Calling all Sinnoh Fans! After 15 long years of waiting, the Pokémon 4th-Generation remakes – Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl – were officially announced on February 26. Despite the plethora of mixed reviews, I have high hopes for the games.
The original games brought so much life into the gaming franchise on its then-new Nintendo DS platform. With performance competitions and underground mining, it was truly the Pokémon Sword and Shield of its day and age. And yet, there are concerns since the trailer’s reveal about the direction the remake has taken.
Now I admit, I’m a bit starry-eyed about Gen 4. Before getting my hands on the Sinnoh-region-experience, I had only played Pokémon Fire Red for the Nintendo Gameboy Advance and only remembered trying to beat the Elite Four. I had no concept of post-game content, or rather my passion hadn’t grown strong enough to take me beyond that initial challenge.
Either way, my fondest memories of the franchise grew when I acquired Pokémon Diamond. After beating the Elite Four, I was opened to a world of new content that I had to get my hands on – the Lake Pokémon, Riolu, Cresselia, Spiritomb, and other side-story Pokémon, Pokémon contests, Battle Frontier…
While keeping all of those wonderful in-game features in mind with recent mixed reviews, here are my hopes and dreams for the remakes.
Character customization is an absolute must. Before its debut in Pokémon X and Y, I always wished to have the main character look just like me, to personalize the experience.
I’m a little concerned that the trailer only revealed the original characters – Lucas and Dawn – and can only hope that they’ve managed to slot this upgrade in with everything else we’ve got in store.
At the very least, fingers crossed for costume choices.
The biggest qualm that came out of the trailer release was the graphics not getting the same treatment as Pokémon Sword and Shield. I agree it would have been an awesome upgrade to the game, but it may have not have been as feasible as we think. I’m no expert in game design, but I imagine changing the entire layout of the game would lead to extreme changes in navigating the overworld, in-game features, and other nostalgic elements. I could be wrong here, but that’s my amateur guess.
Regardless, this bigger, brighter, landscape with chibi-like character designs seems to meet somewhere in the middle of the two formats, and it honestly looks good! It looks like the Sinnoh region; it looks familiar.
I hope there is more color to the towns and routes, less green that crowded the individual towns, and more to do with the NPCs. I enjoyed navigating this setting, down to the music changes across day and night times and would love to see all of that again.
Include Post-Gen 4 Pokémon
It’d be ludicrous not to, right?
From the Pokémon Legends: Arceus trailer, we see Oshawott (Gen 5) and Rowlet (Gen 6) with Cyndaquill (Gen 3) as the starter choices for an adventure through the pre-modern Sinnoh era.
I can envision Pokémon from other regions now naturally popping up in Sinnoh the same way they are naturally included in Galar. Or, maybe they’ll only be accessible through rare events or a special occurrence triggered once the National Dex is completed. Whatever the case may be, it would be a missed opportunity if we didn’t see it.
Wild Area and Overworld Encounters
What’s happening with the wild area?
Are we reverting to the lurk-in-the-tall-grass scenario? I hope not. The overworld encounters are a much better experience, and I’m highly convinced that it’s a do-able feature. We saw some of this in Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! though the camera angle and navigation are more on-par with Sword and Shield. But it leads me to believe that some overworld encounters are possible.
Return of the Underground
The Underground feature came fully loaded with the ability to mine, set up traps, build a secret base, and more. This feature was teased in the trailer, but what will this look like? I remember running around to mine precious gems and minerals, trading them to buy items for my secret base. Unfortunately, I could never get the full enjoyment of running into other players since I was limited to my local surroundings – not many players in my neighborhood when I was a kid.
Though, I would love to see this piggyback off of Nintendo’s online network the same way Pokémon Sword and Shield does. In Sword and Shield, the wild area and den raids are experiences completely made when joining up with other players across the network. It’s such a smooth integration that the Underground Mining Feature could truly benefit from.
The Gen 4 games had special events and giveaways associated with DLC, especially for players in Japan. Rare and shiny Pokémon were distributed with special movie releases and pre-ordered tickets, regional tournaments, birthdays, and other special company-wide promotions. Luckily, all players have access to the extra giveaways with Sword and Shield’s use of mystery gifts. I would love to see that included in some way, further exciting the pokemon fan community.
Additionally, maybe we could get some extra expansion pass to a new part of Sinnoh, or an old region? I’d love to explore something entirely new through the downloadable content feature, with access to a rare Pokémon. Maybe this can replace the Azure flute and grant direct access to the Hall of Origins?
As a non-competitive battler, this was one of my favorite features of the Gen 4 games.
Though started in Gen 3 – Pokémon Sapphire, Ruby, and Emerald – the Gen 4 games truly enhanced the Pokémon contest feature. The contest rounds increased to three; the ranking round was upgraded to a fashion round and gave players the ability to gather items to dress their Pokémon; a dance round was introduced, and Pokéblock-preparing via the automatic Pokéblock Kit was replaced entirely with actual Poffin cooking on the Nintendo DS’s touch screen surface;
Overall, the Nintendo DS’s split-screen platform made the contest feature an interactive experience and I was disappointed not to see that again in Sword and Shield. It’s only a natural expectation that it makes a grand return with these Gen 4 remakes.
Seals, Seals, and More Seals!
This is a minor wish with a big impact. With so many colors and effects to choose from, seals made using your Pokémon all the more fun. Just bring them back. Please!
This snazzy little device included everything from a calendar to a coin tosser. Although going through the long list of apps was cumbersome, it was a cute feature that I’d like to see brought back because it’s so specific to Diamond/Pearl/Platinum.
I can easily see this appearing similar to the Y-Comm feature in Sword and Shield. Or maybe they take a page from a different Gen altogether and incorporate Rotom into the device like a Rotom Dex in Gen 6?
I do hope the functions are integrated seamlessly and are more relevant to the needs of the game – I don’t care for the color changer, the timer, the dot artists, and other miscellaneous features.
See a full list of apps here.
Another piece of the remake pulls from Pokémon Platinum – the inclusion of the battle frontier. As you may recall, the Battle Frontier was initially only available in Pokémon Platinum before being included as an upgraded feature to Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. With no mention of a Platinum remake, are we then getting access to the Battle Frontier in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl?
My theory is that the Battle Frontier can be another avenue for introducing Gen 5-8 Pokémon in a style, or at least in replacement of, the max-raid content we’re so used to from Sword and Shield, with the goal being to offer players more exposure to various Pokémon not native to Sinnoh.
Give us Giratina
As I mentioned, we’re not being told to expect a Platinum remake. However, as was the case with the Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire remakes, the third counterpart – Pokémon Emerald – was absorbed into the remake’s storyline where players had to catch the legendary Rayquaza, previously only offered in its solo game, to continue through the game. It wasn’t an option, and I can only hope for the same with Giratina.
Keep the Game Corner Alive
If you didn’t know, the Game Corner feature, located in Sinnoh’s Veilstone city, was discontinued after Gen 4 due to anti-gambling laws in kids products that had been passed. As a result, Pokémon has handled this by either discontinuing the feature or by saying that it was closed down in Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!.
I’d much rather see some sort of game feature in replace of the old content and think it’d be a great chance to bring back old-school Pokémon games such as those featured on the Pokemon Mini.
A game is supposed to surprise and delight players with new, exciting content, even if it’s a remake. There’s loads of talk about Mega Evolutions being involved, and I’m not opposed to that. I never had the chance to play Pokémon with Mega Evolutions involved, much less see the anime incorporate this. But for other players, I’m sure the craving for new content is super high.
And I can’t blame them!
The call for Gen 4 remakes has been going on for so long that, now that it’s finally being answered, we can’t help but assume that something new is in store. A pure remake with no new imaginative features is disheartening and would make the remake feel like a shallow attempt at just satisfying players.
We don’t want that.
We want a fully-committed remake with all of the bells and whistles of the Gen 4 games, and then some.
Is that too high to hope for? I certainly hope not.