GAMING: Pokemon Brilliant Diamond / Shining Pearl Beginner’s Tips

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Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are remakes of the Gen-4 Pokemon games, with some modern quality-of-life tweaks and enhancements. These remakes are a unique mix of old and new, so even if you are an old-school Pokemon trainer, or have been playing Sword and Shield for a while, you might be surprised at some of the conventions and mechanics found in these remakes. For tips on getting started with Pokemon Brilliant Diamond or Shining Pearl, read on.

Choose your starter… wisely

The classic tradition of choosing from a Fire, Water, or Grass starter is back once again in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, but the composition of dungeons and gyms has a big impact on your selection. Chimchar, a Fire-based monkey Pokemon, will make it easier. The combination of Fire-and Fighting-type moves will be useful throughout the game. There are a few exceptions for Water-based areas. While the other two are fairly evenly matched, Turtwig is slightly more difficult to master.

Any of them will have their usefulness and of course, you can always catch and train up other Pokemon to fill in any gaps or weaknesses on your team. Chimchar is the best choice if you want to play Shining Pearl and Brilliant Diamond on an easy mode.

Get your free rare Mew and Jirachi

Once upon a time Mew was among the rarest of all Pokemon, only available through special giveaways or nefarious game cheats. The adorable little psychic cat is now available from Nintendo more frequently, including Shining Pearl and Brilliant Diamond. By simply saving data from Pokemon Sword/Shield or Pokemon Let’s go, you can claim the legendary Mew and Jirachi. Sword and Shield saves will grant you a Jirachi, while Save Data from Let’s Go will give you a Mew.

You can access both of them fairly early, though not right at the beginning. Upon reaching Floaroma, you will see an elderly couple in a field full of flowers just to the left. Talk to each one to get your two Pokemon.

Hide your Poketch

The Poketch is your all-purpose Sinnoh smart device, complete with functions you’ll never use like a calculator. It’s also your shortcut to Hidden Machine functions. Many of these will be activated when you reach a tree branch or body of water that you can cut, and the Fly function will also trigger when you use your map to indicate a town that you would like to visit–as long you have been there before. Although it is possible to prompt the Fly and any other Hidden Machines using the Poketch you don’t need. Other functions, such as the pedometer, are not very useful. You may prefer to hold R to dismiss it than having a huge block take up your screen.

Grind in the Grand Underground

At some point during your adventure, chances are you’ll need to buff your Pokemon. While you could wander the tall grass for quite a while, you will likely have caught most of what you can from it within a matter of minutes. You should instead visit the Grand Underground. Once you have reached Eterna City, spoken to the Underground Man at the Pokemon Center and are able to open it up, you can use the Explorer Kit to drop down anytime. You can grind the Pokemon in Grand Underground because they will keep up with your level. The best part is that the Grand Underground has a lot of Pokemon you won’t find elsewhere.

Battle against trainers

When wandering the world you’ll often find trainers itching to do battle with you. You can skip them if they are not needed or you just want to move on. You’ll get more experience from fighting other trainers than wild Pokemon battles. The game is balanced, as long as you engage with most or all of the trainers around the world. You can skip too many and you will have to return to battle them or grind.

Take advantage of EXP Share

Through most of Pokemon history, EXP Share has been a toggle and usually only applied to one Pokemon. It’s now available in Sword and Shield and Shining Pearl. Even if you only have one Pokemon, it’s a good idea to bring other party members who might benefit from the additional experience. Magikarp is a good example, and can be caught relatively quickly with a fishing rod. Magikarp is a very useless fish, so it can be difficult or tedious to level up. The EXP Share in Brilliant Diamond or Shining Pearl will let you passively grind it up to level 20, at which point it becomes the much more powerful Gyrados.

Speed up your battles in Settings

Pokemon is known for many things, but quick snappy battles is not one of them. You can adjust some settings in the Options menu to speed up your battles. If you prefer things to go a bit faster, you can disable battle animations, the prompt to name your newly-caught Pokemon and adjust the speed of the text. The prompt to switch Pokemon when your opponent switches is also available. This saves time but can put you in a disadvantage for type matchups. And speaking of type matchups…

The Pokemon switch menu notes weaknesses

When you go to switch your Pokemon mid-battle, you’ll see their moves listed along the right side. This is a great help if you have ever encountered a Pokemon and had them added as a Pokedex item. These moves will be listed as None Effect, Not Very Effectively, Effective, and Super Effective. This information can help you plan your next move.

Take advantage of partners

A few times throughout Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, you’ll get temporarily partnered up with an NPC. This is when your friend will partner up with you to keep your Pokemon safe in the woods. You can take advantage of this by grinding more in the area. With constant healing, you don’t need to travel back to town.

Use the Follow feature to forge a bond

Like some later Pokemon games, you can select one special little monster to follow you around the overworld. To unlock this function, visit Amity Park at Hearthome and select “Walk together” after choosing a Pokemon from your party. Talking to your Pokemon is possible from time to time. Sometimes it will find random low-level items. You can also talk to your Pokemon from time to time, giving it a slight boost in combat. Once you have a strong bond with your Pokemon, you will see prompts in combat indicating that it has dodged an attack or stayed upright due its friendship with you.

Make use of the PC Box

In the original Diamond and Pearl, as well as most early Pokemon games, you had to venture back to town and visit a Pokemon Center to use a PC that would let you swap your current party with your batch of stored Pokemon. It’s now much easier because you can access the PC box from anywhere and swap out your Pokemon anytime. This means that if you are out in the wild or in the Grand Underground, and want to level up another set of monsters, you can simply access the PC box and swap them out.

Be sure to hold items

The Held Items mechanic lets you give your Pokemon passive buffs or emergency healing opportunities. These are great for battle but even holding items that don’t have any utility in battle can make your Pokemon happier. You should also keep your party stocked with items as some Pokemon can only be leveled up by having items.

For more, check out our Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl review-in-progress.

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