Category Archives: Pokemon

Fan Trailer Shows What the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Remakes Would Look Like With a Huge Boost in Quality

When the trailer dropped for the upcoming Pokémon remakes, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, just about everyone was underwhelmed.

(blank stare)

The Pokémon fandom is pretty awesome, and one among them decided to produce a fan trailer for the upcoming D&P remakes. The result looks like what one might expect from the single highest-grossing intellectual property of all time, if produced by a company so rich that they don’t need to turn to a bank to finance their own projects:

The trailer looks like it’s for a video game that would be worth $60. That’s pretty impressive, considering that it was made within days of the official trailer.

Isn’t it something special that one fan could pull off in days what a team of professional game developers with years of experience did not?

In fact, it makes one wonder why the professionals didn’t even bother. In light of this, I’ve come up with a theory: What if the official trailer for Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl is actually showing us Cyrus’ world?

Cyrus (pictured above) is the antagonist of the original Sinnoh games. His ambition was to reshape the universe to eliminate concepts like human emotion, which he viewed to be flawed and incomplete.

In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Giovanni formed a group called Team Rainbow Rocket, which was composed of leaders from other teams which were taken from grimdark parallel universes where those team leaders actually succeeded.

If the official trailer for Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl showed us what the world would look like if Cyrus succeeded, it would go a long way in explaining why the humans in that interpretation of the Sinnoh games look so unimaginative and unexpressive.

(blank stare)

Somewhere out there, someone let their save file for Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum sit for like ten years, without beating Team Galactic. Therefore, Cyrus seized the opportunity to bring his vision of a world of Nendoroids to life.

That’s why you beat your video games, kids.

(halp)

ILCA, the Developers of the Upcoming Pokémon D&P Remakes, Made a Miku AR App

You may have already heard of ILCA, the company collaborating with GameFreak to make the upcoming Pokémon remakes, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. The artistic direction of these games, still in development, has gotten to be rather controversial in the Pokémon community.

Understandably.

You may have already been aware that the company was involved with some big-name games, such as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and Dragon Quest XI.

But what you might not be aware of is that ILCA is the company behind an AR (Augmented Reality) app that was part of a collab between Hatsune Miku and Domino’s Pizza in Japan.

If you’ve never heard of Hatsune Miku, welcome to current year, things must have been pretty dull beneath that rock. But if the name is unfamiliar, there’s a strong likelihood you’ll have at least seen the character herself in the back of Suncoast or wherever. She looks like this:

As part of the promotion, Domino’s Pizza produced a special pizza box in Japan. This box, when scanned by the app, would reveal a 3D model of Miku, who would then proceed to sing and dance.

Miku is no stranger to Pokémon, as she had previously been involved in a collab with the media franchise, as shown in the following promotional material:

Here’s the advert of the Domino’s promotion, as presented by none other than the president of Domino’s, himself. I don’t suggest skipping over this one if you haven’t watched it already, as it’s one of the most hilarious and cringe-inducing things out there:

You know what? That app is a marvel of technology. Now that I’ve seen what ILCA can do, I think they deserve a chance with the D&P remakes.

It’s clear that these guys are brilliant.

Do the Upcoming Pokémon D&P Remakes Spoil a Future Nendoroid Line?

Considering that our freedoms are being screwed over along with whatever solutions that could make things any better, I’ve been dwelling on the graphical style of the upcoming Pokémon remakes quite a bit.

But after a while, I came to notice that the overworld models in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl look kinda reminiscent of something: Nendoroids.

If you’re wondering what a Nendoroid is, it’s a figurine line that originated in Japan. It’s basically like Funcopops, except Nendoroids make Funcopops look like smoldering crap. They are massively more expressive, and usually come with accessories like faceplates and exchangeable limbs for posing.

Here’s an example:

There are already Nendoroid figures of Pokémon trainers, such as this familiar character:

Even the champion from Diamond and Pearl, Cynthia, has been featured:

Could it be that the upcoming D&P remakes are providing strong hints of an upcoming line of Nendoroids? If so, perhaps ILCA are brilliant marketers, after all.

GameFreak must be well aware that most of the revenue that the Pokémon IP generates comes from merchandise. By making a game’s characters look like the merchandise, the interesting aspects of the franchise are being integrated in an intelligent way.

What a brilliant move.

The Pokémon DP Remake Art Style Needs to Improve

When I first saw the art style for the upcoming Pokémon games, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, I was warm to it. But since then, the artistic direction hasn’t been sitting well with me.

If you’re wondering what I mean, check out the character model in this picture:

I think that would look awesome on a keychain (Etsy artists, you’re probably well ahead of me). But for a core Pokémon title released in the year 2021? It kinda seems like the Nintendo Switch isn’t being pushed to its limits.

I know that GameFreak could do better. But this time, it wasn’t them. The company has delegated work on the D&P remakes to ILCA, which is short for I Love Computer Art.

Among their accomplishments include Metal Gear Rising: Revengence:

Yakuza 0:

Dragon Quest XI:

NieR: Sutomata:

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown:

And now Pokémon: Brilliant Chibi and Shining Smol:

They may “love computer art”, but it’s plain to see when they’re not putting their hearts into it. Unless you can look at this battle scene and really think this is current gen:

So, who gets the blame: GameFreak or ILCA?

The answer is both. Whether it’s GameFreak for delegating work on their most beloved IP or ILCA for not taking it seriously, both are at fault for apparently not caring much, in spite of the fact that the games in question are ones that gamers have wanted to see for years.

Looking at the art for the D&P remakes, it’s obvious what little more could be done to make the games presentable: outlines and cel shading. And Pokémon fans are well ahead of the game in providing examples:

Just the outlines alone would do it. But check out what cel shading could do for, you know, an anime-style game:

And as if that weren’t enough, here’s more simple outlining at work:

Oh, hold on… That screen was from a Pokémon game released back in 2013. My mistake.

Still, they’re excellent examples of what you can do when you actually love computer art.

On top of the lazy look, there’s the fact that the remakes are made out to be faithful to the originals. Depending on how true that is, there might not be much point to them. After all, we already have the original Diamond and Pearl games. Other Pokémon remakes justified their existences with the presence of additional content, and it would be sensible if the D&P remakes did the same.

Comparisons have already been made between the D&P remakes and the recent Link’s Awakening remake for Switch. While a nostalgia trip could potentially justify that game’s purchase, the original is already available to play on 3DS. There didn’t seem like there was much new to it to justify the $60 tag when money was tight, so I didn’t purchase it.

That brings up a question that’s likely making more than a few Pokémon hardcores a bit uncomfortable: “Do I really need either of the upcoming Diamond or Pearl remakes as part of the core experience?”

This isn’t just a spin-off we’re talking about here, it’s a core installment for the single highest-grossing intellectual property of all time. If GameFreak wanted to, they could produce a polygon-pusher of immense scale. It’s hard to imagine that budget would be a limiting factor, especially considering that they work with Nintendo, a company that’s so rich that they could finance their own projects without turning to a lender.

But instead, they outsource their big game to a different company, and accept their half-baked effort to present to the world as part of their big presentation. Those don’t seem like the actions of a company that strongly cares.

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about Pokémon Legends: Arceus. That’s evidence that GameFreak is capable of making a great-looking game. It’s obvious that that’s the one that GameFreak was more passionate about.

Whether it’s GameFreak or ILCA, it’s obvious that they can do better.

The Right Way to Play Pokemon Diamond and Pearl

This guide is intended to help decide the best pokemon you could choose for a playthrough of Pokemon Diamond or Pearl.

This isn’t like a speedrun, which takes advantage of exploits, nor is it a competitive team-building guide. This guide’s team is intended to be the best selection of pokemon that players can reasonably be asked to assemble to get them though the game with a reasonable playtime, and with little to no grinding for levels.

Many players have attempted guides like this, but usually make mistakes like including competitive builds, which aren’t reasonable for simple playthroughs, or they forget to include HM users, leaving anyone who attempts them to backtrack and find for themselves the pokemon that can get them past roadblocks.

A word of advice, before continuing: Pokémon Diamond and Pearl have caves in them, including Mt. Coronet. These places are pretty cool, but not everyone likes them because it’s in caves that wild Pokémon could interrupt your progress every few steps. Here is what you can do about that:

Buy Repels, and Super Repels. When you enter a cave, activate one. If your lead Pokémon is higher in level than wild Pokémon in that area, they won’t interrupt your progress until you’ve traveled the distance it takes for the Repel to wear off. Repels are cheap, so don’t be afraid to spend a little bit on them to save you some aggravation.

With that explained, on to the team selections:

Any of the three Sinnoh starters are a great choice, and picking between one to compliment this team was hard. But the nod goes to Turtwig, which eventually evolves to Torterra. Torterra takes care of the Ground types that can give this team trouble, particularly Bertha’s Quagsire and Whiscash, which are only weak to Grass. Torterra does great against the first and last gym, but is especially notable in that it’s the only fully-evolved Sinnoh starter that isn’t weak to anything Cynthia’s Garchomp can do.

There’s a couple catches, and that’s that Torterra doesn’t handle Ice, Flying, or Fire-types very well. Worse, these are often fast enough to score the first hit on it. If this is enough for you to consider another starter, none of the other two are a bad choice. Just know that fully-evolved forms of the other two might result in Ground types giving this team problems.

Starly becomes an excellent attacker, and it’s available on Route 202. The first time it evolves at level 14, it gains the super-useful Intimidate ability. If you let it evolve at level 34, it gets the opportunity to learn Close Combat, and it gets great Flying moves throughout its moveset, including Brave Bird at level 49. Even better yet, it gets great Speed and Attack stats, with which to use those attacks.

Staraptor works surprisingly well against Candice, the Ice gym leader, because of the secondary typing of her pokemon. But because Staraptor is weak to Ice, it’s a risky play.

Besides its attack moves, Staraptor has room for a couple HMs, namely, Fly and Defog.

You can also catch Shinx on Route 202. You’ll want one with the Intimidate ability. You’ll know that it has it because it will activate as soon as it appears. Having two pokemon with Intimidate is great, because it makes it so it’s hard for the many physical attackers you’ll encounter to do anything to your pokemon.

Shinx evolves to Luxio at level 15, and again to Luxray at level 30. It’s a powerful physical attacker that gets strong Electric and Dark moves, giving you an answer to Crasher Wake and Lucian.

Bidoof is also available on Route 202. It’s not going to be a battler for your team, it’s instead there to give you mobility with the HMs it learns, keeping moves free for your primary battlers. The HM moves that Bidoof learns are Cut and Rock Smash.

Bibarel is available later on, at Route 208. Its purpose on your team is similar to Bidoof, except Bibarel can learn four HMs that Bidoof can’t, which are Surf, Strength, Waterfall, and Rock Climb.

You meet one of the two cover legendaries as part of a scripted event, and they are Dialga (Diamond Version) or Palkia (Pearl Version). You encounter one of these two on the summit of Mt. Coronet, late in the game. The catch rate is low, so you might want to save the game before attempting to battle it (Palkia, being a Water type, is easier to catch in a Net Ball than an Ultra Ball). They may be a few levels behind your team’s battlers, but leveling them up isn’t much trouble, and their stats, typing, and movepool more than make up for it.

Dialga’s typing lends it many resistances, and it’s only weak to Fighting and Ground. The idea of a move that requires recharging might not sound appealing, until you consider that Roar of Time comes off Dialga’s super-high Sp.Atk stat!

Palkia’s typing means it’s not weak to any type in particular, except to Dragon (remember that in the DP days, Fairy wasn’t a type yet). Palkia’s signature Spacial Rend is very spammable, but strong Water type moves aren’t a bad thing to have!

Once you have the Beacon Badge, you’ll be able to find the Adamant Orb and Lustrous Orb in a room in Mt. Coronet, with the help of a pokemon with Waterfall. Waterfall can be obtained from Jasmine in Sunyshore City after beating Volkner. By the way, is something going on between those two?

How to beat Cynthia’s Garchomp

Cynthia is considered by many to be the hardest champion in any Pokemon game (though Iris seems to be a handful). Cynthia has a diverse team of top tier pokemon, among the most problematic of which are her lead pokemon, Spiritomb, which doesn’t have a weakness (pre-Fairy type), and Milotic, which can use Mirror Coat to retaliate double for Special attacks.

But the hardest pokemon on her team, by far, is Garchomp. This has left many players scrambling to add a fast, hard-hitting Ice type to their teams.

Except you don’t really have to, because of what this team can do.

When Cynthia sends out Garchomp, shift to Luxray (if your battle style is set to Shift, which it should be). “But, Luxray is weak to Garchomp, so why?” you might be asking. This seems crazy, but it’s actually not. When Luxray is sent out, Intimidate activates, lowering Garchomp’s Attack stat. Garchomp is a physical attacker, so this makes the battle much easier. Then, switch Luxray out for Staraptor immediately. Staraptor’s Intimidate goes off as well, and if Garchomp is (predictably) going for Earthquake, it wouldn’t work on Staraptor.

The idea is to swap between Luxray and Staraptor for as long as you can get away with it, or until Intimidate has activated 6 times, bottoming out Garchomp’s Attack stat. At that point, there won’t be much that Garchomp could do to you. Go after Garchomp with strong attacks, and if things go well, that should finish it. Then, you’ll have beaten a pokemon that’s been a nightmare for many, many trainers by being clever.

But what about…

There are a few pokemon that some might have wanted to see on this team, but for some reason, weren’t. Here are a few of them:

Piplup or Chimchar are both great starters. The choice between these was very close. For this team, the choice was made for Turtwig because it rounds this team out just a bit better.

Abra and/or Azelf are both hard hitting and fast Psychic types, but it’s not a great defensive typing, and becomes especially glaring considering their low defensive stats. What’s more, Abra needs trading to fully evolve, so if you go with Kadabra, eventually replacing it with Azelf might not be a bad choice.

Gible can be found at Wayward Cave, but in Diamond and Pearl, the area you find it in requires Strength to access. By the time you can get it, it’s somewhat late in the game for a pokemon at that low of a level.

So, what do you think? Can you think of some ways to improve this team? Are you thinking of trying it for yourself? Or are you looking for some team ideas for the upcoming remakes? If it turns out that a different team might work better for the remakes for some reason, I might make a separate guide for those.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus: First Impressions

I liked the Diamond and Pearl remake announcement. But I get the idea that Pokémon Legends: Arceus has Pokémon players really stoked.

I’m not even trying to avoid the obvious comparison: Pokémon Legends looks like Breath of the Wild. Not that that’s a bad thing.

Pokémon Legends takes place in a feudal Japanese setting (remember that Sinnoh is based on Hokkaido). The game shows a young boy or girl (your choice), likely in their teens, as they journey out with a starter Pokémon (Rowlett, Cyndaquil, or Oshawott), with no evident boundaries as far as travel goes.

The Wild Area in Sword and Shield were merely a taste, as there doesn’t seem to be any on-the-rails elements to Pokémon Legends, so far.

The movement of the protagonists seems to have leveled up, as the trailer shows a trainer diving into a roll. Pretty sweet!

Not only that, the trailer shows the main character stealth-catching a distant Pokémon while hidden in grass, like some kind of ninja. Awesome!

The mythical Pokémon Arceus is to be featured in the game somehow, though in what way remains to be seen.

Pokémon Legends looks great, but there is a catch: you have to wait for it. The game is scheduled to be released in 2022. Before then, we’ll have those Sinnoh remakes we’ve been waiting a long time for.

I wonder whether those are Lucas’ and Dawn’s ancestors.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: First Impressions

Today’s Pokémon Direct has revealed upcoming Pokémon games, and it’s Sinnoh confirmed!

The new Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl versions are heading to Nintendo Switch this fall.

The overworld art features the characters in a chibi style reminiscent of the characters in the original versions.

While this was a surprise, it grew on me pretty quick. In a sense, it’s kind of like Link’s Awakening for Switch, in that its style isn’t dissimilar from the original. It’s a heartwarming look.

However, once the scene shifts to battles, the style more closely resembles recent Pokémon games.

The wild battles seem as though they’ll resemble the traditional wild battles, rather than the Let’s Go style that was featured in the Yellow Version remakes.

Until we see otherwise, it seems safe to assume that the upcoming remakes will be similar to the originals. There would be some understandable differences in terms of battle mechanics, which have changed slightly since the originals.

They seem to be bringing back the underground, which was a feature a lot of players liked. Perhaps this time around, it will be much easier to meet up with other players. Or perhaps it will be implemented differently, allowing you to play with other players online.

Diamond and Pearl were the first games in the series that used the system’s wi-fi to implement internet connection features for battling and trading. Perhaps they’ll implement the GTS as an in-game feature as it was in the originals, rather than implement it externally through an app like Pokémon Home.

Another neat feature that was in the originals was the Pokétch, which shows that Pokémon was really, really early to the smart watch dealie.

Obviously, they’re bringing back the character of Hikari/Dawn, who is a well-admired character. But you might have already known.

It’s a tad obscure, but I remember a special Manaphy egg as part of my early Pokémon Diamond experience. The Manaphy egg has a distinct appearance, and when it hatches, out comes the mythical Pokémon, Manaphy, at only level 1.

How or whether this special egg would be implemented, I don’t know. But it was a special part of my Diamond version experience.

My first ever import game was a copy of Pokémon Pearl from Japan. I was able to beat the game, despite it being in a language I didn’t know at the time. Considering this, I’m considering learning a bit more Japanese and playing one of the upcoming games with a Japanese-language setting.

I’m looking forward to Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, though I’m still not sure which version to get. Are you looking forward to them, too?

Yearly Pokémon Popularity Poll Results Are In: Dedenne Wins?!

Each year, a poll is conducted to determine the most popular Pokémon. The results for this year are in, and you may be surprised to learn that Dedenne has taken top honors.

This year, the poll was conducted in Japan alone, putting aside a few clever people who found a way to vote anyway. Because of this, Japanese sensibilities dominated the poll.

As it turns out, the Japanese have different sensibilities than we expected. The top Kanto Pokémon wasn’t Pikachu (at #7), it was Magnemite (at #5). The runner-up was Cincinno (#2), and after that was Sableye (#3). Barbaracle (#22) and Spheal (#24) also placed, which seems kinda odd.

Come to think of it, it’s possible that the poll was rocked by troll votes.

Dedenne is a small Electric/Fairy Pokémon. It bears a resemblance to Raichu, and considering that, I think I understand much of its appeal. It spent some time among the cast of main characters in the anime during the 6th generation of Pokémon games. It was caught by Clemont, a member of Ash’s group, who then allowed his sister Bonnie, another of Ash’s group, to care for it (Bonnie was not old enough to catch her own Pokémon).

To be honest, Dedenne doesn’t seem to have much competitive value. Though that’s not preventing some genius player from finding a way to become world champ with the little guy on their team, as Se Jun Park did with Pachirisu.

These may not be the poll results we were expecting, but it’s still great to see something different get the spotlight. Are we months away from seeing more Dedenne merch?

From ryanthescooterguy on DeviantArt

Congratulations, little guy.

The Pokemon Trading Card Game Comes Up Huge

The Pokemon Trading Card Game (Pokemon TCG) is once again making the news, with the cards taking off so hard, that there are now card shortages, and Nintendo is now working hard to print up new cards to keep up with the demand.

Sound familiar? That’s just what was going on in the late 90’s, when the Pokemon TCG was first introduced. Back then, the fervor was so great that kids were actually getting into fights over the cards, and some schools even banned them.

There was also a brief moment around the late 2000s when the Pokemon TCG actually overtook Magic: The Gathering as the most popular Trading Card Game!

Of course, Pokemon has been popular, about as long as it’s been around. Just because you’re not hearing about it on the news doesn’t mean that people aren’t still playing it.

But you know what else is making the news? There are now Pokemon TCG Happy Meals at McDonald’s, and scalpers are buying them up in huge quantities to get at the cards.

One YouTuber has even won the scorn of the Pokemon community by buying as many as 100 Happy Meals just for the cards! I haven’t found his video, so it’s likely he since deleted it, but in any case, he’s now in damage-control mode.

At some locations, it’s possible to buy the cards separate from the meals, a fact that some are likely taking advantage of. But if you just want a few cards, it’s understandable, because then you don’t have the minor inconvenience of throwing out the “food”.

As you are likely aware, calling McDonald’s food “food” is pretty generous, though the problems with them are shared by much of fast food, such as adding excessive sugar to items like bread to make them more addictive. Wendys has ketchup that’s so sweet, it’s just wrong.

When it comes to food, people need to develop more self-respect.

Remember those guys who, in the nineties, tried telling us that Pokémon was fading? They’re still wrong.

A moment enjoyed is not wasted.