Pokemon Diamond / Pearl - hands-on - Day 3

Ready to catch some monsters? We're about to give you a seriously in-depth look at the latest evolution of the series - and its trademark battling beasts. But if you need an overview of the game, be sure to check Day 1hereand, for a look at all of the new features of the DS version, hit Day 2here.

New Pokemon traits

Shinou's varied terrain makes it home to 150 different species of Pokemon, 107 of which are new, bringing the total number of extant Pokemon to an awkward 493. Some of the new Pokemon have a variety of surprising new traits, however.

Many of the Pokemon now have little visual differences that separate males from females. Take our beloved Pikachu, for example - the end of male Pikachu's tail is flat, while females' have small indentations in them.

While technically the same species, a few Pokemon have different variants. Karanakushi, a sea slug, is pink or blue depending on where it is caught. Stranger still, the female of the bagworm-esque Pokemon Minomucchi will build itself a new casing if it battles in a new area, and will even evolve differently if it keeps battling in that environment.

A surprising number of the 107 new Pokemon are actually evolutions of older Pokemon, both popular... and not so much. These can be evolved using a variety of arcane new methods. You'll find out more details in a minute. Some Pokemon even require combinations of these techniques to evolve.