Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl v.s. Pokémon Legends: Arceus

A Comparison and Review Between the Newest Pokemon Games


Adrianna Kostyack and Zach Hendrix

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

    “Relive a beloved adventure through the Sinnoh region, or embark on your very first Sinnoh quest with these new games on the Nintendo Switch!”  The Pokémon Company uses this nostalgic hook to advertise two of its most recent releases: Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl. 

    These games were heavily anticipated by Pokémon fans, as they are remakes of Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl, two beloved games in the franchise released back in 2006 for the Nintendo DS. Having an 8/10 on IGN, a reputable video game rating entity, the games received decently high praise. But do the new games live up to their 2006 predecessors? 

    In my experience playing both the original Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Brilliant Diamond, I must admit that Pokémon Brilliant Diamond, and subsequently Pokémon Shining Pearl, do live up to its predecessors…for the most part. The amount of nostalgia I felt while playing Pokémon Brilliant Diamond was indescribable. Traveling through all the old locations from Pokémon Diamond on the Nintendo Switch instead of the Nintendo DS, and in unique 3D-esque graphics instead of pixelated 2D graphics, was truly a delight for a big Pokémon fan like myself. In addition, seeing all of the gym leaders and Team Galactic villains during battles was captivating. I felt like I embodied my character and was actually fighting alongside my Pokémon. 

    As with anything else, some people will disagree and say that the new games do not live up to their predecessors. One of the biggest setbacks that some see within Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl is the graphics. Some people do not like the exaggerated “chibi” style of graphics because they find it clunky and ill-fitting for various settings of the game. Many long-time Pokémon fans also wanted the remakes to be completely 3D so they could experience the game in a new way, rather than experience the graphics’ reminiscence of the original 2006 games’ 2D pixelated style. 

    I’ll be the first to admit that I did not like the appearance of the new “chibi” graphics in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl when they were first shown; I was definitely one of the many fans that wanted these remakes to be in complete 3D. However, as I continued on playing the game, I came to enjoy the game’s big-headed characters and exaggerated landscapes. Yes, there are some character designs that do not transfer too well into this style, but I believe that, for the most part, these new graphics make the games more interesting and unique than past Pokémon games. I came to find Pokémon Brilliant Diamond’s graphics endearing and charming as I continued to play, and I believe that other fans will come to enjoy the graphics as well if they give them a fair chance. 

    While Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl heavily rely on the nostalgia factor for one to truly appreciate them as a whole, I am a firm believer that these games lived up to their predecessors, Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl. Yes, the graphics take some getting used to, and not everyone will enjoy how similar they are to the original games. Nonetheless, for a complete remake of a game from my childhood that I really enjoyed, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond lived up to most of my expectations.


Pokémon Legends: Arceus

    Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the newest game in the Pokémon franchise, following the release of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl. Set in the past, before Pokémon and people interacted, you are tasked with creating the first Pokédex and following many different quests. The game has already been compared to one of Nintendo’s best selling games, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, due to its open-world concepts. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is going to set you back a good $60, so it begs the question: is the game worth the price?

    To put it simply, yes. It is what many Pokémon fans have wanted for years: an open-world game where you can catch Pokémon and play at your own pace. While the game has a few setbacks, it does an amazing job at giving the Pokémon franchise new life. 

    The game consists of many areas, all having different climates and Pokémon. These areas are huge, and I have spent hours exploring and catching Pokémon. The game is great at giving you a thrill every time you see a new Pokémon, and I have truly enjoyed this exploratory aspect of the game. One complaint I have seen a lot is about the repetitive cycle of catching and battling becoming dull and an inconvenience. If you are not a fan of exploration games and never cared about catching every Pokémon, then I would skip this one.

    Pokémon Legends: Arceus brings a few positive additions to the Pokémon franchise. One addition is the two new battle styles: strong and agile. This move set greatly affects how a battle can play out, instead of just constantly mashing the “A” button. As far as the battle mechanics are concerned, it is great to see Game Freak fixing the repetitive cycle that many Pokémon players experienced. Another interesting change is the addition of alpha Pokémon. This mechanic is fairly similar to the gigantamax feature from Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, as they are typically larger and stronger than regular Pokémon. While hard to catch, they are rewarding, as they can give you a huge advantage if on your team. 

    Overall, I love the game, but there are a few things that prevent Pokémon Legends: Arceus from being the game it could be. One thing hurting the game is its graphics. They are subpar at best, and downright ugly at worst. For an open-world game, the graphics are lacking, and they take you out of the immersive world they are trying to create. Also, some of the textures are blurred and unrecognizable. When someone watched me play the game, they said it looked like graphics from a Playstation 3, which came out over 16 years ago! The Pokémon Company had an infinite amount of money to throw into this game, so there is no reason why the graphics should look so disappointing.

    Additionally, the main plot has way too many cutscenes. By stopping gameplay every 15 minutes, the game doesn’t allow you to enjoy the open-world experience. Cutscenes should not be completely eliminated from the series, but the lack of freedom in playing the game is a bit disappointing. It gets to a point where it takes away focus from the lore they are trying to portray.

    Pokémon Legends: Arceus has been a pleasure to play, even if there are a few issues with the story and aesthetics. The game does well in so many other aspects that it is easy to look past the minor issues. With the addition of so many features and straying away from old ideas, it is one of the biggest leaps the company has made in years. This game gives Pokémon fans a taste of what the franchise could be in the future. I hope this game is the base for many future titles.