Pokémon Sword & Shield vs. Pokémon Scarlet & Violet: Full Comparison

A promotional image for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet's The Indigo Disk DLC.

Pokémon Sword & Shield vs. Pokémon Scarlet & Violet: Full Comparison

There is always a debate in the Pokémon community over which of the mainline games is the best. There are a lot of factors that can tip the scale one way or another. Different features, mechanics, graphics, and available Pokémon could all affect where in the ranking the games land. The battle between games becomes even more fierce when you compare the franchise’s two latest games, Pokémon Sword & Shield and Pokémon Scarlet & Violet.

Both games have a lot of improvements and updates that have brought Pokémon to the modern age with open-world gameplay and complex questlines. Comparing these games can be hard, but it becomes a whole lot easier once you read this article. Today, we’ll be doing a complete breakdown of Pokémon Sword & Shield and Pokémon Scarlet & Violet, so you can figure out which Pokémon adventure is best for you.

The Games

A promotional image for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.

Pokémon Sword and Shield was the flagship game for Generation VIII. It was also the first mainline Pokémon game that wasn’t a remake to launch on the Nintendo Switch. Many of the features introduced in Sword and Shield would become franchise-defining traits in future games. The game debuted on the Nintendo Switch in 2019 and did extraordinarily well financially, with over 25 million copies sold worldwide. Having a Pokémon game on a console versus just a handheld device reinvigorated the fanbase and helped push Sword and Shield to the top.

Similarly to Sword and Shield, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet also did insanely well in sales. Scarlet and Violet became the most preordered games in the series’ history. As of this year, Scarlet and Violet have sold over 22 million copies worldwide. With a new DLC expansion coming soon, it’s pretty much guaranteed that those sales are only going to increase from here.

Release Year20192022
Total Units Sold25 million22 million
ConsolesNintendo SwitchNintendo Switch


Every Pokémon game has a unique region that helps to reinforce the game’s chosen themes. With Pokémon Sword and Shield, that region is Galar. The Galar region is based on the United Kingdom and emphasizes the honorable knights and kings of old. A major theme of the region is courage, strength, and the fight for glory. The Galar region showcases multiple different environments and biomes from lovely countryside villages, bustling modern cities, and freezing mountain landscapes.

While the Galar region focuses on knights and brave heroes, the Paldea region in Scarlet and Violet focuses on combining the past and future. The Paldea region is based on the Iberian Peninsula, consisting of countries like Spain, Portugal, and Andorra. Scarlet and Violet explore the prehistoric past and the far-distant future. The games bring elements from those times to the present day to create wonderful chaos.


By being the first mainline Pokémon game on the Nintendo Switch, Sword and Shield revolutionized the franchise with its new mechanics. Many new and exciting features were developed in Sword and Shield. These features would be expanded on in later games, but Sword and Shield deserves its props for experimenting with the classic Pokémon formulas.

  • A vast open-world section of the game called the Wild Area. In this location, players can freely roam around and catch a variety of wild Pokémon.
  • Dynamax and Gigantamax is a new battle gimmick introduced in Generation VIII. These features allowed Pokémon to grow to gigantic sizes during battle for increased power.
  • A new type of cooperative Pokémon battle called Max Raid Battles. Up to four players online can challenge a Dynamax Pokémon for incredible rewards.
  • An integrated online competitive multiplayer called the Battle Stadium. Players can join Ranked, Causal, and Official Battles with other players online.
  • Players can finally hang out with their Pokémon in the Pokémon Camp. This feature allows players to go camping with their Pokémon, where they can interact with them, cook curry, and visit the camp of other players.

Not to be outdone, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet also includes some new features that enhance the game. Just like with Sword and Shield, Scarlet and Violet shook up the Pokémon formula. The entirety of the Paldea region is an open world that allows players to explore however they wish. Players are no longer forced to follow the specific route system.

  • Scarlet and Violet has its own battle gimmick called the Terastal phenomenon. Pokémon are able to change their typing in the middle of battle to increase the power of certain moves.
  • New Pokémon from both the past and future have been brought to the current day called Paradox Pokémon. These Pokémon have new typings than their current day counterparts.
  • Players will use their Legendary Pokémon, Koraidon or Miraidon, to traverse the expansive Paldea region.

Gym Battles

A promotional image for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.

In every mainline Pokémon game, players are tasked to challenge the eight Gym Leaders of the region and then take on the Elite Four to become the Pokémon Champion. That journey works a bit differently in both Sword and Shield and Scarlet and Violet. In Sword and Shield, the Elite Four have been replaced with the Champion Cup. A tournament where players battle other trainers for the title of Champion.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet follow the same tradition of battling Gym Leaders and then taking on the Elite Four, but players don’t have to challenge Gym Leaders in a specific order. Players can battle any Gym Leader in the game at any time, meaning they could go straight for the toughest Gym Leader for their first badge.

To top