What’s new in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl?

By Steven Rondina


Nov 9, 2021

Reading time: 6 min

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are right around the corner and for many, the biggest question is what new content do these games bring to the table?

Game Freak has traditionally done a good job with its mainline Pokémon game remakes, balancing the classic experience with new trimmings implemented in the generations since then. Pokémon BDSP is actually supposed to go in a different direction, standing as one of the first times where many modern features are being removed. This comes even as Pokemon Legends: Arceus is set to completely overhaul the series.

With the game’s release fast approaching, it’s worth taking an inventory about what’s the same, and what’s different, about Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl relative to the original Diamond and Pearl.

New HM system coming in Pokémon BDSP

While hidden moves have been gone for a few generations now, they’re set to return in Pokémon BDSP.

The process of using HMs is set to be streamlined in Pokémon BDSP, coming through a singular menu as part of the Pokétch rather than something to be hunted down in the menus. On top of this, party Pokémon no longer need to be taught HMs as the Pokétch will “call on wild Pokémon” to help players.

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This might frustrate some purists but it’s a major quality of life update over the original. The Ride Pokémon function of Sun and Moon streamlined navigating the world and didn’t force players to dedicate one-third of their party’s attacks to HMs. This should make Pokémon BDSP play more smoothly than the original Nintendo DS titles.

The Underground is now the Grand Underground

The Underground of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl is set to be replaced by Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl’s Grand Underground.

The Underground was a unique combination of mini-games and multiplayer features in the original Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. It gave players the ability to chisel away at rock to find gems and fossils, and also build secret bases that could be shared through multiplayer.

The Grand Underground will retain those features while adding in Pokémon hideouts, giving players the ability to encounter Pokémon. Some Pokémon can only be discovered in the Grand Underground, though it’s unclear which ones this will apply to.

Following Pokémon return with Pokemon BDSP’s new Amity Square

A beloved feature from Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver is set to return in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, with lead Pokémon now following their trainer around the map.

This feature was first introduced in Pokémon Yellow and while many feel like it’s been a normal part of Pokémon games since, the only other games where Pokémon have normally followed players are Heartgold and SoulSilver and the Let’s Go series. Pokémon Sword and Shield did this for the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra areas, but nowhere else.

The new Amity Square in Pokemon BDSP

The original Diamond and Pearl touched upon this with the Amity Square area, but this only allowed players to be followed by either their starter or one of just 11 other Pokémon. In Pokémon BDSP, players will be able to have any Pokémon they want following them, so long as it’s in the first spot in the party. The Amity Square area will also be given an overhaul, allowing the player to frolic around with their party.

Exp Share arriving in Pokémon BDSP

While many were expecting Pokémon BDSP to serve as a return to the days where Pokémon games offered a moderate challenge, that won’t be the case. Exp Share will be coming to BDSP.

By all accounts, Pokémon BDSP will have the same Exp Share that has been making Pokémon games a cakewalk since X and Y. The item will be automatically turned on, sharing EXP across the entire party even if they didn’t take part in the battle. This means players rake in less EXP for the Pokémon that participate in a battle, but significantly more overall.

Though it was meant to serve as a way of avoiding the intense grinding sessions of yesteryear, it instead just allows players to accelerate very quickly. Even if players actively avoid encounters and optional trainer battles, it’s very easy to end up with a wildly over-leveled team, something that will make Pokémon BDSP feel quite different from the originals.

Fairy-type Pokémon will be in Pokémon BDSP

While this might sound like a no-brainer, keep in mind that fairy types weren’t introduced until Pokémon X and Y. Pokémon BDSP will maintain the modern typings of Pokémon, rather than reverting them to their previous ones.

This means Azumarill will be water-fairy instead of pure water, Jigglypuff will be fairy instead of normal, and so on. This should be welcome news for anyone that still has nightmares about Cynthia’s Garchomp.

Capsule Decorations let players decorate Poké Balls

The biggest all-new addition to Pokémon BDSP are the Capsule Decorations, which let players customize the effects of Poké Balls that are used during battles.

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In recent generations, different types of Poké Balls have different visual effects when a Pokémon is thrown onto the field. These effects are consistent regardless of which Pokémon is inside the Poké Ball, which has made it common for players to be highly selective about which particular type of Poké Ball they use to capture legendaries.

Things will be different in Pokémon BDSP, though. Players will be able to put stickers on their Poké Balls, which result in a unique entrance for each Pokémon. A few examples have been shown of how this looks and players who have a go-to lineup will certainly find it rewarding to customize their favorites in a brand new way.

Pokémon BDSP has new post-game features with Ramanas Park

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl will have a very different post-game. Instead of the Battle Frontier, players will be able to head to Ramanas Park.

Ramanas Park has a number of different features, most notably a shrine where players can summon and capture legendary Pokemon from the first three Pokemon generations. This includes, but isn’t limited to, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond players having access to Ho-oh and the legendary trio from Gold and Silver, and Shining Pearl getting Lugia and the legendary birds from Red and Blue.

Data miners have also found evidence that other Pokemon, including mythical Pokemon Deoxys, might be included. So far, it’s unclear what sort of version exclusivity there might be.

When does Pokémon BDSP come out?

Pokémon BDSP is set to launch globally on November 19.

The full version of the game has been leaked and footage is being circulated around the internet, which means that some hidden features in the game are likely to come out ahead of its official launch. A full list of the game’s revealed features can be found on Pokemon BDSP’s official website.