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Gameplay



The bottom screen of the Nintendo DS displays the Pokétch, a multi-functional device with features related to time tracking and player status.

Pokémon Diamond and Pearl are role-playing games with adventure elements. The basic mechanics of the games are largely the same as their predecessors.As with all Pokémon games for handheld consoles, gameplay is in third-person overhead perspective, and consists of three basic screens: a field map, in which the player navigates the main character; a battle screen; and the menu, in which the player configures his or her party, items, or gameplay settings. The player begins the game with no Pokémon or Poké Balls, but is given the choice of three Pokémon as a part of the story line. Once Pokéballs are obtained, the player can capture more Pokémon using Pokéballs. The player can also use his/her Pokémon to do damage to the other Pokémon. Whenever the player encounters a wild Pokémon or is challenged by a trainer to a battle, the screen switches to a turn-based battle screen where the Pokémon fight. During battle, the player may fight, use an item, switch the active Pokémon, or flee (the last not an option in battles against trainers). All Pokémon have hit points (HP); whenever a Pokémon's HP is reduced to zero, it faints and cannot battle unless revived at a Pokémon center or with an item. If the player's Pokémon defeats the opposing Pokémon (causes it to faint), it receives experience points. After accumulating enough experience points, it can level up; most Pokémon evolve into a new species of Pokémon whenever they reach a certain level. Pokémon's stats also increase every time it levels up, and they will also learn new moves as well. If the player cancels an evolution the Pokémon will learn new moves faster.

Apart from battling, capturing Pokémon is the most important element of Pokémon gameplay. Although other trainers' Pokémon cannot be captured, the player can use different kinds of Poké Balls on a wild Pokémon during battle. A successful capture adds the Pokémon to the player's active party or stores it if the player already has the maximum of six Pokémon. Factors in the success rate of capture include the HP of the target Pokémon and the strength of the Poké Ball used; the lower the target's HP and the stronger the Poké Ball, the higher the success rate of capture is. Also, inflicting certain status effects such as sleep or paralysis adds a multiplier to the capture rate, making it easier to capture wild Pokémon. Each species has a capture rate of its own as well.



New features

As with other generations of Pokémon games, Diamond and Pearl retained the basic gameplay of their predecessors while introducing additional new features. Increased from three times of day in Gold and Silver, there are five time periods in Diamond and Pearl: morning, day, afternoon, evening, and night. Diamond and Pearl introduced several changes to battle mechanics. In previous generations, Pokémon moves were classified as "physical" or "special" based on their type; for example, all Fire-type moves were special and all Ground-type moves were physical. In Diamond and Pearl, however, moves are categorized into three groups. Attacks that make physical contact with the opponent are "physical", attacks that do not make physical contact are "special", and moves that do not deal damage directly are classified as "status".

Some of the games' new features capitalize on the Nintendo DS's features. The Pokétch (ポケッチ Poketchi), a simulated smartwatch, uses the DS's bottom screen and hosts applications including a clock, a calculator, a map, a counter, and a drawing pad. These applications are obtained throughout the game. Beneath Sinnoh's surface is the Underground (ちかつうろ Chikatsūro), a large area used for wireless multiplayer gaming, in it, players can create and decorate secret bases (first featured in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire) and participate in minigames. The items mined in the Underground can then be transferred into the player's bag in the main game. Diamond and Pearl also employ support for the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection (discontinued), allowing players to communicate through voice chat, trade, and battle online. The main system for trade is the Global Trade Station (which for Pokemon art director Ken Sugimori was the new feature he was most pleased with), that allows players to trade with people around the world. Players can search for any Pokémon that they have seen in the game and can offer their own; if another player is offering the requested Pokémon and is looking for the offered Pokémon, the trade occurs immediately. (The trade does not have to be instant; an offer can be left for other players to browse and complete, even while the player is offline.) Certain species of Pokémon traded internationally will have a Pokédex entry in the language of the game it originated from.


Diamond and Pearl's Pokémon Contests (events in which the player's Pokémon compete in a show to win ribbons) consist of three stages, two more than the Contests of the Game Boy Advance games. In the Visual Competition stage, players use the Nintendo DS's touchscreen to place accessories on their Pokémon to boost a particular trait, such as "Cool" or "Cute" and earn points. In the Dance Competition stage, the player must tap buttons on the touchscreen in rhythm with the music. The final stage, Acting Competition, is similar to Pokémon Contests of the Game Boy Advance games; Pokémon use their moves to appeal to the judges and crowd. Like Pokéblocks in the third-generation games, baked goods called Poffins can be made from berries and fed to Pokémon in order to boost a particular trait, and therefore, the likelihood of success in a relevant Contest.




Synopsis



The Sinnoh region is based on the Japanese island of Hokkaidō.

Diamond and Pearl are set in the fictional region of Sinnoh, an island based on the Japanese island of Hokkaidō. Sinnoh is probably not directly connected to any other region in the Pokémon universe, much like Hoenn. It is characterized by large, snow-covered mountains (Mt. Coronet, a part of a mountain range, divides Sinnoh in half). In this game, the starters are the grass-type Turtwig, the fire-type Chimchar, and the water-type Piplup. Turtwig can evolve into Grotle and then into Torterra, Chimchar can evolve into Monferno and then into Infernape, and Piplup can evolve into Prinplup and then into Empoleon. Unlike other regions, Sinnoh has a "northern" feel to it because it is the only region with snow-covered routes. Sinnoh is also characterized by its waterways; it has three main lakes (Verity, Acuity, and Valor) that form a triangle. Unlike the Hoenn region, however, which is mostly water routes, only 30 percent of Sinnoh's landscape comprises waterways. Underneath Sinnoh's surface is the Sinnoh Underground, which is a large maze of caves and tunnels.


Story

The games chronicle the adventures of a new Pokémon trainer who strives to become the Pokémon League Champion by collecting and training Pokémon. Like most games in the series, Diamond and Pearl feature eight Pokémon gyms led by Gym Leaders, professional trainers whose expertise lies in a particular Pokémon type. Gym Leaders (Roark, Gardenia, Maylene, Crasher Wake, Fantina, Byron, Candice, and Volkner) serve as bosses and reward skilled trainers with Gym Badges, key to the advancement of the plot. As all core games, the protagonist must also thwart the schemes of a crime syndicate (and here, it is Team Galactic), who plans to use Pokémon to create a new universe just for themselves, while destroying the current one.

Like all other Pokémon RPGs, Diamond and Pearl begin in the protagonist's hometown. After viewing a television report about a media-conducted search for a Red Gyarados, which was spotted at a faraway lake (Johto's Lake of Rage), the protagonist and his or her best friend (named Barry by default) travel together to check the local lake for a Pokémon like it. They spot Professor Rowan, a Pokémon evolution researcher, and his assistant, the playable character not selected in the game: Lucas (boy) or Dawn (girl). After a short discussion, the professor and his assistant leave the lake, leaving a briefcase behind. When they are attacked by wild Starly, the protagonist and his or her rival examine the case. The player is then given a choice among the three Pokémon found in the briefcase (Turtwig, Chimchar, or Piplup) with which to battle the Starly. After defeating the Starly, Lucas or Dawn retrieves and returns the briefcase to the professor. Noticing that a bond has been forged between the young protagonist and his or her chosen Pokémon, Rowan offers it to him or her, asking that he or she embark on a journey and fill his or her Pokédex.


The protagonist encounters the antagonistic team, Team Galactic, early in the game, when he or she must save Professor Rowan from some of their thugs; however, their motives are unclear until later. The protagonist encounters the Team twice (when it takes over a wind farm and when it sets up a base in Eterna City) before it takes over Sinnoh's three lakes in an attempt to capture the Mirage Pokémon (Uxie, Azelf, and Mesprit). Shortly after the player earns his or her seventh Gym Badge, Team Galactic captures the Mirage Pokémon and imprisons them inside the science laboratory of the Team Galactic Headquarters Building, where its members extract crystals from the Pokémon to create the Red Chain, an object that can control the legendary Pokémon Palkia (in Pearl) or Dialga (in Diamond) (both in Pokémon Platinum, though Giratina appears after this). After releasing the trio, the protagonist is able to access Spear Pillar, an ancient ruin atop Mt. Coronet, where the leader of Team Galactic summons Dialga or Palkia. The legendary Pokémon's powers begin to overwhelm Sinnoh, causing the newly free Uxie, Azelf, and Mesprit to attempt to stop it. The player then battles Palkia/Dialga; after defeating or capturing the Pokémon, Sinnoh returns to normal. After this, the player will continue, eventually battling the Sinnoh Region Pokémon League's Elite Four: Aaron, Bertha, Flint, and Lucian. After defeating all four members, the player will battle the Sinnoh League champion, a woman named Cynthia, who had appeared before in the game. If the protagonist beats Cynthia, he or she is the new Sinnoh League champion, beating the game. After the player beats the game, there is a new island to explore that is filled with other types of Pokémon. His or her old friend, who challenged him or her to battles multiple times before, will be waiting for him or her here. The old friend will challenge the player to another battle. On this island, there are also stores and a tournament center.




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