After over 15 years since the original release of the 2006 titles, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are finally here, and they bring a bit of nostalgia packed with them for those who did play through Generation 4. Pokemon Platinum is pretty much out of the picture, and for the most part, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are faithful remakes that do also innovate the classics thanks to improved features and elements from modern Pokemon games.
One of the most compelling aspects of Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl is exploring the Grand Underground, which is a revamped area based on the Underground from Generation 4. Players can access this maze of tunnels and caves very early in the game, and they can even stay there for a lengthy amount of time to catch rare Pokemon, excavate fossils, and much more. Even though the Grand Underground is not particularly innovative, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl took a rather underwhelming feature of the original games and turned into what could be one of the best things to be featured in the franchise moving forward.
Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: Grand Underground Excavations and Caves
The Grand Underground lets Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl players experience the same classic features from Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, such as chiseling walls in search of precious items, or making a secret base. However, these aspects are now much improved in the remakes, and excavating treasure is more interesting than before thanks to the Pokemon statues players can find. The statues can then be placed in one's hideout as decorations, but that's not all, as players can also stack several statues of Pokemon that belong to the same type in order to increase the chances of critters with that type spawning in caves.
Speaking of the caves, this is one of the biggest innovations in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Each cave is based on different biomes where certain Pokemon types spawn, including some rare critters that wouldn't normally be available in the overworld. Here, players can delve in to find very powerful Pokemon as early as after collecting the first Gym Badge and traveling to the second major town — Eterna City, home to the Underground Man and the second Gym overall. After gaining access to the Grand Underground, players will notice that there are big squares connecting the tunnels, and those are the caves.
Pokemon in the Grand Underground vary depending on the biomes, but there are also some rare spawns that include critters like Swablu, Elekid, Magby, Duskull, and many more. Another great Pokemon to look for in case players don't pick Chimchar as their starter is Houndoom, which can be easily found in several caves and goes a long way to provide players with a reliable Fire-type Pokemon in a game that still lacks most until the post-game. This means that the Grand Underground is one of the best ways to catch more exotic Pokemon that make building a team in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl a rather diverse experience.
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl's Grand Underground Should Come Back
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl can easily spend hours upon hours in the Grand Underground thanks to its high-level, rare Pokemon and all the things to do there, only to emerge much later and still have to face the second Gym Leader of Sinnoh. One of the reasons why this is the case is a special addition that wasn't there in the original games — the Diglett bonus or Diglett Rush. In fact, players can run into Digletts and Dugtrios heading back into the ground while in the tunnels, and running over to their spot collects either one or three essences out of forty needed to activate the event.
Once the Diglett Rush is active, players have a few minutes to do one of two important things, as they can get Colored Statues more easily or find Shiny Pokemon at an increased rate. Colored Statues are very useful for those players who want to catch rare Pokemon early because they provide an increased bonus to the spawn rate of corresponding types, whereas Shiny Pokemon are one of the most sought-after things in all Pokemon games. Thus, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl make the Grand Underground one of the best features in the game, if not the best, and this paves the way for future Pokemon games to come with something similar.
Much like Pokemon Sword and Shield's Wild Area likely laid the foundations for Pokemon Legends: Arceus being the first open-world Pokemon game, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl's Grand Underground could do the same moving forward. Something many Pokemon games lack is an area to go to early in the story to look for great critters and extra loot the more players dedicate their time to it. The Grand Underground does that exceptionally well, and there is no reason why something like it shouldn't be part of the franchise as a staple.
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are available for Nintendo Switch.
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