With the release of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, Trainers can finally return to Sinnoh and experience the region fully remastered.
As always, you'll get the choice of three starters, one Fire type, one Water type, and one Grass type. However, is the decision largely academic, based on your aesthetic preference, or is there a 'right' choice?
Here we take a look at the three starters to determine the answer.
Piplup: The Penguin Pokémon
This Water-type bird may surprise you, given it quickly learns Flying-type moves alongside its Water-type set.
Piplup evolves into Prinplup starting at level 16, followed by Empoleon from level 36.
- It is weak against Electric and Grass types
- It is resistant to Steel, Water, Fire and Ice types
- It's attacks are super effective against Fire, Rock and Ground types
- Its attacks are not very effective against Dragon, Water and Grass types.
Chimchar: The Chimp Pokémon
The little Fire monkey Chimchar evolves into Monferno from level 14, then Infernape from level 36.
- It is weak against Water, Rock and Ground types
- It is resistant to Steel, Fairy, Fire, Ice, Bug and Grass types
- Its attacks are super effective against Steel, Ice, Bug and Grass types.
- Its attacks are not very effective against Dragon, Water, Fire and Rock types.
Turtwig: The Tiny Leaf Pokémon
The Grass-type Turtwig will evolve into Grotle from level 18, then into Torterra from level 32.
- It is weak against Fire, Ice, Bug, Poison and Flying types.
- It is resistant to Water, Electric, Grass and Ground types
- Its attacks are super effective against Water, Rock and Ground types
- Its attacks are not very effective against Steel, Dragon, Fire, Bug, Grass, Poison and Flying types.
So, which starter should you choose?
Now that you've been introduced to the three Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl starters, the big question needs answering. Here's the criteria you should take into account when making your final choice:
- Do you like the look of the Pokémon and its evolutions?
- Do you prefer a Pokémon with a lot of health (i.e. a tank), or quicker attacks with more damage (i.e. a DPS)?
- Do you prefer an easier start to your adventure and then increasing difficulty, or vice versa?
Finally, it's important to remember that your rival will take the Pokémon that's strong against the one you choose. For example, if you take Piplup, the Water-type Pokémon, you'll have to face off against Turtwig, the Grass-type.
Even if Piplup is the cutest of the three, ultimately aesthetics is a personal choice with no right or wrong choice in that regard.
As such, we'll focus on the other criteria.
If you want the beginning of the adventure to be easier...
The Pokémon used in the first three Gyms in Diamond & Pearl are Rock, Grass, and Fighting.
While Piplup will struggle against Grass-type Pokémon, it remains the most convenient starter choice for general travel early in the game -- especially as it can learn Flying-type moves. You'll come across countless Trainers with Pokémon weak to Water-type moves.
Also bear in mind that the wild Pokémon you can catch en route to the first three Gym Badges will complement Piplup. These include Shinx, Starly, and even or even Kricketot.
Tortwig is also pretty useful at the start, since it can easily beat the Rock-type Pokémon and resist those in the second Gym. However, it has far too many type weaknesses to make it the best choice for the early game.
Despite this, Grass-type is overall the most "stable" choice for Diamond and Pearl, for a more balanced adventure as a sum of the whole.
I'm sick of the simplicity, I want a challenge...
Unfortunately you won't escape the bewildering simplicity of recent Pokémon games with these Diamond and Pearl remakes. That being said, if you want to spice up your adventure a little, we strongly recommend that you choose Chimchar as your starter.
The Fire-type starter will have a hard time in the first few Gyms, apart from the Grass-type one, so you'll undoubtedly face a challene. The little fire monkey is very fragile, with low health. However, it is speedy and packs a punch on the offensive side of things.
Regardless of your choice it's important to remember that, in Pokémon, what counts above all is your team. There's no point in betting everything on your starter, leaving it at the top of your party list all the way through the game.
Ultimately, it's about building a team that can cover all the bases, or as many as possible. This is especially relevant when tackling the Elite Four.