Pokémon Arceus vs. Scarlet: Which game should you buy?

The year 2022 proved to be an exciting year for many Pokémon fans including myself. It saw two releases in the Pokémon game series, Legend: Arceus and Scarlet and Violet, one at the beginning and the other towards the end of the year, respectively. Given how somewhat distinct these two releases are, you can’t help but wonder, which of the two is the better choice?

Seeing as I had the privilege of playing both Legend: Arceus and Scarlet (from Scarlet and Violet), I thought of doing my own analysis of the two. In this article, I will be sharing distinct variations between them. So, if you haven’t played either yet, but were wondering which of the two games was worth getting, then read till the end to get the answers you seek.

Pokémon Arceus vs. Scarlet – How They Compare

Let’s begin with a quick summary of the comparison we’ll be discussing in detail, as tabulated below:


Legends: Arceus



  • Hisui region
  • Smaller region
  • Open World
  • Restricted access to different zones at a set pace.
  • Paldea
  • Larger region
  • Open Areas
  • Players can access different zones at their own pace.

Graphics and Performance

  • Poor graphics
  • Smoother and more consistent performance.
  • Better graphics
  • Has numerous bugs that could affect the gaming experience.


Focused on catching Pokémon

Better battling mechanics


  • Single story
  • The main goal is to complete the first-ever Pokedex.
  • The story divided into 3 paths
  • The main goal is to become the best trainer.

What are the differences between Pokémon Arceus and Scarlet?

Pokémon Arceus vs. Scarlet - Which game should you buy?
Pokémon Arceus and Scarlet. Image source: Pinterest

Unlike Scarlet and Violet, there are actually differences between Legend: Arceus and Scarlet. Therefore, deciding between the two shouldn’t be as hard as deciding between Scarlet and Violet. From my experience of playing both games, the following are the significant differences I found:


One major difference between the two games is the region they are based in. Arceus is based in the Hisui region, which is divided into about 7 distinct areas, whereas Scarlet is based in the Paldea region which has approximately 12 cities and towns.

In addition, when it comes to accessing the different zones, Arceus is much more constricting than Scarlet. In Arceus, players can only access specific zones at a set pace. However, in Scarlet, players have the freedom to explore different regions and approach the story at their own pace.

So, while Hisui has its charm, I would have to say that Scarlet’s Paldea region is more expansive and offers more flexibility and freedom when it comes to exploring.

Graphics and Performance

Starting with the graphics, I would say Scarlet had better graphics and design compared to Arceus. For example, in Arceus, you would mostly be staring into an abyss of generic terrain, since it was difficult to render things at a distance. The characters in Scarlet were also more creative and expressive compared to Arceus. While the poor graphics were slightly annoying visually, I didn’t feel like it affected my gaming experience.

But when it came to the performance, I felt that Arceus had overall, better and more consistent performance compared to Scarlet. With Scarlet, I experienced several issues including texture pop-ins, frame rate issues, and the game crashing in certain instances.

This slightly affected my gaming experiences and was at times frustrating. But in Pokémon Scarlet’s defense, the technical issues could be attributed to the fact that Scarlet is a larger game compared to Arceus and let’s be honest, Switch is far from being the best console in the market.

Still, I will have to pick Pokémon Arceus as the better choice, since despite not having the best graphics compared to Scarlet, its performance is far smoother and more consistent with lesser glitches.

Game Play

Pokémon Arceus 
Pokémon Arceus. Image source: Pokemon

As for the gameplay, I felt Pokémon Legends: Arceus was a refreshing change from the mainline games. For starters, in Arceus, I felt I had more control over my character while playing. Unlike in other traditional games, I could dodge, roll, or even move around during battle, so I can see it from different angles (which proved to be more useful than players give it credit for).

Another great thing I loved about Arceus’ gaming experience, is that the game was more focused on catching Pokémon and filling the Pokedex, so catching them was a lot easier. The game did away with the random battles, so I didn’t have to go into battle to catch a Pokémon. All I had to do was throw a Pokeball and that was it unless the Pokémon was stronger and needed to be weakened.

Speaking of Pokeballs, this was another thing I loved about Arceus. In the spirit of making, it easier to catch Pokémon, the game introduced a crafting system that allowed players to craft their own Pokeballs without having to buy one. This was a major plus for me, because buying Pokeballs, was annoying for me especially when funds were low. Sadly, Scarlet didn’t have this option.

But in terms of battling, I would say Scarlet was a far better option. Unlike in Arceus, combat was more streamlined and it was much faster to get in and out of battle. Additionally, Scarlet allowed for multiple-player battles, which is something that was lacking in Arceus.

Overall, though, I would say Legends: Arceus had better gameplay mechanics since it was a lot more fun and easier catching Pokémon. Plus, there were multiple ways you could engage with the Pokémon in the wild. But if you enjoy battling more than Scarlet would be the better choice, if you can look past the bugs.


This is another major difference between the two games. To start with the story is set in different regions, Arceus in Hisui and Scarlet in Paldea. Additionally, the aim of the game differs for both. In Arceus your goal as the protagonist is to meet every species of Pokémon by exploring every corner of Hisui with the aim of completing the first-ever Pokedex.

In Scarlet, the goal of the game is similar to the previous mainline games, which is to become the League champion. But I love that the plot had three story paths, Victory Falls, Path of Legends, and Starfall Street, and you could choose the order in which you explore each path. Ultimately you would have to complete each story to get to the ending.

Even though most people don’t consider the storyline of the game as a worthy consideration, I think it adds to the overall experience of the game. Even though both stories had great plot twists, Arceus’s story had a better flow, whereas, Scarlet’s 3 story paths felt a bit disjointed up until the end when the story starts getting interesting.

But I would still pick Scarlet’s storyline, because it gave it more replay value as opposed to Arceus, since once you feel the Pokedex, there is really no other reason to play the game again.

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

Pokémon Arceus vs. Scarlet
Pokémon Arceus. Image source: Pokemon

All things considered, I would say both Legends: Arceus and Pokémon Scarlet are a step up from their predecessors being the best 3D Pokémon games so far. They each introduce a new take to the role-playing game, more so Arceus. So, really it boils down to preference. If you enjoy battling and prefer the traditional gameplay mechanics of the mainline games, then Pokémon Scarlet provides you with that. But, if you are a collector or simply enjoy catching Pokémon more, then Arceus is an easy choice in that regard.

However, if I had to choose one, I would pick Legends: Arceus for now since its performance was much smoother and consistent with fewer bugs and issues, even though the graphics could be better. But, if you were to get both, then I’d suggest starting with Scarlet, being that it’s more recent and hence the community is still active with new events still being released. Also, Legends: Arceus is a stand-alone game series you can play any time, so there is no rush in getting it.

FAQ Section

Which is more popular Pokémon Arceus or Scarlet?

Most players seem to prefer Legend: Arceus over Scarlet. However, it all depends on what you love about Pokémon games. If it is capturing Pokémon then Arceus is the better choice, but if you love battling then Scarlet will be more preferable.

Is Pokémon Arceus more successful than Pokémon Scarlet?

Based on sales, it would appear Pokémon Arceus is more successful than Pokémon Scarlet. According to Statista, as of March 2023, Arceus sold 14.8 million units globally, whereas Scarlet and Violet sold 22.1 million units. But according to Games Industry, Pokémon Scarlet only accounted for 42% of the sales, meaning it only sold 9.2 million copies. Compared to Arceus this is significantly less.

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

It takes about 25 hours to complete Pokémon Legends: Arceus if you only focus on the main objectives and about 77 hours if you want to completely explore the entire game. On the other hand, Pokémon Scarlet takes about 31 hours to complete the main objectives, but if you are going for 100% completion, that takes about 79 hours.

Which game is longer between Pokémon Arceus and Scarlet?

Pokémon Scarlet takes longer to complete by at least 52 hours, mainly because, it’s a much larger game with a bigger Pokedex, compared to Pokémon Arceus.

Can you replace Pokémon Arceus with Scarlet?

It may not be possible to replace the entire game of Pokémon Arceus with Scarlet. However, you can transfer compatible Pokémon between the two games using the Pokémon Home service, but keep in mind that this is strictly only possible if the Pokémon is available in both game mechanics.

Is Pokémon Arceus and Scarlet the same story?

Not entirely. While the basic core of the game is the same, Pokémon Arceus focuses more on capturing Pokémon to fill the Pokedex whereas Scarlet focuses more on battling to become the best trainer. Additionally, Arceus’s story is based on the Hisui region while Scarlet’s is based on the Paldea region.

Which one has a better game between Pokémon Arceus and Scarlet?

Both games have their perks. Arceus is better if you are more interested in capturing Pokémon, while Scarlet is better if you enjoy multiplayer battles. Additionally, while Scarlet has better graphics, Arceus has lesser bugs that can significantly affect the gaming experience.

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