Pokémon Arceus vs. Brilliant Diamond: Which game should you get?

Despite my love for Pokémon, I had to take a small break from it, because life got in the way. But it didn’t take long before I was back to my favorite hobby. I was excited to find that Pokémon had done a remake of the iconic Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. In addition to that, Pokémon Legends: Arceus was on the horizon.

Being that I played Diamond as a child, I was sure, I would get Brilliant Diamond if I had to choose between it and Shining Pearl. The choice I struggled with, as I am sure you are also, is whether it was worth getting Brilliant Diamond or waiting and getting Legends: Arceus.

Fast forward to today, I ended up getting both, mostly because they both had some great reviews. But I also wanted to judge both games for myself. That is why I wrote this article, to give my own analysis of which game was better, based on my experience of playing them. So, if you have struggled to decide between Arceus and Brilliant Diamond, you may find the answers you need in this article, if you keep reading until the end.

Pokémon Arceus vs. Brilliant Diamond – How They Compare

Pokémon Arceus
Pokémon Arceus. Image source: Nintendo

Before we delve deeper into discussing what sets these two games apart, here is a quick summary of the comparison between them:


Legends: Arceus

Brilliant Diamond

Visual Style and Graphics

Better visual style

Better graphics


The focus is more on catching Pokémon.

The focus is more on battling and training.


  • Based on the past Sinnoh
  • The main goal is to complete the first Pokedex of that region.
  • Offers more Pokémon Lore
  • Based on Sinnoh’s modern era
  • The main goal is to train to become the best

Available Pokémon

  • Has a wider variety of Pokémon from different regions.
  • Fewer Pokémon to catch since there’s no National Pokedex.
  • Pokémon are limited to the Sinnoh region.
  • A larger number of Pokémon to catch including National Pokedex.

What are the differences between Pokémon Arceus and Brilliant Diamond?

Pokémon Arceus 
Pokémon Arceus. Image source: Pinterest

Unlike Pokémon’s usual tradition of releasing two versions of a generation, Legends: Arceus is a stand-alone game that is very distinct from Pokémon Brilliant Diamond (and Shinning Pearl). Therefore, finding differences between the two games wasn’t as difficult as differentiating between two versions of the same generation.

With that said, here are the key differences I found between the two games while comparing them:

Visual Style and Graphics

Before I get into the difference, it is worth noting that the visual style and graphics of either game won’t really affect the gameplay. Still, if aesthetics are one of the key factors for you, then this is something worth considering as it may affect the overall experience of playing the game.

In terms of visual style, I wasn’t a fan of the chibi art style, adopted in Brilliant Diamond. I felt it made the characters look unrealistic. On the other hand, Arceus was set in the past era and designed based on Japan’s history. I loved how the art style wonderfully reflected this by incorporating Japanese brush strokes and mythology in the design of the game. Additionally, even the characters looked more realistic and followed the theme of the game even in their costumes.

Although, when it came to graphics, I would have to say that being the most recently released game of the two, Legends: Arceus had noticeably poor graphics and seemed to be stuck in the early 2000s. You couldn’t see much past 10 feet so you would mostly be staring at an abyss of generic terrain. Additionally, cutscenes were too frequent to the point of being slightly annoying.

However, I would still pick Legends: Arceus for having a better visual style, since it’s a refreshing change from the more modern settings we are used to in the other Pokémon games in the mainline series.

Game Play

Pokémon Arceus 
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond. Image source: Pinterest

This is perhaps the most significant difference between these two games. Being a remake of Pokémon Diamond, Brilliant Diamond is a lot like the original but with an extra coat of shiny paint. The graphics are better and there are a few updates, the overall game format is the same.

It has turn-based combat, and you’ll have to train and beat the gym leaders and the Elit Four. Plus, multiplayer battles are possible which is not an option in Arceus. So basically, the game contains all the classics you are used to seeing in the traditional mainline games.

Legends: Arceus, on the other hand, has a fresh new take on the original game format, by combining different aspects from some of the previous games. It follows an open-world concept, with no gyms, gym leaders, or the Elite Four.

I’m guessing that was probably in line with the theme of the game since it was set in the past before the Pokémon League was introduced. As such, there were very few battles. I think I only went through 15 battles, by the time I was 50 hours into the game. The main focus of the game was to catch Pokémon and complete the Pokedex.

In terms of difficulty, however, I would say, Brilliant Diamond was a bit more challenging. For example, the Elite Four in this version are difficult to beat almost to the point of annoyance. If you’ve played Diamond then you can recall how Cynthia and her well-rounded team were difficult to beat. It’s no different in the remake where her team has near-perfect EVs and IVs.

As for Arceus, I’d say there wasn’t as much difficulty, aside from a few changes to the game that I wasn’t used to. For example, the Pokémon could attack my character directly and knock me out. Also, in some boss battles, my character had to battle the boss without the use of my Pokémon. Other than that, the game was fairly linear and easy to get through. Plus, catching Pokémon was much easier since I didn’t have to go into battle, I could just throw a Pokeball at it and capture it.

Overall, I would say, Arceus had a better gameplay experience. I enjoyed the exploration of the sprawling open world and the interactions with the Pokémon in the wild. However, if you’d prefer a challenge then Brilliant Diamond would be your best option.


Although the two games were set in the same region, they are from different times, with Arceus set in the past and Brilliant Diamonds in the modern era. As such, there are significant differences in the plot of the game.

For starters, the main goal in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, complete the first-ever Pokedex of that region. So, the story follows the Protagonist (you) as they join Galaxy Team as a member of the Survey Corps, and goes on to explore the Hisui region, meeting every species of Pokémon until the Pokedex is complete.

On the other hand, like in previous mainline games, the goal of Brilliant Diamond is to train to be the best. The story, therefore, follows the protagonist (you) as they explore the Sinnoh region, attempting to beat the 8 gym leaders and obtain their badges, all while trying to fill their Pokedex for Professor Rowan’s research.

Both stories are great, but I would have to go with Legends: Arceus since I got to learn more Pokémon lore, being that Hisui was around much longer than other regions in the previous mainline games.

Available Pokémon

Pokémon Arceus vs. Brilliant Diamond
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond. Image source: Pinterest

Another key difference worth considering is the kind and number of Pokémon you’ll be able to capture in either game. Since Brilliant Diamond is a remake of Pokémon Diamond, you’ll find most of the Pokémon in the original also in the remake. Of course, there are a few exceptions like Aron, that’s exclusive to Pokémon Diamond, and Suicune that’s exclusive to Brilliant Diamond.

On the other hand, the exclusives in Legends: Arceus somewhat differ from the ones in Brilliant Diamond. For example, there are new introductions like Wyrdeer, and the evolution of Stantler, as well as various Hisuian variants of different Pokémon like Arcanine that you can only find in Arceus.

Additionally, depending on how you look at it, you could say one game has a larger Pokedex, hence a wider variety. In terms of regional Pokedex, Arceus has a larger number of Pokémon which is around 242, compared to the 151 in Brilliant Diamond’s regional Pokedex. But if you consider the national Pokedex in Brilliant Diamond’s post-game (Arceus doesn’t have a national Pokedex), it would bring its total number to about 493.

So, in terms of numbers, I would say, Brilliant Diamond has more available Pokémon. Although, I found Arceus to have a wider variety of Pokémon from different regions, whereas, in Brilliant Diamond, the Pokémon are limited to the Sinnoh region.

Final Verdict: So, Which is better? – Pokémon Arceus or Brilliant Diamond

On the one hand, Legends: Arceus is a prequel to Pokémon Diamond and Pearls, set in Sinnoh’s past. On the other hand, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shinning Pearl, are the remakes set in Sinnoh’s future. The question of which game is better between Brilliant Diamond and Arceus, therefore, will largely depend on who you ask, since both games have their perks.

Brilliant Diamond is a nostalgic remake of Pokémon Diamond and follows the classic game formula of the other mainline games in the series. So, if you want to relieve your childhood memories playing Pokémon Diamond, then this is the game to go with. It is also the best choice if enjoy battling more in Pokémon.

But seeing as Brilliant Diamond isn’t that different from the original, I will pick Arceus as the winner. It brings a refreshing new take to the game by following a significantly different formula to the mainline games. I love that it focuses more on catching Pokémon and makes it much easier to do so, plus the visual style is much more appealing if you can look past the poor graphics. So, if you prefer exploration and want a new experience then Pokémon Legends: Arceus is better.

FAQ Section

Which is more popular Pokémon Arceus or Brilliant Diamond?

Legends: Arceus appears to be more popular among Pokémon fans, mostly because it takes a significantly different approach from what we are used to in the traditional mainline games.

Is Pokémon Arceus more successful than Pokémon Brilliant Diamond?

Based on sales, it may appear Pokémon Legends: Arceus (PLA) outperformed Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shinning Pearl (PBDSP). According to Statista, by September 2022, PBDSP had sold 14.92 million units while PLA managed to sell 14.83 million units as of March 2023. It’s not clear what percentage of the total sales Brilliant Diamond accounts for, but considering that Arceus is a stand-alone game, it’s safe to say it was more successful given the figures.

How many hours does it take to finish Pokémon Arceus and Brilliant Diamond?

For Legends: Arceus, if you focus on the main objectives, it should take you an average of 25 hours to complete the game. But if you want to achieve 100% completion then that could take approximately 77 hours. As for Brilliant Diamond, it should take you an average of 26 hours to get through the main objective of the game, but if you want to explore all aspects of the game, that could take approximately 113 hours.

Which game is longer between Pokémon Arceus and Brilliant Diamond?

If you are only focusing on the main objectives, then neither of the games is longer since they take around 20-30 hours to complete. But if you want 100% completion then Brilliant Diamond will take longer by approximately 36 hours.

Can you replace Pokémon Arceus with Brilliant Diamond?

If you are talking about trading, then yes, it is possible to transfer Pokémon from Arceus to Brilliant Diamond using Pokémon Home provided the Pokémon are compatible with Brilliant Diamond (i.e., Gen 1-4 Pokémon). Additionally, you can trade games with willing players who have Brilliant Diamond and want to trade with Arceus.

Is Pokémon Arceus and Brilliant Diamond the same story?

No, they aren’t. While both games are set in the same region, Pokémon Arceus is set in the past, when Sinnoh Region was known as Hisui, and Pokémon Brilliant Diamond is set in the modern era of the Sinnoh region. The aim of the game also differs, since in Arceus the goal is to complete the first-ever Pokedex, whereas in Brilliant Diamond the goal is to be the best Trainer.

Which one has a better game between Pokémon Arceus and Brilliant Diamond?

It depends on who you ask since both games have their perks. If you enjoy battling and are a fan of the classics, then Brilliant Diamond would be the better game, but if you prefer exploration and want a new experience then Arceus is better.

Is Pokémon Arceus compatible with Brilliant Diamond?

Yes, Arceus is compatible with Brilliant Diamond thanks to Pokémon Home. That means that you can transfer Pokémon from one game to the other provided they are from Gen 1 to Gen 4.

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