Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: Differences from the originals

Pokemon Bdsp Avatars
Pokemon Bdsp Avatars (Image credit: iMore)

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are remakes of the original Gen IV DS games from 2006. While many of the game's features are the same, some tweaks have been made to change the experience and bring it more into the modern world.

Of course, there's the updated graphics designed to pay homage to the original 2D visuals, but there are several mechanics that have changed as well as some new features to discover. Here are all Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl differences from the original games.

Snazzy styles

Pokemon Bdsp Clothing (Image credit: The Pokémon Company (screenshot))

Players can now purchase clothing for their avatar to wear instead of being stuck with the iconic clothing you start with. The thing to note here is that players cannot choose individual accessories like hats and scarves. Instead, you'll get to choose from complete outfits rather than mixing and matching.

Regardless, being able to choose your style might just help your character stand out more when you're engaging with the multiplayer aspects of the game.

HMs gone wild

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond Shining Pearl Luxray (Image credit: The Pokémon Company (screenshot))

Instead of requiring players to balance their team with HM heavy Pokémon, HMs are performed by wild Pokémon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Just interact with the Pokétch to access your unlocked HMs. This is a nice change for many players that won't require you to keep unwanted Pokémon in your party just because they know a move you need, not to mention it can save you from needing to swap Pokémon every few minutes.

No need to save

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond Shining Pearl Amity Square (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

The game auto-saves for you as you journey around Sinnoh. Of course, you can still manually save if that gives you peace of mind. Not to mention, if you'd like to have better control over when the game saves you can turn auto-saves off.

Battle assistance

Pokemon Bdsp Lucario Vs Garchomp (Image credit: iMore)

Once you've defeated a Pokémon, the next time you fight it, you'll be able to tell if the attacks your Pokémon has are "Effective" or "Not very effective". That way you can more easily take down your opponents without needing to remember the type system as much by memory.

You have a PC on you

Pokemon Bdsp Pokemon Center (Image credit: The Pokemon Company (screenshot))

Instead of needing to run to the Pokémon Center in order to deposit or withdraw Pokémon, you always have access to your PC and can swap whenever you need to. You unlock the PC after defeating the first gym and returning to Jubilife City.

Talent show

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond Shining Pearl Contest (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Super Contest Shows allow you to participate in rhythm games and show off your Pokémon's special talents. This game did exist in the original games; however, it's been revamped with new features for the Switch versions.

Pokémon players Unite!

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond Shining Pearl Union Room (Image credit: The Pokémon Company (screenshot))

Players with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription can interact with other players around the world in the Union Room. Here you can trade Pokémon or engage in battles with the players you meet. This feature was there in the original games, but not to the extent that it is here.

The Grand Underground & Pokémon hideaways

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond Shining Pearl Statue (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

The popular Secret Base from previous Pokémon games returns in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, but with an expanded addition known as the Grand Underground. Here players can dig around and participate in digging minigames. They can also customize the look of their hangout spot with decorations.

The statues you place here will determine what kind of Pokémon appear in the Pokémon hideaways for you to battle and catch. Some Pokémon living in the Sinnoh region can only be found down here.

Sharing the experience

Pokemon Bdsp Lucario Vs Garchomp (Image credit: iMore)

Unlike the original Diamond and Pearl DS games, the Switch remakes feature Exp. Share, which allows your Pokémon team to share any points among themselves even if they didn't participate in the battle. Unfortunately, for anyone who prefers more of a challenging playthrough, you cannot turn it off.

Following the leader

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond Shining Pearl Piplup Following (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

One of my absolute favorite things about Pokémon games is having my favorite characters follow me around in the overworld. Thankfully, this feature has been added in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. The Pokémon that follows you around will increase in friendship more easily.

Customize your Poké Balls

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond Shining Pearl Capsule Decoration (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Due to the stylus and second screen on the DS, there was a little minigame that allowed original Diamond and Pearl owners to decorate and customize their Poké Balls. This feature has been expanded upon and updated in the remakes, so you can place stickers all over your gear. You'll acquire stickers as you adventure around the Sinnoh region.

Catch Legendaries at the Park

Ramanas Park is a location that players can access after defeating the Elite Four and The Champion. Here, players can encounter Legendary Pokémon by using Slates. Some Legendaries are exclusive to either Brilliant Diamond or Shining Pearl, so you'll need to trade with a friend to get them all.


There are some more big differences to discuss, but since they're somewhat more on the spoilery side of things, we've made them hidden. You can view these last changes by clicking the button.

Platinum pullover

Pokemon Giratina (Image credit: iMore)

It hasn't been uncommon for previous remakes to pull in elements from the third game of its generation. In Diamond and Pearl's case that would be Platinum. Unfortunately, multiple leakers have claimed that there is very little Pokémon Platinum content in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. This means there is no Distortion World, an M.C. Escher-stlye labyrinth of pathways that can appear sideways or even upside down on your way to catching Giratina.

That also means that there is no Battle Frontier or Battle Tower in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. This area allowed players to engage in a number of challenging fights after the main quest was completed. But it apparently is not in the remakes.

We've all changed

There are plenty of interesting new changes to Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl to keep gameplay interesting for anyone who played the original games.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.