The continued efforts to remake classic Pokemon games for modern audiences have done a lot to help make older titles accessible on Nintendo's current hardware, an effort that many fans wish would also be used for some of the company's other popular franchises. The most recent batch of Pokemon remakes, however, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, released earlier this month to the usual warm reception that Pokemon remakes get - with the similarly common complaints and gripes about specific aspects of the games.
On the surface, the remakes seem to be business as usual for casual fans of the franchise, but one thing sticks out as an interesting choice made by the games' studio: the lack of mega evolutions or other similarly supercharged moments in battle. The omission of those sorts of supercharged moves and abilities from Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl has been a topic of hot debate among fans of the franchise. While there are certainly merits for mega evolutions, Z-moves, and Gigantamax battles, there's something about the simplicity of the remakes that feels like a nice change of pace for the franchise.
The Simplicity in Pokemon's Older Titles
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are pretty faithful pound-for-pound remakes of the original DS classics with a few minor changes, none of which drastically impact the battle systems from the original games. The fourth generation of Pokemon titles was released before supercharged moves were introduced in the series, and these remakes take an old-school approach to the battle system. This means that mega evolutions, Z-moves, and Gigantamax battles are nowhere to be found in either of the titles.
While that might seem like an obvious point, as Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl's intentions aren't to change anything major about the original games, there's been a prcedent set for introducing modern battle mechanics in Pokemon remakes. Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Saphire and Pokemon Let's Go Eevee and Pikachu all featured mega evolutions despite being remakes of titles that released before mega evolutions were introduced in the franchise.
In that regard, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl stick out, but there's something nice about the simplicity of both games' takes on the original Pokemon battle system. They harken back to a simpler time in the series' history before mega evolutions, Z-moves, and Gigantamax battles began to muddy the waters of defining what a tense battle between Pokemon trainers meant.
Pokemon keeps trying to up the ante from title to title, with each new entry seemingly adding some sort of new supercharged move for players to pull out at the opportune moment, but, at a certain point, it starts to deliver diminishing returns. At the end of the day, there's very little separating mega evolutions from Z-moves from Gigantamax battles from a mechanical perspective, as they essentially all just attempt to make battles bigger and better versions of what they were before, but the Pokemon series doesn't need any of that to be entertaining.
Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl bring a level of clarity to the battle system as a result of their lack of supercharged moves because players know what to expect from each encounter, making the game of chess that Pokemon has always been a lot easier to understand - ensuring each battle feels more deliberate and satisfying. Because of the inherent simplicity, players can only beat the game using their knowledge of the systems in place in each title instead of simply being able to steamroll their way through each fight with a mega evolved Pokemon or a hyper-powerful Z-move.
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are available now for Nintendo Switch.
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl mark the return of the charming Amity Square as a relaxing way to socialize with Pokemon.