fantina at the Hearthome Gym!” Image: The Pokémon Company/ILCA Inc via Polygon

What’s not there

There are some notable gaps in which features were updated for the Switch, and which features stayed true to the original Diamond and Pearl. For starters, the Technical Machines (TMs) that teach your Pokémon attacks are single-use again. This is in line with the original Diamond and Pearl, but not with more recent games on the Switch.

In addition to this, the remakes don’t add any additional non-playable characters that heal your Pokémon. Many more recent games often includes characters outside the Pokémon Center that can heal your Pokémon, but in these games, they didn’t add any. So depending on how prepared you are to take on a cave, route, or building full of Team Galactic grunts, you might find yourself running back and forth from the Pokémon Center to keep your Pokémon in good shape.

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