When it comes to Pokémon Legends: Arceus Vs. Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, there are plenty of reasons why you might favor one game over the other.
However, for as long as the Pokémon series has been alive, very few changes have been made to the core formula with each new release.
This is until Pokémon: Legends Arceus was released and took the Pokémon series in a completely new direction for the first time in years.
Considering Pokémon is the largest IP on the planet, it is likely that you may have already played a Pokémon game before or at least understand the core mechanics of the series.
For this reason, we’d have to recommend checking out Pokémon Legends: Arceus over Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl because it is an entirely new experience, unlike any other Pokémon game that has come before it.
If you are looking for a more detailed breakdown of these two games and what each title brings to the table, be sure to check out our full comparison below.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl
Let’s start off our comparison by talking a little about each game. Considering Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are remakes of a previous Generation of Pokémon, we thought it fitting to cover them first.
Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are full remakes of the Nintendo DS Generation IV games. The entire art style has been overhauled, several quality of life improvements have been included, and the former sprites have been replaced with 3D models for each Pokémon.
Starting off with the art style, it can be hit or miss depending on your preferences. Some people have no problem with the “chibi” aesthetic, but for others, it can come off as cheap and unrealistic.
This art style is only used for the overworld, however. Battles opt for a similar style to other modern Pokémon games such as Sword and Shield. Every Pokémon is now a 3D model instead of a 2D sprite, and characters will be more realistic than their chibi counterparts.
A complaint lobbied against modern Pokémon games is the lack of dynamic animations when it comes to Pokémon battles. Pokémon Colosseum and Battle Revolution felt so alive whenever a Pokémon attacked or was attacked.
Game Freak has been taking steps back with some of their newer titles, and Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are no exception.
Quality of Life
Pound for pound, Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are copies of their original games. The removal of HMs is a nice feature.
However, gating the shiny charm behind completing the National Dex when in Sword and Shield it was obtainable via completing the Regional Dex, several glaring glitches that break the game wide open, and a huge late-game difficulty spike that will catch newer players off-guard shows that very little care was put into these games.
The difficulty, in particular, is far less nuanced than fans had been hoping for. Pokémon has become far too easy over the years, with older fans crying out for a challenge.
However, perfecting an opponent’s IVs/EVs and giving them post-game items (something normal players could not hope to match with a story team) is just aggravating more than it is challenging.
All in all, Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl feel like placeholder games designed to tide fans over until the release of Legends: Arceus. They are great for reliving your childhood if you grew up playing the original Diamond and Pearl, but offer little to no innovation when it comes to the series as a whole.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a breath of fresh air that the Pokémon series desperately needed. The game has a solid campaign, plenty of new mechanics for players to get stuck into, and even a few new regional forms.
The first thing veteran Pokémon fans will notice about Legends: Arceus is the removal of almost everything the series is known for.
Here, there are no gyms, no typical rival battles, and no Elite Four. Set in a bygone era of the Sinnoh Region, your goal this time around is to complete the very first Pokédex. This is done via capturing the various Pokémon in the region and categorizing them.
The game has a much shorter campaign than traditional Pokémon games, especially when including the usual postgame and PVP features of other games.
Much like the Wild Area of Pokémon Sword and Shield, Pokémon here roam about freely, and it is up to you to sneak close enough in order to capture them.
Battles return, but this time includes the Strong and Speed style mechanics. Players can either power up their moves or unleash multiple attacks in a single turn with the caveat that they’ll need to forfeit a turn in order to do so. This mechanic is nothing mind-blowing but is enough to keep things fresh.
The new regional forms for several Pokémon are also great. Regional forms seem to have taken the place of Mega Evolutions over the years, but veteran players are always happy to see older Pokémon receive some love.
The Hisui Region
Let’s talk a little about the Hisui Region. It is clear that the world of Legends: Arceus is designed on Japanese history, and the art style reflects this wonderfully.
Several regional Pokémon forms and other art assets utilize traditional Japanese brush strokes or mythology in their design, and it makes a nice change from the more modern setting of most Pokémon games.
The story you will play through throughout the Hisui Region, however, is a little slow. The game still insists on its opening few hours being nothing but tutorials and menus.
When the game finally does pick up, the story doesn’t manage to reach the same highs as some of its predecessors. Pokémon games have never really been known for their great storytelling, and, unfortunately, Legends: Arceus is no exception.
Ultimately, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is something new. It is a fun experience from beginning to end with some replayability for those who enjoy things like Shiny Hunting. It is by no means a perfect game, but it is a step in the right direction.
Legends: Arceus Vs. Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl
Now that we understand what both of these games bring to the table let’s take a look at some of the biggest similarities and differences between these titles.
We’ll go over the explorable areas, the exclusive Pokémon, and the various customization options for each game before deciding which game does each aspect better.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
The Hisui Region Vs. The Grand Underground
One of the biggest complaints lobbied against the original Diamond and Pearl games is the utter lack of fire-type Pokémon. Aside from the starter, Infernape, the only fire-type Pokémon you can catch is Rapidash.
This makes team-building for those who opt for either Turtwig or Piplup a lot less free as there are no other options for fire-type Pokémon aside from the aforementioned Ponyta and Rapidash.
The Grand Underground is Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl’s answer to this problem and a much welcome inclusion. Pokémon freely roam about in this location (much like Sword and Shield’s Wild Area).
Several rare Pokémon can be caught here that weren’t available in the original games (such as the fire-type Pokémon Houndoom).
The Hisui Region does not have this split between random encounters and free-roaming Pokémon. Instead, all Pokémon wander in the wild (much like Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee).
The Grand Underground is a nice feature, but the end goal of Pokémon has always been to have them seamlessly integrated into the world. This is something that Legends: Arceus succeeds at this immensely.
Generation IV’s Cynthia has always been a difficult challenge and has one of the most well-rounded teams of any Champion. Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl is relatively easy throughout most of the campaign. Even small changes (such as giving Chimchar access to Power-Up Punch before it evolves, or the Friendship mechanic allowing Pokémon to survive fatal attacks) make even the hardest difficulty easier.
However, the Elite Four in these remakes is difficult to the point of annoyance. They each have powerful competitive items and amazing stat spreads. Cynthia’s team as well have near-perfect IVs and EVs, making her very difficult to take down.
Legends: Arceus, however, has little to no aspects than can be called difficult. The game is fairly linear from beginning to end, and aside from a few battles that might take a few tries, it is possible to speedrun through the entire game in no time flat.
If you’re looking for a challenge and only a challenge, Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are pretty much your only option. However, if you are okay with foregoing a tough challenge for an enjoyable experience, Legends: Arceus is a much better choice.
Both of these games take place in the Sinnoh Region. Legends: Arceus is set in the past, while Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are set in the modern era.
Considering how every other Pokémon game is set in the modern day, it is very refreshing to play through a bygone era of Pokémon.
When it comes to which region is more fun to explore, this hands-down goes to Legends: Arceus. Not only can you freely walk, swim, and fly through the Hisui region, but lots of new regional forms can be found here as well. All the Sinnoh dex Pokémon can be found in both these games, but the regional forms bump up the Pokédex count in Legends: Arceus considerably.
Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl’s world is by no means boring to explore, but compared to Legends: Arceus sprawling open world, Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl can’t compete.
A huge part of Pokémon’s post-game is shiny hunting and breeding competitive Pokémon. Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl has a great competitive scene. All training items are available here, the Masuda shiny hunting method is available, and the Shiny charm can be acquired through completing the national dex.
Not very many quality of life improvements have been made to the standard competitive training experience in Brilliant Diamon & Shining Pearl, but the newer quality of life improvements are all here (such as Bottle Caps).
The Grand Underground is also another shiny hunting method wherein, after a certain number of people have been talked to, shiny rates will increase significantly for a brief period.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus doesn’t have any interactivity like this. Trades and PVP battles are unavailable at this time, with no inclusion on the horizon.
You might be wondering how to catch shiny Pokémon in Legends: Arceus. There are several shiny hunting methods exclusive to Legends: Arceus as well. Additionally, with the inclusion of Alpha Pokémon, there is another layer of rarity that collectors will love to start grinding toward.
When it comes to a pure story experience, Legends: Arceus is unrivaled. However, if you need PVP play to scratch your competitive itch, Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are your only option.
Over the years, player customization has become an integral part of the Pokémon experience. Both Legends: Arceus and Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl have decent albeit limited customization options.
You can change your skin tone, clothes, and accessories in both of these games. While the options available are by no means as extensive as something like Elden Ring, the items are more than sufficient.
Regardless of how much you like to change up your character’s style, both Legends: Arceus and Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl can satisfy your needs.
Which of these games you prefer will be determined by your preferred style of gameplay and how many other Pokémon games you have played in the past.
Pokémon Diamond & Pearl are a great subset of games and fan favorites among the community. Generation IV has a lot of great areas to explore, powerful Pokémon to catch, and arguably, the strongest Elite Four Champion of any Pokémon game ever.
If you have yet to play through Generation IV of Pokémon, Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are a great place to start.
Similarly, Legends: Arceus is great for new players and returning players alike. Legends: Arceus is a breath of fresh air, and we would have to recommend it over Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl.