Pokémon Brilliant Diamond or Shining Pearl: version differences explained

Shining Pearl or Pokemon Brilliant Diamond? You might be asking the hard question if you want to own ILCA’s Gen 4 remakes for Nintendo Switch.

The Pokemon series has a long tradition of offering two versions of the same game. Both versions offer a similar experience in terms of story, map and characters. The differences between them are usually small. These minor differences are what really matter when it comes to making a decision.

There were some significant differences in the latest Gen 8 releases, Shield and Pokemonsword. These differences included version-exclusive characters and gym leaders. However, it is easier with Shining Pearl and Pokemon Brilliant Diamond. The differences are largely related to version-exclusive pokemon, just like the original Pearl and Diamond. Although it may not seem that much, if you have a favourite pokemon, you should always check if they are under the version-exclusive banner prior to you commit.

These games are not necessarily the best, but we have provided information below to help you make a decision about which version you prefer.

This Nintendo Switch Remaster should be enough to get you through until the release Pokemon Scarlett and Violet. It could be one the best Nintendo Switch game.

Pokemon Shining Pearl or Pokemon Brilliant Diamond: Version-exclusive pokemon

Glameow is a Pokemon that’s only available in Pokemon Shining Pearl. (Image credit to: The Pokemon Company/The Pokemon Company).

The main difference between Shining Pearl and Pokemon Brilliant Diamond is the version-exclusive pokemon. One version has wild pokemon while the other does not, and vice versa. These version-exclusive pokemon can be found in multiple types and generations.

This may not be a major issue for you, but it is possible that many pokemon enthusiasts have favorite characters. It’s worth checking if your favorite pokemon is included in a specific version before you buy it.

These version-exclusives can help you make a decision. Or, you could find yourself in a situation where you have to choose between Vulpix, Shining Pearl, or Growlithe, which could lead to a crisis.

You can trade with your friends or buy both versions. However, the best way to ensure you get the right one is to do it right from the beginning.

Below is a complete list of version-exclusive pokemon that are available for Pokemon Brilliant Diamond or Shining Pearl. Further breakdowns will follow.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond version exclusives:

  • Caterpie
  • Metapod
  • Butterfree
  • Ekans
  • Arbok
  • Growlithe
  • Arcanine
  • Seel
  • Dewgong
  • Scyther
  • Scizor
  • Elekid
  • Electabuzz
  • Electivire
  • Murkrow
  • Honchkrow
  • Gligar
  • Gliscor
  • Larvitar
  • Pupitar
  • Tyranitar
  • Seedot
  • Nuzleaf
  • Shiftry
  • Mawile
  • Zangoose
  • Solrock
  • Kecleon
  • Stunky
  • Skuntank
  • Cranidos (Fossil)
  • Rampardos (Fossil evolution)
  • Entei (Ramanas Park Legendary)
  • Raikou (Ramanas Park Legendary)
  • Suicune (Ramanas Park Legendary)
  • Ho-oh (Ramanas Park Legendary)
  • Dialga (Main Story Legendary)

Pokemon Shining Pearl version exclusives:

  • Weedle
  • Kakuna
  • Beedrill
  • Sandshrew
  • Sandslash
  • Vulpix
  • Ninetales
  • Slowpoke
  • Slowbro
  • Slowing down
  • Magby
  • Magmar
  • Magmortar
  • Pinsir
  • Misdreavus
  • Mismagius
  • Teddiursa
  • Ursaring
  • Stantler
  • Lotad
  • Lombre
  • Ludicolo
  • Sableye
  • Seviper
  • Lunatone
  • Bagon
  • Shelgon
  • Salamence
  • Glameow
  • Purugly
  • Shieldon (Fossil).
  • Bastiodon (Fossil evolution)
  • Lugia (Ramanas Park Legendary)
  • Articuno (Ramanas Park Legendary)
  • Zapdos (Ramanas Park Legendary)
  • Moltres (Ramanas Park Legendary)
  • Palkia (Main Story Legendary)

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond, Shining Pearl: Exclusive fossils

Brilliant Diamond fossil exclusive Pokemon Cranidos (Image credit to Nintendo/The Pokemon Company).

You can add some pokemon to your team with Shining Pearl and Brilliant Diamond by reviving them using Fossils from the game’s Grand Underground area. Shining Pearl and Brilliant Diamond are different from previous Pokemon games. They offer two versions of the same pokemon.

Brilliant Diamond players will be able revive the Rock-type Cranidos of the Skull Fossil. They can transform Cranidos into Rampardos.

Shining Pearl players will be able to access the Armor Fossil, which revives the Rock/Steel-type Shieldon. Then, Shieldon can be transformed into Bastiodon.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond, Shining Pearl: Legendary exclusives

Dialga (left), is the Legendary Pokemon that is only available to Brilliant Diamond. Palkia (right), is only available to Shining Pearl. (Image credit to Nintendo/The Pokemon Company).

The most striking difference between Shining Pearl and Pokemon Brilliant Diamond is the legendary pokemon that runs the story. These pokemon are featured on the covers of their respective editions and eventually become catchable.

The cover-starring legend for Pokemon Brilliant Diamond is Dialga. She’s a Steel/Dragon-type who has the ability to control time. Palkia is the cover-star legend for Pokemon Shining Pearl. She’s a Water/Dragon type with the ability of distorting space.

You will need to trade the Palkia and Dialga to gain access to your Brilliant Diamond teams or your Shining Pearl teams.

Exclusives from Ramanas Park: Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining pearl

Ramanas Park, which replaces Pal Park in the original Pokemon Shining Pearl and Pokemon Brilliant Diamond releases, is an interesting addition. Ramanas Park can only be reached after the main story has been completed, the Elite Four defeated and the Sinnoh Pokedex completed.

Ramanas Park will allow you to catch legendary pokemon that aren’t in the original Diamond and Pearl, but were available in older Pokemon regions/generations.

However, some of the legendary pokemon that you can catch depend on which version you purchase. Each version gets four exclusives.

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