Opinions and Stories

Pokémon BDSP preview brings mixed news and strange decisions

Just how worried should you be about single-use TMs returning or an Exp. Share that remains on forever? We go over that and more from a hands-off preview.

Various sites today reported on their findings from a hands-off preview of the Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl titles, releasing in little over a month’s time (19th November). Are the games looking good, or worse than the prices for skins in Pokémon Unite? Rather than having to make your own mind up, here are my quick takes on the news we’ve gleaned from these previews.

The Good

Many fans bemoaned how the game looked from the initial trailer back in February. We’re little more than a month out from the game release, so little can change from here on out, but the thoughts of those viewing the preview seems to be fairly positive! Some improvements have even been reported on the battle system, such as with weather conditions:

There’s also been an update to the visualization of status effects during battles. When a sandstorm is kicked up, the effect will persist throughout the battle until it subsides, rather than just popping up to inflict damage, as it did in older games. The same goes for effects like Poison and Burn.

Could be better, but still apparently improved on from previous titles.

Granted, from preview videos, there is still the issue of a lack of battle animations being properly reflected in taking damage or fainting, an issue highlighted in more detail focusing on Pokémon Sword and Shield. But we’ll take what we can get.

Contests are spoken highly of as well, including the ability to play online in this mode. Other highlights are things we already knew from earlier trailers and website updates (such as about Pokémon Hideaways), but it seems some attention to detail is included in these remakes:

Probably my favourite throwback I noticed during the demo is the ability to clean your badges. I remember when I was younger how I aggressively cleaned my badges whenever they got dirty.


You can also compare the height and weight of Pokemon to your player character. This doesn’t serve any purpose other than being amusing, but it certainly is amusing.

These inclusions are nice to see. And the ability to access your Box system from anywhere (although not from the very start of the game) is a great quality-of-life feature carrying over from recent titles, among others.

The Questionable (at best)

There are two main points that will make the rounds, so let’s talk about them.

Statue only.

The Exp. Share acts like it did in Galar and Pokémon Let’s GO, Pikachu and Eevee! – it gives EXP to all Pokémon in your party, and it cannot be turned off. I’m going to be frank here – this is bad. There is no obvious drawback or difficultly in allowing the player to toggle it on or off, while forcing it on removes a difficulty option for the player. One wonders if a certain co-director who defended this implementation in Pokémon Sword and Shield is to blame here.

TMs meanwhile are going back to single-use! That sounds rather annoying, initially. Hardly a player complained when this was no longer the case in the generation five games, but Pokémon Sword and Shield brought with it a mix of reusable and single-use TMs (or TRs). Now we can only use them once? Well before you panic, multiple reports stated they were told that it will be easy to get multiples of all TMs you’d care about:

While it was on screen for only a second, I noticed “x20” beside one of the player’s TMs in their bag. Following that, Nintendo confirmed that you’ll be able to get a lot more TMs in BDSP than in the original games.

The Nintendo rep in the session assured me that there would be plentiful amounts of every TM you’d want, and I have no reason to doubt them, which opens up the possibility that there might be new ways to obtain TMs.

So it’s fine, probably. Maybe it’s the developer’s way to add value to the Underground mining minigame, which from a design point of view makes sense. And yet… it’s still less convenient to the player compared to the last several games.

The Underground seems to have been diminished in some aspects as well. Secret Bases are back as we know – but the only thing you can decorate them with are statues. That is just a shame. It was fun to put traps in it and decorate it with trivial items to show to your friends, even if the Secret Base system is more of a pain to set up compared to the Hoenn titles. And word is no minigames will be present besides the mining minigame! A decrease in content here is disappointing.

You’ll also be able to find statues of different levels of rarity in the Grand Underground, which you can use to decorate your Secret Bases, replacing the furniture and plushies from the original games.

You can even dig up statues of Pokémon to display in your base, which come in both a standard and a shiny variant, the latter of which is quite a bit rarer but looks to be largely just a polished version of the former. Unfortunately, statues are the only thing you can decorate your secret base with, but they are more than just a pretty (rock) face. Putting statues of a certain type in your base can boost the encounter rate of that type in Pokémon Hideaways.

Amity Square still has a “cute” Pokémon restriction kept in. Arguably this doesn’t matter, as any Pokémon can follow you elsewhere in the game once the feature is unlocked. But again, why the restriction? And who are The Pokémon Company to tell us what is or isn’t cute, anyway?

Not pictured: my very cute Steelix.

Lastly – a lot of the people writing these previews expressed support for the Infernape line. Certainly questionable, in my opinion.

The Unsaid

There were a few things not confirmed or answered when the writers of the preview asked about them. It’s hard to judge when representatives for the preview said more is to be announced – not everything will be revealed over a month out! That said, omission or question dodging is hardly a positive sign.

The Battle Frontier was one of these items that were not commented on. The map does suggest we may be without it, however. Another point not answered was how to send Pokémon from other games to BDSP – or more specifically, what Pokémon. Are we to be restricted, like with Amity Square?

What are your takes on the previews?

Previews from the following sites: Mobile Syrup, Nintendo World Report, Shack News, Vooks.
Edited by Cocoman, Rabinov, and Sheep.