A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a non-violent game, even though the focus is on "battles" with the Pokemon that are strategic turn-based moves and don't feature any physical contact between characters. When a Pokemon loses all of its health, it faints. This is the newest version of the Pokemon series, and it allows children who have played the earlier GBA versions to download their caught Pokemon into this game. Pokemon Pearl is the same game as Pokemon Diamond except it contains different wild Pokemon for you to catch.
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What's it about?
POKEMON DIAMOND (or the sister game, Pokemon Pearl) revisits the classic formula that made the earlier Pokemon games so popular: Collect Pokemon, battle with them, and become the best Pokemon trainer around. You and a friend find a briefcase left behind by two mysterious strangers, and find Pokemon inside. When you return the briefcase to the strangers, one of them -- Professor Rowan, a renowned Pokemon expert -- asks for your help in indexing the various species of Pokemon that live in the wild, and you agree. In order to find and catalog the Pokemon into the Pokedex, it's necessary to explore the countryside and towns, and battle the wild Pokemon.
Is it any good?
One major new feature is the ability to play wirelessly over the Nintendo Wi-fi connection, which allows players who aren't close to each other to battle and trade Pokemon over the Internet. They can even use the Nintendo microphone to voice chat, but will need a friend code, which means players can't choose random strangers to play.
The graphics are 2D with some 3D elements. The interface doesn't make much use of the DS touch screen, except during battle when it becomes very handy with large, thumb-friendly icons, which alleviate the need to scroll through choices with the directional pad. Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl are true to the Pokemon franchise and faithfully include most of the features of past games. Deceptively simple in concept, both games are rich in strategy, making them fun for both kids and adults who like the franchise.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Pokemon is such a popular franchise. Why do you like Pokemon? In this game Professor Rowan is trying to catalog all the Pokemon. Is it important to know many facts about different animals? Why are the trainers fighting each other if they aren't mad at each other?