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BDSP First Impressions Thread

Another positive to this game is the battle background. As someone who was mostly pleased with SwSh, one thing that really bothered me was the battle backgrounds, specifically the lack of. I think almost every route had one, which was nice, but none of the towns appeared to. So if you were fishing in Motostoke or Hulbury, you'd get the nearby route for a battle background. And if you battled anywhere inside, there was no background. It was incredibly disappointing to see. BDSP seems to have fixed this problem though. The battle backgrounds look good, and there seem to be quite a few different ones. I've seen several already and I'm only on Route 205. Heck, the grass encounter background and the battle on top of the cliff tops background are different on this same route! It's really nice to see when the backgrounds somewhat match the area you're in, because then it doesn't completely throw you out of the immersion.
 
I have my copy of Brilliant Diamond, but I haven't had the chance to play it yet as I've been super busy with work & Thanksgiving prep and have also been planning out my team since quite a few non-Sinnoh Dex Pokemon are obtainable in the Grand Underground even before the Elite Four. I should have time to play it later this week though, at which point I'll start posting my daily reports on the Travelogs thread.

That being said, even though I was very worried earlier that these games would fall flat, I have to say my initial impressions from what I've seen & read about them...are pretty good. Yes, I would've liked some Platinum features like the Battle Frontier. Yes, I'm still not the biggest fan of the chibi style graphics.

But am I glad to be able to relive the nostalgia of Gen IV on the big screen? I am. And in some ways, I would even argue the fact that they tried to remain faithful to the original games is a plus, because it creates less of an issue as far as the whole multiverse thing is concerned. We've already got Legends coming up as far as a new game set in a different time period.

Sounds like a real win-win to me!
 
Another positive to this game is the battle background. As someone who was mostly pleased with SwSh, one thing that really bothered me was the battle backgrounds, specifically the lack of. I think almost every route had one, which was nice, but none of the towns appeared to. So if you were fishing in Motostoke or Hulbury, you'd get the nearby route for a battle background. And if you battled anywhere inside, there was no background. It was incredibly disappointing to see. BDSP seems to have fixed this problem though. The battle backgrounds look good, and there seem to be quite a few different ones. I've seen several already and I'm only on Route 205. Heck, the grass encounter background and the battle on top of the cliff tops background are different on this same route! It's really nice to see when the backgrounds somewhat match the area you're in, because then it doesn't completely throw you out of the immersion.

I was surprised that they didn't make special battle backgrounds for the Cycling Road and Hearthome City, despite the Trainer's School and Jubilife TV centre having them. On the whole though, the battle graphics in this game are absolutely stunning, the best of the series so far.

The volcanic background in the Underground reminds me of the one used for Groudon's battle in Omega Ruby - and this is just for regular wild battles!
 
So I just dethroned Cynthia and it was intense. Even with exp share (and fighting every trainer I've noticed while exploring) I somehow managed to be underleveled. Took my about 5 - 7 tries and the only reason I won was because she used a status move with her last Pokémon, otherwise I would've lost again. So far I've been very satisfied with the game and I'm already excited about playing Pearl next (not within the next days though, there is still lots of stuff to do at Diamond before moving on).
 
More thoughts:
  • I am so impressed with the battle backgrounds. Like, so much. I was soooo amazed to see that there was a different one for the trainer's school, for the mountain side in route 205, for the Jubilife TV station, for each one of the gyms... like in SwSh, these would've been just the same generic nebulous background but with different colors.
  • They maintained the different music for day and nighttime. And the music is sooo good!
  • I did not like the GU. Like the mining is the same old, same old and the pokémon there are insanely hard to catch. Like I used like 20 regular Pokéballs and maybe 15 dusk balls to catch one Murkrow. And the variety so far isn't anything great. Maybe I haven't gotten enough statues, but we'll see. I'm still salty that they removed the traps, the flag minigame and the decorations from the Secret Bases for this.
  • The EXP share for all gets annoying. You level up way too fast. Even rotating the team makes it hard not to end up overleveled. But I like that no grinding is needed and it is easy to get new team members on par with the others.
  • Finally, I don't know if I'm wrong, but it seems like the sun rises in the west and sets in the east? Is it supposed to be that way? Like the morning and evening shadows confuse me. Not really a flaw or anything, I just find it weird, or maybe it's me.
 
Very willing to believe that my feelings about BDSP are the result of sentimental and blind nostalgia bias and an eternal love for Sinnoh, but honestly, I'm having a lot of fun so far. Like many people, I wasn't initially impressed with the chibi art style and was terrified that they'd managed to mess up one of my favourite videogame experiences of all time, but on the contrary, I'm very pleased with the direction they've taken it in!

There are a lot of QoL improvements from both the originals (which was to be expected, of course) and SWSH alike (I'm not in the camp who believe SWSH were objectively terrible games, but they also weren't high on my favourite list), and I'm impressed that they managed to retain a smidgen of the difficulty from the originals - I haven't blacked out in a Gym Leader fight for years! Damn you, Maylene! As I mentioned before, Sinnoh and Gen 4, in general, were formative games for me and I have a lot of sentimental attachment to them, so hearing all the music, exploring places I remember from my childhood, battling familiar trainers, etc. are all having a massive impact on my enjoyment of the game; it feels like I'm coming home to a warm hug and a soft blanket and being tucked in by the Sinnoh region.

Sure, there's a lot that warrants complaint - shared Exp. Share my beloathed - but on the whole, I'm having a lot of fun. Those battle backgrounds, man. I'm in love.
 
So, after downloading the big patch, I made my way up to Roark today. And these are my thoughts so far:

Likes:

  • Some of the visuals look very nice. The water at Lake Verity looks incredibly realistic and deep, while the visible cloud shadows racing over Routes stand out impressively. And since we're on the topic, the background visuals (such as Roark's Gym & the Trainer School) during battles all look absolutely stellar and detailed; I love how you can see Mt. Coronet from your house - really emphasizes how large & imposing the mountain range is.
  • The music is pretty nice, though there are some tracks I found myself preferring the originals instead. For example, I adore Sandgem Town & the Gym Battle OST, but Route 203 & Jubilife feel a bit hollow compared their original incarnations (where is the clapping in Barry's theme, for example?).
  • The icon art looks lovely and I'm happy everyone gets new art this time around instead of just final evolutions like in LGPE & SWSH. Speaking of which, the whole UI looks really clean and like a modernized version of the original; the height and weight check features of the Pokedex look fantastic (and never should have left). They even brought back and made new text box frames, that all look quite nice. There's over 20, which is notable.
  • The freebies in the beginning are pretty generous, given how you get a whopping ten Potions from the promotional clerk and 20 Poke Balls from Dawn/Lucas after the tutorial. And starting with 8,000 poke? Nice. Nuzlockers rejoice.
  • Roark was a bit challenging despite me having a Budew & Piplup (Shinx rounded out the team as the 3rd member). I liked how he used Bulldoze to avoid contact with Budew's Poison Point (which dropped her to 5 HP or so from full), whereas a a Headbutt would have guaranteed the KO; as the battles were the sole reason I wanted to support the games/ILCA, it was pleasant to experience.

Dislikes

  • The movement controls feel wonky and not as smooth as SWSH's; the d-pad feels very rough and stiff in movement. Speaking of walking, several times my character has drifted into people when I talk to them, despite me not touching either the d-pad or circle pad. I hope this gets addressed and fixed in a patch, because it can be a bit jarring.
  • Another bug is the Pokedex, where obtained Pokémon occasionally appear completely black in their picture; it happened to Piplup a couple times.
  • You can't sit... Whereas you technically could in the originals, the cushion chairs and sofas are now just for decoration. Which is disappointing, especially as NPCs still use them.
EXP Share
  • I figured this needed its own section. I loathe the eternal Exp. Share and sadly there's nothing that can be done about it unless Game Freak patches in a toggle. That aside, Piplup was level 13 while Shinx and Budew were level 12 right before Roark - I had battled every Trainer sans the Trainers north of Jubilife (who aren't techincall required to be battled en route to Oreburgh, even though you can). I barely battled wild Pokémon and caught one (my first Budew who I used to help me find one with Poison Point, by using its Worry Seed; sidenote, Worry Seed is great for erasing Sturdy's Focus Sash so you can Absorb/Grass type OHKP away); I also made sure to swap party members since those that don't battle receive less EXP (so don't stick to one Pokémon so you can better balance the distribution!). Thus, the scaling so far is right on the nose; but we all know it goes to s*** the higher you go. I plan to provide more updates with my own experiences given how I keep reading contradicting reports of over and under leveling regarding the EXP Share; I also plan to reduce Affection's 1.2 EXP Boost with Herbs when I hit Eterna as best I can.
They really weren't kidding about the "faithful" angle of the game. As someone who religiously played Pearl as a kid, I more or less memorized so many lines and everything is the same barring necessary additions such as Roark mentioning his Stickers. They even erased Barry's Platinum conversations that he has en route to Lake verity, which I found stupid since they added more character to him.
 
I love how you can actually hear the bike riding and how the sound of your steps differ depending on where you are walking. Also I'm pretty sure most of you will love the water physics while surfing. And I'll give you a hint: check out the floor of the (fantastic looking) battle background while you're trying to catch Azelf and Uxie ;)
 
EXP Share Update

I beat Gardenia today. After battling every Trainer from Route 204 to Eterna's Gym (including the two Trainers east of Eterna), everyone was level 22 or 21 (with Lickilicky reaching level 23 after defeating Roserade) which matched up with Gardenia's level 22 Roserade. The levels also factored in 2-3 Grand Underground catches as well. So, it's still on-point scaling-wise provided you don't grind unnecessarily or catch a bunch of Pokémon who give you EXP... Will have to see how it holds up en route to Veilstone & Maylene. I'm still reading conflicting reports of balance and lack thereof for players.

My Roselia is also starting to gain boosted EXP due to Affection, so I need to snipe that with herbs when I can - they're pricey!
 
I've been busy so I haven't gotten a chance to play a whole lot (I'm currently at Valley Windworks), but god am I enjoying myself so far. I've mentioned this before, but I have a lot of nostalgia for Sinnoh due to Pearl being my first truly new Pokemon experience after getting back into it (not counting LeafGreen, since I was already familiar with RBY), and despite DPPt never being my favorite games in the series, I'm very fond of them for that reason. These remakes are really delivering so far on that front; it's bringing back such wonderful memories of how excited I was when I got my first DS Lite and played Pearl for the first time as a 15-year-old. They're not perfect, sure, but nothing ever is, and I truly can't find much to complain about here.
 
I've been busy so I haven't gotten a chance to play a whole lot (I'm currently at Valley Windworks), but god am I enjoying myself so far. I've mentioned this before, but I have a lot of nostalgia for Sinnoh due to Pearl being my first truly new Pokemon experience after getting back into it (not counting LeafGreen, since I was already familiar with RBY), and despite DPPt never being my favorite games in the series, I'm very fond of them for that reason. These remakes are really delivering so far on that front; it's bringing back such wonderful memories of how excited I was when I got my first DS Lite and played Pearl for the first time as a 15-year-old. They're not perfect, sure, but nothing ever is, and I truly can't find much to complain about here.
I was 11 when I played Diamond for the first time on my - also on my ds lite that was only a few months old at this point. It was the first pokemon game that wasn't Gen 1 and I played it so damn excessive XD
Nostalgia struck me so hard that I randomly started crying over and over again while playing for the first 3 hours (which is kinda ironic considering what kind of person I am).
 
Handily, the bulk of my thoughts can be found in a single, convenient article!


But just to elaborate a little further - I actually have very little ill-will towards the attempt to create a remake that's faithful in quite a specific way. I'm too familiar with Sinnoh for my own good, and I'm sure first-timers are enjoying it greatly. Where my mood begins to sour is seeing just how buggy these titles are; I know original Sinnoh had a reputation for the walk-through-walls glitch, but players are quite accidentally stumbling into softlocks and shenanigans without attempting to game the system in the slightest. I've already had an item that I couldn't interact with (i.e. pick up) unless I approached it from the bottom - no other angle worked.
 
Handily, the bulk of my thoughts can be found in a single, convenient article!


But just to elaborate a little further - I actually have very little ill-will towards the attempt to create a remake that's faithful in quite a specific way. I'm too familiar with Sinnoh for my own good, and I'm sure first-timers are enjoying it greatly. Where my mood begins to sour is seeing just how buggy these titles are; I know original Sinnoh had a reputation for the walk-through-walls glitch, but players are quite accidentally stumbling into softlocks and shenanigans without attempting to game the system in the slightest. I've already had an item that I couldn't interact with (i.e. pick up) unless I approached it from the bottom - no other angle worked.
Guess I've been either lucky or just to stupid to notice anything unusual XD
 
Whole team was at level 61 when I reached the elite four. Was consistently 8 level above gym leaders ace from Wake onwards. No extra training aside from getting my Cranidos to team level.
I even put out some team members so they won't get any exp more sometimes.

It's ridicilious how much the stupid exp share kills the fun in the battles.

This needs an update with a toggle for god sake.
 
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Whole team was at level 61 when I reached the elite four. Was consistently 8 level above gym leaders ace from Wake onwards. No extra training aside from getting my Cranidos to team level.
I even put out some team members so they won't get any exp more sometimes.

It's ridicilious how much the stupid exp share kills the fun in the battles.

This needs an update with a toogle for god sake.
I'm curious about your feedback after your fight with Cynthia.
 
I agree with @NinjutsuSen

I came back here to share that half my team is at level 25, and that's after defeating all the Trainers on Cycling Road.

We haven't explored or battled anyone on the bottom part of Route 206. Haven't gone into Wayward Cave and battled alongside Mira. No Hearthome or Solaceon, along with Routes 208, 209, 210, Lost Tower, 215, and Maylene's Gym Trainers. Mind you, her ace is level 30 yet all of that content - all of those battles await (and that's nothing to say how Wake is also 30...). If I fight them all, as intended, I will be drastically overleveled by the time I reach Maylene. I haven't grinded or gone out of my way to catch a lot of Pokémon.

Yet again, the Exp. Share scaling is atrocious and nonexistent past the early parts of the game. There's no joy in one-shotting every opposing Trainer by virtue of out-leveling. Good Arceus, why is it so damn hard to add a flipping toggle? Or "faithfully" remake the DP's Exp Share?
 
Which is a shame because i like the fact that several trainers actually use held items (on all of their pokemon and not just the ace) and their pokemon have good IVs. But the broken Exp. Share makes those held items and good IVs kind of pointless because it overlevels you. The only exception is maybe Cynthia, but that's one trainer in a game with possibly well over hundred.
 
I take back what I said about the battle backgrounds. The generic cloudy background with different colors is still there. I was soooooooo disappointed to find out the Cycling Road and Hearthome had a generic cloudy background.

The AI also seems a bit better than in recent titles. Better than SwSh for sure. Not just gym leaders and Galactic admins, even normal route trainers seem to have a better AI than normal. But...

I also have to say that the Exp. Share is extremely unbalanced and kills all the fun in the game. Up to the second gym I did not had any problem with the level scaling, but after that I was consistently 8-10 levels higher. I did not catch any extra pokémon, I missed a couple trainers, I put some of my pokémon in the PC to avoid not being overleveled, I even had a "secondary" team of weaker mons to get through the routes and changed to my "main" team when I reached a gym or important battle. And I still ended up overleveled. I had so much fun in the first part of the game since I wasn't one-shooting my way through the game, I needed a strategy and good match ups, but now it's become the same "just push A until you win" borefest we've had since Gen 6.
It's a shame that trainers do seem to have better AI, teams, IVs and held items. What's the point if you just one-shot them because you are 10 levels higher?

I really hope this gets addressed in future titles. Just a simple toggle or option in the settings or a better scaling would fix this issue that kills all the fun in the game.
 
I'm curious about your feedback after your fight with Cynthia.
She was good but the elite four already was a bit too easy with only Lucian's Alakazam being a challenge. Would've been easier if I let my whole team get the exp all the time.

@thread

Post-game is actually really nice and feels like there's still a lot of beef in the game to do. The optional new stuff plus rematch, new underground areas etc. is pretty nice. Of course most of it was already in gen 4 but here it feels richer.
 
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