When The Pokémon Company initially announced the Gen 4 remakes in Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, my feelings were mixed. It appeared that the remakes will be faithful to the original content like with the Union Room and The Underground. Porygon Z was shown in the reveal trailer, suggesting that the remakes will use the Platinum Pokédex.
However, I was not very thrilled with the chibi style in the overworld perspective and the graphics looked very rough. While content (and gameplay) is king, knowing what the Nintendo Switch can graphically achieve like in Dragon Quest XIS and Xenoblade 2, I couldn't help, but be a tad disappointed with the remakes' fidelity.
Yesterday, on August 18, the official Pokémon YouTube channel premiered a keynote on its projects' latest updates, including Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl's. I did not expect to be impressed with the new Gen 4 remakes' trailer. Here are the first and the new trailers below for comparison:
The graphics showed a noticeable improvement over the initial footage. Here are some side-by-side comparisons that I made to show that it's not an exaggeration (old trailer is on the left and the new trailer is on the right). You can zoom in on the images for better clarity:
The new footage uses a lighter color palette. You can actually see the details of the wooden doors whereas on the left, it's too dark. Also, the lighting looks more realistic and the occlusion helps make Twinleaf Town look less flat.
Here, the lighting and occlusion make a huge difference on Floaroma Town. The flowers on the right have more luminance whereas the ones on the left look lifeless.
The background is different, but it still shows how much Dawn's character model has improved. The shading has improved and there are soft reflections off of Dawn's hair and dress. Also, the Pokéball looks less aliased.
The leaves on the pine trees on the right screenshot have more detail than in the left screenshot. Also, the fog in the new trailer provides a better sense of depth as the faraway objects are more occluded. The old trailer didn't have any occlusion.
The graphics still have some notable flaws. Textures are still very low resolution and I still see some aliasing. The animations appear to be the same as X & Y's which are 8 years old. I'm still iffy on the chibi style and still prefer something more to-scale, though the look much better thanks to better lighting, color palette, and occlusion. Overall, I think ILCA (remember, Gamefreak is not making them) deserves praise for improving the fidelity over the past 6 months. As the remakes are slated to come out November 19 and perhaps ILCA can put in some more polish before the final product launches.
I still think Link's Awakening looks better, but the remakes no longer look ass compared to it.
What impressed me more were some of the new additions to the content. The Underground will work the same as in the old games, but will feature new areas called Pokémon hideaways, where you can catch Pokémon that you would've otherwise can't get above ground. The statues you place in your secret base will change what Pokémon will appear. In the gameplay breakdown portion of the presentation, the hideaways offered a good variety of environments, from mossy caves to volcanic areas.
Hey look, a fire type that is not of the Chimchar or Ponyta evolutionary line.
Pokémon contests make a return and from what the videos showed, it looked like ILCA took some inspiration from Yakuza 0. Fun fact, ILCA has supported other studios on notable games like Yakuza 0, Ace Combat 7, Nier: Automata, and Dragon Quest XI. In the original Diamand & Pearl, the contests were divided into three parts: the visual, dance (rhythm game), and acting (Pokémon moves) competitions. The originals didn't have the option to use contest moves during the dance competition, but the remakes will provide that as an option. This is similar to the Dancing Fever moves in the Yakuza 0 mini-game.
Unfortunately, the remakes may not have the Battle Frontier. Nichegamer checked the Sinnoh map art for the remakes and it lacks the Battle Hall and Battle Factory that flank the Battle Tower. This is still speculation and ILCA has not confirmed or deny on whether the remakes will feature the Battle Frontier. However, considering that the Gen 3 remakes in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire did not have the Battle Frontier, I wouldn't be surprised if Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl omitted it, too.
On top of that, there's no word on whether you can explore the Distortion World in the remakes. If the remakes include both the Battle Frontier and Distortion World, then they would be a definite buy for me. Unfortunately, with the status of these two features ranging from ambiguous to pessimistic, I shall remain in "wait and see" mode.