Pokémon Heart Gold vs. Soul Silver: Which Version should you get?

As a child, Pokémon Gold was the game that introduced me to the Pokémon world and initiated my love for the Franchise. Because of that I always wanted to play a complete set of that generation. Unfortunately, I never got to play Silver, because I was more excited to play Crystal which was the most recent release at the time. Additionally, when Game Freak released the remakes, Heart Gold and Soul Silver, I had to choose one for financial reasons. I chose to stay true to the Gold version.

Recently, however, I was finally able to complete playing all versions of Gen 2 including the remakes. So, I thought of sharing my insights and comparisons of the various versions, beginning with the remakes. Therefore, if you have been struggling with which version to pick between Heart Gold and Soul Silver, this article will provide the answers you need. At the end of the article, I will share my final verdict of which version is worth getting and why.

Pokémon Heart Gold vs. Soul Silver – How They Compare

But first, below is a quick summary of the comparison between the two games, before we delve into the details:


Heart Gold

Soul Silver

Version Exclusive Pokémon

  • Anorith/Armaldo
  • Baltoy/Claydol
  • Gligar/Gliscor
  • Growlithe/Arcanine
  • Mankey/Primeape
  • Mantyke/Mantine
  • Omanyte/Omastar
  • Phanpy/Donphan
  • Spinarak/Ariados
  • Sableye
  • Gulpin/Swalot
  • Kabuto/Kabutops
  • Ledyba/Ledian
  • Lileep/Cradily
  • Meowth/Persian
  • Skarmory/Mawile
  • Teddiursa/Ursaring
  • Vulpi/Ninetales
  • Delibird

Legendary Pokémon

  • Main legendary: Ho-oh
  • Exclusive: Kyogre
  • Main Legendary: Lugia
  • Exclusive: Groudon

What are the differences between Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver?

Pokémon Soul Silver
Pokémon SoulSilver Version. Image source: Nintendo

While today, Game Freak has released several remakes or third versions of various generations, Heart Gold and Soul Silver were the second remakes to even be made in the series. The dual versions were adapted after their respective original versions Gold and Silver.

And while, Heart Gold and Soul Silver share the same core mechanics and plot, much like their predecessors, the dual versions do differ in certain ways. After playing both versions, the following were the differences noted:

Version Exclusive Pokémon

Pokémon Heart Gold
Mankey Pokémon. Image source: Pinterest

Like any dual version of a Pokémon game, the major difference worth considering is the type of Pokémon you can catch. Heart Gold and Soul Silver also have their share of Pokémon that can only be caught in either version. This is a huge factor worth considering since it can affect your playstyle depending on the team you want to build. It’s also a significant consideration if you are a collector.

The trick is to always pick the version that has most of the Pokémon you are interested in catching. This makes trading later for the Pokémon you don’t have, much easier. Alternatively, you could look at the typing and stats of the exclusives in each version to decide which one has a better selection.

From what I noted, while both versions have a good variety when it came to Pokémon typing, one version had more of one typing than the other. For example, in Heart Gold, there was a Fighting type (Mankey and its evolution), while Soul Silver had no Fighting type. Instead, Soul Silver had 2 Normal types (Meowth and Teddiursa plus their evolutions). While Normal types are great because they have one weakness, they aren’t super effective at dealing damage to any other typing. Additionally, Heart Gold had two extra Pokémon exclusive to it.

Therefore, although by a close call, I would say Heart Gold has slightly more exclusives and perhaps better typing variety, even though the last reason is purely preferential and would be based on the kind of team you want to build.

Legendary Pokémon

Pokémon Heart Gold vs. Soul Silver
Ethan (Gold) from Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver. Image source: Pinterest

Another difference between the two versions is the Legendary Pokémon. In Heart Gold, the main legendary Pokémon is Ho-oh found in Bell Tower while in Soul Silver it is Lugia, and it can be found in Whirl Islands. Unlike in some games where the main legendary Pokémon is exclusive to their respective version, in Heart Gold and Soul Silver, you can get both legendaries in either game, the catch is the order in which you can catch them.

If you’ve played Pokémon games before then you are familiar with the fact that the main legendary plays a key role in their respective version. Therefore, depending on the game, you choose, the story may change slightly. For example, if you pick Heart Gold, you will head to Bell Towers first to capture Ho-oh. Lugia will only appear later in Whirl Islands after you defeat the Elit 4. The opposite will happen if you pick Soul Silver instead.

These slight variations in the plot will not necessarily affect the game, so you can always go with the legendary you prefer and want to catch first. I’m personally more inclined towards Ho-oh because it has a cooler design so I chose Heart Gold first and played Soul Silver later.

Some sources claim that capturing Lugia and Ho-oh is more difficult in Soul Silver and much easier in Heart Gold. I can admit scaling up Bell Towers was much easier than exploring Whirl Islands, but that remained the same regardless of which version I played.

So, I would say in both versions it was easier getting to Ho-oh than it was finding Lugia. Which I guess could have made Heart Gold much easier to get through since I only had to deal with Lugia at the end. But that is my opinion and not an objective fact about either game. However, I felt that Groudon who is exclusive to Soul Silver is a much better legendary than Kyogre who is exclusive to Heart Gold when I compared their move pool.

Still, I would say Heart Gold has better Legendary Pokémon in terms of Ho-oh being easier to catch.

Final Verdict: So, Which is better? – Pokémon Heart Gold or Soul Silver

So, to sum up, in my humble opinion, I would say Heart Gold was the better version. Not just because I am biased after playing Gold as a child. I feel it offers better type variety in its selection of exclusives, not to mention it has slightly more. On top of that, Kyogre is available in Heart Gold.

But from an objective aspect, both games are equally good. Aside from the slight variations in the plot and the overall aesthetic, the core mechanics of the game are similar. So, the experience playing either game should be the same, and the difficulty of either would depend on your expertise as a trainer.

Therefore, if you have to choose one version, base it on which one has most of the exclusives you are interested in, as well as which main legendary you want to capture first.

FAQ Section

Which is more popular Pokémon Heart Gold or Soul Silver?

Both Soul Silver and Heart Gold seem to have fans, although based on various forums it would appear that most players were inclined towards Heart Gold.

Is Pokémon Heart Gold more successful than Pokémon Soul Silver?

No, based on sales it would seem Soul Silver was more successful. According to Statista, as of March 2023, both Heart Gold and Soul Silver had sold a total of 12.72 million copies. But according to Bulbapedia, in Japan, by December 2019, Soul Silver had outsold Heart Gold by slightly over 182,000 copies.

How many hours does it take to finish Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver?

In both games, completing the main objectives will take about 37 hours, but if you want to explore all aspects of the game then both games will take you roughly 214 hours to complete.

Which game is longer between Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver?

Considering both versions share the same core mechanics and main plot, they will both take you equal time to complete depending on your skill as a trainer, and your playing frequency. So, neither version is longer than the other.

Can you replace Pokémon Heart Gold with Soul Silver?

No, it may not be possible to replace Heart Gold with Soul Silver. You can however switch with a willing player who has Soul Silver or trade your Pokémon or transfer them if you have both versions.

Is Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver the same story?

Technically yes, both versions follow the same general plot, although some slight variations could slightly change the story in each version, for example, the type of Pokémon you can catch and where you can catch them.

Which one has a better game between Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver?

It depends on who you ask. Both Heart Gold and Soul Silver share the same core mechanics and plot. So, the only main difference would be the Pokémon you can catch. Based on that it would depend on your personal preference and playstyle in deciding which game is better between the two.

Is Soul Silver harder than Heart Gold?

Ideally, both games should have the same level of difficulty since they share the same core mechanics. However, some players seem to believe that Heart Gold is easier, but that would probably depend on your skill as a trainer.

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