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This game lives in contradiction. For as many good ideas as it has, it has so many frustrating and annoying elements to make up for it.
This is a game that has many good ideas, but fails to execute any of them well. I personally turned it into a social experience for the most part, playing online with friends. That was the way I figured I'd have the most fun with this game. I don't regret it, we got to laugh and complain together about this game.
I feel the performance issues cannot be ignored. Normally it wouldn't bother me in a turn-based RPG, however; this game also features an open world to explore. My motivation to actually explore is minimised when I feel like the frame rate is hindering my ability to explore at a reasonable pace.
Frame rate drops also cause battles to play slower, which was frustrating for me. It meant I ended up ignoring MOST wild Pokémon battles, and just focusing on main story.
Trainer battles were either a waste of time, or a waste of time. They often felt pointless due to the lack of indication of what level they'd be. They were either painfully low level that you'd get basically no merit for fighting them, or stupidly high level and would sweep your team. This is a problem because it basically is just waiting for the battle to be over either way. Thus, waste of time in most instance. It's one of those things I wouldn't even question if they weren't optional, but by making them optional and not labelling their general level range, it makes it difficult to find merit in challenging trainers at any point in the game outside of the beginning. You can get enough experience from battling or catching Wild Pokémon anyway.
Adding to the above, generally speaking none of the objectives had recommended level indications either. I initially thought the game might scale based on the order you tackle objectives in (since it does track your order), but that seems to not be the case.
Similarly, I don't understand why some lower level areas are found behind higher level areas, there's no reason you'd make it there without passing through a higher level area first, so there'd be no reason to fight anything in those areas.
There was one level ~40 or so Titan battle which was surrounded by level 20 wild Pokémon. It's really inconsistent and I'm not sure what they were trying to go for without proper labels for a recommended level or something.
None of the towns are interesting, and all but 3 of the gym leaders are forgettable. I've forgotten the names of most of them already, towns and gym leaders alike. However, I really like the Elite Four in this game, although I wish the champion had more presence.
Probably has one of the strongest finales in the series, unironically. Still, I love and hate this game equally. It cancels itself out.
EDIT: APPARENTLY YOU CAN RUN FROM TRAINER BATTLES??? This would've made my previous point about Trainer Battles being a waste of time much less of an issue lol, but the game never tells you this??? These games are so weird lmao
The original Sinnoh games are some of the fondest memories I have in gaming, and some of the very first video games that engaged me enough to care about the medium on a deeper level. Over the next several years I watched as every other beloved entry in the series received its long awaited remake. HeartGold and SoulSilver were fantastic entries that I would argue were so successful in their execution that they exceeded the quality of the original games. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire could have done more in certain key areas, particularly with the upsetting lack of Emerald-based content, but they were still fun games that captured the spirit of the originals with some fun new ideas that gave the remakes merit to stand on their own. Naturally, when it was time for my favorite games in the series to get their turn in the remake spotlight, I was ecstatic to see the direction they would take in their reimagining efforts. The final product after years of eager anticipation failed to meet almost any of my expectations.
Unlike the remakes that came before it, Brilliant Diamond is basically a 1:1 adaptation of its original counterpart, proving that sometimes being /too/ faithful is a detriment to the final product. The game still operates on the square-based grid tile system the originals used when using the D-Pad, but the joystick allows for "free roam" that was thrown in with no regard for how it would break certain key puzzle sequences in the game that relied on the square-based grid's limitations. The game's delicate leveling balance wasn't accounted for in any respect, the mandatory EXP share giving no players no real incentive to ever switch off of their lead team member and creating a scenario where you can essentially solo the entire game with one or two mons at the helm and feel no repercussions. The affection mechanic works against the player as well, being another mandatory addition that decides that your lead party member can arbitrarily tank multiple attacks that would otherwise absolutely kill them and giving players even less of a reason to ever switch Pokemon or make any thoughtful plays. Follow Pokemon are scaled to the trainer jarringly, often off-proportion, and almost always lag behind the player character moving at modest speeds and resort to immersion-breaking teleporting around everywhere to compensate. Other returning features, like the Poketch app, were thoughtlessly added for the sake of inclusion and work on the absolute bare minimum level of functionality, completely disregarding convenience and general usability. The game's mysterious lack of touch screen in handheld mode could have been one such instance where the Poketch would have made sense in a modern setting, but alas.
More subjectively, the game's artstyle just doesn't click with me or recapture the sharp, pixel aesthetic it tries to replicate with those awkward chibi models. Everything looks "off" and its made worse because the game has a strange penchant for having these cinematic camera angles in cutscenes now that highlight how unflinchingly emotionless the characters are. Sinnoh deserved better, we all deserved better, and the only thing of note from these releases in my eyes is that it made the original games even more impressive. The remixed music slaps too, I guess.
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