Since 1996, Pokemon has been an unstoppable monster on both sides of the Pacific. In Japan, Pokemon games helped push sales of the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS through the roof and you can find Pikachu and company just about anywhere. While the marketing craze has died down in North America, the popularity of the Pokemon games remains.
So it should have come as no surprise that Pokemon Pearl — alongside sister game Pokemon Diamond — has already sold over a million copies. We’ve already seen three spin-offs of the series on the DS in Pokemon Dash, Pokemon Trozei, and Pokemon Ranger, but not a full Pokemon RPG game until now.
However, it’s certainly been worth the wait. The franchise’s first major incarnation on the DS is not only an unbelievably fun time, but it pumps brand-new life into the 11-year-old franchise.
Once again, the Pokemon series finds itself in a new land, but with a very similar story. Starting off from Twinleaf Town in the land of Sinnoh, you set out on a quest to become a Pokemon legend, raising a team of Pokemon and battling other trainers, gym leaders, and your rival - this time an overeager and impatient friend of yours. However, other forces are at work in the form of Team Galactic, the token mysterious group with intentions to bring about a new universe. You’ll also be helping Sinnoh’s resident Pokemon expert complete a new Pokedex, a very familiar task for Pokemon veterans.
Pokemon Diamond/Pearl builds off the features that past games in the series have brought us, while adding in some appreciated new ones. The Pokedex is now easily scrollable with the touch screen and stylus and includes much more information, including keeping track of the different genders of Pokemon, the ability to check their weight and height in comparison to your character, and for audiophiles, the ability to play around a bit with the natural cries of each Pokemon. The day and night cycles are more visually distinct in Diamond/Pearl, as you’ll be able to tell whether you’re in the morning, afternoon, evening, or at night. Like in past games, this plays into when you can certain types of Pokemon, and each version of the game has a few Pokemon that can only be found in that specific version.