Pokémon Scarlet & Violet vs. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl: Full Comparison

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet vs. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl: Full Comparison

The Pokémon franchise has been around for a long time. The series debuted nearly thirty years ago, and there have been many, many entries since. Unfortunately, not every Pokémon game was created equal. The series has had some considerable shifts in quality over the years. Some games stand as beloved triumphs of the franchise, while others faced unfortunate technical issues and controversy. A few recent entries are particularly good examples of this fact. 2021’s Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl stand out. These remakes’ good qualities are held back by awkward visual issues. Meanwhile, the following year’s entries, Pokémon Scarlet & Violet, are some of the most notorious games in the series. In this article, we’ll be taking a close look at these entries. We’ll investigate what each game did well and what they did poorly.

Introducing the Games

A Nintendo promotional image for Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl.


Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are the latest in the franchise’s long tradition of remaking older titles. These games, in particular, repackage the events and Pokémon of 2006’s Pokémon Diamond & Pearl. The originals are some of the most successful Pokémon games of all time, and are remembered with exceptional fondness by fans. Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl faithfully remake these games on the Nintendo Switch, albeit with a very notable departure in the form of the art style. While the first games employed the distinctive pixel-based style familiar to most early Pokémon games, Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl changed things up considerably, debuting a sort of cartoonish chibi style. Overworld navigation featured very small character models, but combat sequences allowed Pokémon trainers to appear as more full-sized anime characters, more akin to modern games like Sword & Shield.

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet, debuting on the Nintendo Switch in 2022, were wholly original games, the first new main series entries since Pokémon Sword & Shield. These games presented a major departure from franchise norm in going fully open world. While the spin-off Pokémon Legends: Arceus, released earlier that year, had toyed with the idea by introducing more open-ended areas for exploration and Pokémon hunting, Scarlet & Violet were the first games that really committed. In order to facilitate this shift, the flagship legendary Pokémon Koraidon and Miraidon have a considerably different role than in previous games. Rather than serving as powerful aids in combat, the creatures spend most of the games serving as mounts for the player. This leads to considerably easier exploration of the titles’ open world.

Pokémon Controversy

A promotional image for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.


Unfortunately, both titles are remembered primarily for their more disappointing aspects. The aforementioned chibi art style of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl earned some serious criticism from many fans, who found it hard to take seriously. A smaller team known as ILCA handled development of these remakes, and this company’s commitment to providing a faithful remake met some mixed reviews. Even reviewers who didn’t mind the art style, such as Chris Carter of Destructoid, were frustrated by other modern changes, like the party-wide EXP share feature trivializing late-game encounters.

Overall, Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl definitely made out better than Pokémon Scarlet & Violet. These games are currently the lowest-rated in the entire franchise, and it’s easy to see why. Most fans probably remember the outcry when Scarlet & Violet launched. The games were heavily plagued with technical issues and glitches. This severely hindered the gameplay experience, even leading to total crashes and shutdowns in more extreme cases. Pokémon fans, especially those who had preordered the games, were furious that the titles had released in such a shoddy state. Nintendo had to offer refunds in some cases, undercutting the games’ sales still further. Many players did find things to like about the titles, but these high points were vastly overshadowed by the controversy and outcry. While Nintendo has since patched many of the games’ issues, they’ve never fully recovered.

What They Did Well

Brilliant Diamond

While the art style was somewhat off-putting to many fans, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl still had plenty to offer. The original games were beloved for a reason. They took the fundamentals earlier games had established and refined them to a truly advanced state. For all their hangups, Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl gave fans a chance to experience everything that made the originals great in the first place. While some players were disappointed by the lack of certain features from Pokémon Platinum, an enhanced version of the original games released in 2008, many found plenty to love in the remakes nonetheless. Nostalgia is always a great motivator for remakes like these, and Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl certainly benefited from that.

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet weren’t complete failures either, by any means. As previously mentioned, the games did have considerable selling points. As Nintendo patched out the catastrophic launch day issues, the good features began to stand out more and more. The open world design turned out to fit the Pokémon formula perfectly, highlighting the spirit of exploration and adventure that’s been present ever since the original games in 1996. The story has also earned praise. Scarlet & Violet cast you as a student at an academy dedicated to the study and capture of Pokémon. This was a welcome departure from the standard formula of Pokémon stories to date. The games introduced a wide variety of interesting new characters for fans to meet and interact with, and once they became a bit more playable, many people responded well to the game’s writing.

The Pokémon Themselves

The starter Pokemon line up in Scarlet and Violet.
The starter Pokemon line up in Scarlet and Violet.

Of course, no Pokémon game would be complete without a look at the titular creatures that make it all happen. As remakes, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl don’t have much in the way of new Pokémon. However, you can bring in creatures from generations that came out after the original 2006 titles. Pokémon’s fourth generation, which Diamond & Pearl represented back in 2006, was already famous for its new beasts. Creatures like the beloved Lucario, for instance, would go on to become almost as recognizable as series mascot Pikachu itself. Gen 4 also introduced creator god Arceus, a major deity in the Pokémon world that would go on to massively impact the lore of the series. The mascot legendaries Dialga and Palkia were similarly deific. Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl might not have any new creatures, but the chance to reconnect with these all-time greats is valuable in its own right.

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet, meanwhile, are the central games of Generation 9, and as such, they have plenty of new Pokémon to introduce. Starter Pokémon Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly were cherished for their adorable appearance right off the bat. That said, however, there’s plenty more to enjoy about the games’ roster. A whopping 112 new Pokémon appeared in Scarlet & Violet. Many of these were brand new, but there were some entertaining variations on a theme as well. For instance, Annihilape is a truly imposing new stage 3 evolution for the classic Pokémon Primeape. There are also Paradox Pokémon. These strange new creatures resemble prehistoric and futuristic variations on pre-existing Pokémon, and boast bizarre names like Scream Tail and Iron Hands. This is just some of the incredible variety you can encounter in Pokémon Scarlet & Violet.

In Conclusion

An in-game screenshot from Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.

©Screenshot from Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet and Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are far from perfect games. Art style, missing features, and technical issues have left a damper on what should have been two strong releases for one of the biggest franchises in gaming. But that doesn’t mean they’re entirely worthless. Fans of Gen 4 can still have a lot of fun retreading their steps in Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, and for newer players who missed those landmark entries the first time around, these remakes are an ideal way to experience them for the first time.

Scarlet & Violet, meanwhile, have introduced arguably the most meaningful changes to the Pokémon formula in years. Now that their flaws have been patched and they’ve received major DLC releases, there’s plenty of fun to be had in these remarkable new entries. All told, controversy or no controversy, Pokémon is still Pokémon. The franchise has always had something special going for it, and that shows no signs of dying down anytime soon.

To top