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Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl beginner’s guide, tips, and tricks

You’ll be an ace trainer in no time

An Ace Trainer as he appears in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Image: Game Freak, ILCA/The Pokémon Company via Polygon

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are the latest Pokémon titles, remaking the classic Nintendo DS games with flashy new graphics and some small tweaks. Whether you’re new to the franchise or this is your first time exploring the Sinnoh region, our Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl beginner’s guide will explain how to get started in Sinnoh, give tips on finding items, and remind you about important features.

Fuss with your settings first

Before you start on your journey, go into your options and set everything accordingly. You can adjust your text speed, battle speed, and volume settings. If you’re tired of seeing battle animations, you can turn those off, or if you want to speed up your playthrough, you can increase the text or battle speed. You can adjust these settings at any time, but it’s nice to start your journey with everything just the way you like it.

Know your strengths and weaknesses

Just like every other game in the franchise, attacks affect Pokémon differently, based on their type. Knowing each creature’s strengths and weaknesses will get you through difficult trainer battles. Refer to our Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl strength and weakness chart to figure out which attacks to use against rival trainers and which abilities you should watch out for.

Pick the best starter for you

At the start of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, you’ll have three Pokémon to choose from as your starter: Chimchar, Piplup, and Turtwig. Deciding which starter to pick will impact your journey. Turtwig is a good early-game option, while Chimchar is a great long-term option since the game doesn’t have many fire-types. Piplup is a good choice too, but you’ll run across many great water-types in this game, so you won’t have to rely on this starter’s type if you don’t want to.

When you have a partner, grind for EXP

Several times throughout Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, you’ll partner up with an NPC trainer to explore an area together. After every battle with this NPC, your Pokémon will get completely healed. This is a great chance to grind wild Pokémon and gain EXP for your team with free heals after every battle. Once you leave the area, the NPC will be gone, so take advantage while you can.

A female Ace Trainer and her Ponyta Image: The Pokémon Company/ILCA Inc via Polygon

Battle everyone you can

While this may seem obvious, battles aren’t just about earning the EXP. In Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, you register Pokémon in your Pokédex just by seeing them in battle. As long as you’re battling everyone and running into a variety of wild Pokémon, you should be able to complete your Pokédex — or come close to doing so — by the time you beat the Pokémon League.

Visit the underground for items and rare Pokémon

It’s easy to forget about the vast underground feature shortly after you unlock it, especially if you’re burning through gyms and the story. However, the underground is filled with tons of goodies and rare Pokémon that you can’t find on the surface, so visit it frequently.

Look for hidden items constantly

There are items littered everywhere on the ground in the Sinnoh region, but you can’t see most of them. While picking up the Poké Balls on the ground is an obvious tip, make sure you’re investigating suspiciously empty areas by pressing A or using the Dowsing Machine feature on your Pokétch. Patchy grassy areas like Route 206 are good examples of where to find tons of rare items, like Elixirs.