Pokémon Brilliant Diamond vs Shinning Pearl: Which Version should you buy?

Like most fans who played the original versions of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, I couldn’t wait for the release of their remake Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shinning Pearl (BD/SP). While the remake was largely similar to the originals, they had significant differences that were key determinants of which version I should pick.

Having played the Pearl version as a child, I wasn’t sure whether I should continue with the Shinning Pearl, or try something different by opting for Brilliant Diamond. Even though there isn’t a right or wrong answer, it’s always important to pick the best Pokémon version for you from the get-go.

Now that I’ve played both versions, I thought of coming up with this article, to give you a detailed comparison of the two. After reading to the end, you should have a better understanding of the key differences and in the end which version you should get first.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond vs Shinning Pearl – How They Compare

Below is a summary of the differences we will be looking at between the two versions:


Brilliant Diamond

Shining Pearl

Non-legendary Version Exclusive Pokémon

  • Caterpie/Metapod/Butterfree
  • Elekid/Electabuzz/Electivire
  • Larvitar/Pupitar/Tyranitar
  • Ekans/Arbok
  • Gligar/Gliscor
  • Growlithe/Arcanine
  • Murkrow/Honchkrow
  • Seedot/Nuzleaf/Shiftry
  • Stunky/Skuntank
  • Scyther/Scizor
  • Seel/Dewgong
  • Kecleon
  • Mawile
  • Solrock
  • Zangoose
  • Bagon/Shelgon/Salamence
  • Lotad/Lombre/Ludicolo
  • Magby/Magmar/Magmortar
  • Slowpoke/Slowbro/Slowking
  • Weedle/Kakuna/Beedrill
  • Misdreavus/Mismagius
  • Sandshrew/Sandslash
  • Teddiursa/Ursaring
  • Vulpix/Ninetales
  • Glameow
  • Lunatone
  • Pinsir
  • Purugly
  • Sableye
  • Stantler
  • Seviper

Box Legendary Pokémon



Exclusive Fossil Pokémon



Ramanas Park Exclusive Legendary Pokémon

  • Suicune
  • Raikou
  • Ho-oh
  • Entei
  • Articuno
  • Lugia
  • Moltres
  • Zapdos

What are the differences between Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shinning Pearl?

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond vs Shinning Pearl
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond. Image source: Nintendo

Now, let us delve deeper into what these differences are and why they are worth considering.

Non-legendary Version Exclusive Pokémon

The easiest way to choose between two Pokémon versions is by considering the main difference between them, that is, the different Pokémon you can catch that are exclusive to each version. If you aren’t new to Pokémon, then the choice can be very easy. Simply look at which version has most of your preferred Pokémon and go with that.

However, if you are new to the game, it’s safe to say that you may not have an opinion on which Pokémon you prefer, so it’s best to focus on the stats. While both versions have an equal number of exclusives with good merits, I would have to say that Brilliant Diamond, offers a better list overall.

Not only are most of the exclusives offered in Brilliant Diamond, fan favorites, but I found that they were also more powerful compared to the exclusives in Shining Pearl. For example, Arcanine in Brilliant Diamond, in my opinion, can easily outperform Ninetales in Shining Pearl. Alternatively, if you are still not convinced, then go with the least popular version, that way trading Pokémon to get the ones you want will be much easier.

But I would still say that Brilliant Diamond wins this category if you were to consider how powerful the exclusives are in each version.

Box Legendary Pokémon

Another classic difference between the two Pokémon versions, that can help you decide, is the Legendries you’ll find on the box cover of the game. These legendries are usually at the heart of the game’s storyline and you’ll eventually be able to catch them. Like with its predecessor, the legendries in BD/SP are exclusive to each version, therefore, if you are stuck, just pick the Legendary you prefer.

In Brilliant Diamond, the box legendary is Diagla, while in Shinning Pearl, your choice is Palkia. Both Pokémon are dragon-types only that Diagla is a Steel/Dragon-type, whereas, Palkia is a Water/Dragon-type. Each legendary is equally powerful with unique sets of abilities. For example, Diagla can control time while Palkia can distort space.

I, however, found that in the end, Diagla was the better legendary. Being a Steel-type dragon, it was more effective on Fairy-type and Ice-type Pokémon. I also loved that it didn’t have weaknesses to attacks from Fairy-type, Dragon-type, and Ice-type attacks.

Therefore, I would have to say that Brilliant Diamon offers a better choice in this category, especially when you consider Diagla’s ability.

Exclusive Fossil Pokémon

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond, Shinning Pearl
Pokémon™ Brilliant Diamond. Image source: Nintendo

Another key difference I think is worth considering is the type of fossil exclusives you can revive in the game. In Pokémon BD/SP, you can find the fossils by digging around in the Grand Underground area of the game. Unlike other generations before it, in BD/SP, two fossils are exclusive to each version.

In Brilliant Diamond, I got the Skull Fossil, which allowed me to revive Cranidos, a rock-type Pokémon that I evolved into Rampardos. On the other hand, in Shinning Pearl, I got Armor Fossil which allowed me to revive Shieldon, another rock-type Pokémon that I evolved into Bastiodon.

Both of these fossil exclusives have their merits. For example, Bastiodon has great stats when it comes to defense, while Rampardos is faster and more powerful when it comes to attacks. But I preferred the fact that Rampardos could deal serious damage to opponents in battle.

So, I would have to say Brilliant Diamond had the better fossil exclusive since although Bastiodon, could last in battle, it wouldn’t really do much in helping you win against your opponent.

Ramanas Park Exclusives Legendary Pokémon

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond vs Shinning Pearl
Pokémon Shining Pearl. Image source: Nintendo

The list of exclusives doesn’t end there. Unlike in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, BD/SP has a new addition, Ramanas Park, which replaces Pal Park in the original make. You can access this section only after defeating the Elite Four, but once you gain access, you’ll have the opportunity to catch more Pokémon Legendries that weren’t available in the original Diamond and Pearl.

There are, however, a list of legendries that are exclusive to each version, with some difference worth noting. For starters, Brilliant Diamond offers more Legendary Beasts mostly from Gen 2, while Shinning Pearl comes with more Legendary Birds mostly from Gen 1. In terms of stats, I would say that both versions present some great choices, but I found Brilliant Diamond to be a better choice.

Some of the legendary birds from Shining Pearl are available when playing Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! And Eevee! They also featured in Sword and Shield’s DLC, Crown of Tundra. Therefore, I felt like this led to the over-saturation of the Legendary birds.

With that in mind, I’d say, Brilliant Diamond’s legendary beasts are a better choice since they are harder to come by and therefore more desirable.

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

At the end of the day, the core mechanisms of the game are the same in both versions. Therefore, the experience of playing them will only differ slightly. Still, in cases where there are more similarities, even the smallest variation can make all the difference. When it comes to choosing which is better between Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, all things considered, Brilliant Diamond is the clear winner.

This is purely based on the fact that Brilliant Diamond offers a better list of desirable Pokémon, from the legendries to the non-legendries. Not only are they more elusive, but they are also more desirable when you consider the stats.

Still, you can always choose based on the original versions this remake was based on. Go with Shinning Pearl if you already played Pokémon Diamond before, to get a slightly different experience. But if you want to stick to what you know, then you can get the Shining Pearl if you played the original Pokémon Pearl and Brilliant Diamond if you played Diamond.

FAQ Section

Which is more popular Pokémon Brilliant Diamond or Shinning Pearl?

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond is more popular than Shinning Pearl among most because it offers a better choice of powerful exclusives.

Is Pokémon Brilliant Diamond more successful than Pokémon Shinning Pearl?

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond is reported to have sold more copies than Shinning Pearl out of the total 14.92 million units.

Which one was released first Pokémon Brilliant Diamond or Shinning Pearl?

Both Brilliant Diamond and Shinning Pearl were released at the same time. The release happened worldwide on November 19, 2021.

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

Like most Pokémon games in the series, BD/SP will take you an average of 26 hours to complete if you stick to the main objectives of the game. But if you want to achieve 100% completion, then this should take you an average of 114 hours.

Which one has the best starter between Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shinning Pearl?

The choice of starters, which are Piplup, Chimchar, and Turtwig, is the same between Brilliant Diamond and Shinning Pearl. However, Chimchar is the best choice of Starter Pokémon in both versions. It has great type advantages against a lot of trainers and overall great moves to work with.

Is Brilliant Diamond easier than Shining Pearl?

No, both versions share the same core elements of the game, so no version is harder to beat than the other. However, some players believe that compared to the original make, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, BD/SP is a much easier challenge.

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