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Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl - All Major Differences

Like all Pokémon games released in a pair, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl have a number of differences that set them apart from each other. Releasing on November 19 for the Nintendo Switch, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are remakes of the Nintendo DS Pokémon games, Diamond and Pearl. These long-awaited remakes aim to faithfully bring the originals into the third dimension with new series features such as the Fairy-type and character customization.

The original Diamond and Pearl games, set in the Sinnoh region, added 107 new Pokémon to the franchise, some of which could only be found in one of the two games. Players needed to trade these Pokémon between the different games in order to collect them all. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl maintains this series tradition of “version exclusive” Pokémon. Although trading will be necessary to complete the Pokédex, doing so is easier than ever before thanks to the Nintendo Switch’s improved wi-fi capabilities compared to the Nintendo DS.

Related: How Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl Update The Original Games

Although the complete list of differences between the two versions hasn’t been officially announced, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl have been promoted as being “faithful” remakes of the original Diamond and Pearl. As such, it’s highly likely that the games’ differences will remain the same as their Nintendo DS counterparts. In other words, what sets Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl apart from each other will be the different Pokémon players can find in the wild, rather than different locations, Trainer battles, and Gym Leaders, or trades with in-game NPCs like in later Pokémon games.

When choosing which Pokémon game to get, players will need to consider which Pokémon they would like an easier time catching, especially if they like to plan out their team members in advance. The biggest factor will be which legendary Pokémon they want, since permanently trading for a legendary Pokémon will usually be at the expense of a legendary of their own.

The biggest difference between Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and the biggest factor players need to consider when deciding on which game they want to get, is the inclusion of Dialga or Palkia. Because players can only capture one of each legendary Pokémon in any given game, it’s difficult to permanently trade for the one they don’t already have. It’s a lot more common to request a trade for the one they’re missing to fill out its Pokédex entry, then return the legendary Pokémon to its original Trainer immediately. But players who want to keep the legendary Pokémon permanently, or even use it on their own team, will find it best to simply get the game that features the legendary they want so they can catch it themselves.

Dialga is a defensive Steel- and Dragon-type legendary Pokémon exclusive to Brilliant Diamond. Palkia is an offensive Water- and Dragon-type legendary Pokémon only found in Shining Pearl. Although Dialga is generally a little more flexible in battle, both are extremely powerful and useful in casual and competitive play. Most players, especially more casual players, will find it’s best to choose between design preference, or preference towards defensive or offensive Pokémon.

Related: Pokémon Diamond & Pearl Remakes: Is Palkia Or Dialga Better

Although these two legendary Pokémon play an integral role in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl’s story, the events remain largely unchanged between the two games. The Pokémon players encounter on Spear Pillar atop Mount Coronet will depend on which game they have, with no other story alterations. In the original Diamond and Pearl, this also had an effect on the held item players could find: in Diamond, players could obtain the Adamant Orb, which raises the power of Dragon- and Steel-type attacks by 20% when held by Dialga. In Pearl, this item is replaced by the Lustrous Orb, which increases Dragon- and Water-type attacks by 20% if the item is held by Palkia. Newer games in the series usually include both items in the same game, but Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl may revert back to the exclusivity found in Diamond and Pearl.

In addition to Dialga and Palkia, there are some regular wild Pokémon that only appear in Brilliant Diamond or Shining Pearl. These Pokémon are a lot easier to trade for both temporarily, when completing the Pokédex, and permanently, for team usage, thanks to their frequent appearance in the wild. This is a list of wild Pokémon exclusive to Brilliant Diamond based on the Pokémon that are exclusive to the original Diamond.

  • Seel and Dewgong
  • Scyther
  • Murkrow
  • Larvitar
  • Mightyena
  • Aron
  • Kecleon
  • Stunky and Skuntank

The Pokémon found in different games can usually be seen as counterparts to each other, so no one version feels inherently better than the other. The Pokémon generally feature similar levels of strength, such as the pseudo-legendary Pokémon Tyranitar family exclusive to Brilliant Diamond and the Shining Pearl-exclusive Salamence line. Below is a list of wild Pokémon exclusive to Brilliant Pearl based on the Pokémon players could find only in Pearl.

  • Slowpoke
  • Pinsir
  • Misdreavus
  • Houndoom
  • Stantler
  • Spheal and Sealeo
  • Bagon
  • Glameow and Purugly

Diamond and Pearl’s Underground returns in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl as the Grand Underground. Here, players can mine for items and play games with other Trainers. In addition to all the helpful items that can be found here, such as evolution stones, players can also find fossils.

Related: Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl: Is The Pokédex Different?

In Brilliant Diamond, players can find the Skull Fossil, which can be revived at the museum in Oreburgh City into a Cranidos. In Shining Pearl, players can instead find Armor Fossils. These can be revived into Shieldon. These ancient fossil Pokémon can be traded between players, or the items themselves can be attached to a different Pokémon and then traded.

The number of version exclusive Pokémon in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl comes out to 20 exclusive Pokémon each. In total, both games each feature one unique legendary, one exclusive fossil, ten different wild Pokémon, seven evolution Pokémon, and one Pokémon that needs to be bred from a later evolution stage. The following list is of Pokémon that can’t be found in the wild, but evolve from or into version exclusive Pokémon.

Brilliant Diamond:

  • Scizor
  • Honchkrow
  • Pupitar and Tyranitar
  • Poochyena
  • Lairon and Aggron
  • Rampardos

Shining Pearl:

  • Slowbro and Slowking
  • Mismagius
  • Houndour
  • Walrein
  • Shelgon and Salamence
  • Bastiodon

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