Pokémon HeartGold vs Pokémon SoulSilver: Which Game Is Better?

The feeling of taking your GameBoy or any other Nintendo handheld gaming console and hearing the familiar sound of a Pokémon game launching is something that a true fan will understand, but will not be able to explain to someone else. It is a very unique and nostalgic feeling that most fans know very well and it is that feeling that inspired us to dedicate today’s article to comparing two Pokémon games – HeartGold and SoulSilver.

SoulSilver is a harder game and it is better for people that like a real challenge. On the other hand, HeartGold is an easier game and it is better for beginner gamers. The plot of Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver is mostly the same, but there are some differences in Pokemon, such as Ho-Oh.

Pokémon, which is short for Pocket Monsters, is a media franchise created by Satoshi Tajiri and Ken Sugimori back in 1995. It is a fantasy franchise set in a world where humans live together with creatures called Pokémon, who take on different shapes and sizes. It started off as a series of video games for the Game Boy console, but soon expanded to other media. Video games and anime (including the connected films) are the most popular brands today, although the franchise has expanded to even live-action movies like Pokémon Detective Pikachu. Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us see our list.

Pokémon HeartGold and Pokémon SoulSilver: An overview

Pokémon HeartGold and Pokémon SoulSilver are the Nintendo DS remakes of the 1999 Game Boy Color games Pokémon Gold and Silver. They were announced by Nintendo on May 8, 2009 and appeared about 10 years after their originals, on September 12, 2009, in Japan.

The release dates for Korea, America, Australia, and Europe were strikingly close together: in Korea, both games were released on February 4th, in America on March 14th, in Australia on March 25th, and in Europe on March 26th, 2010. Thus, they became the first games in the main series that were announced and released in South Korea before Europe and America. In addition, they are the first and so far only editions that were delivered with a playable additional device, the Pokéwalker.

The plot of the games is based almost exclusively on those of the Gold and Silver editions with some elements from the Crystal edition and completely new content. In the beginning, the player finds himself in the small New Bark Town, where he begins his adventure with his first Pokémon.

In the Johto region, he or she can choose from the starter Pokémon Chicorita, Cyndaquil or Totorile, one of which can be obtained from Professor Elm. He sends the protagonist to Mr. Pokémon to run an errand for the professor. Once there, you meet Professor Oak, who gives you a Pokédex.

Once you have received it, you can trade Pokémon with all other games from all four generations. On the way back to New Bark Town you come into conflict with a mysterious person who turns out to be Silver, the protagonist’s rival. Back in the laboratory, you find out that he is said to have stolen a Pokémon.

From now on, the player’s journey through the region begins. A journey that takes him across the country to solve puzzles, fight battles, explore ruins and become a Pokémon master by gaining medals and winning the Pokémon League. The protagonist meets the ambitious mystic Eusine and the criminal team Rocket, who are trying to find their old leader, Giovanni, and gain control of the Pokémon world.

Within the Kanto region, the player also has the opportunity to win even more medals and experience even more of the world of Pokémon.

What are the differences between HeartGold and SoulSilver?

As it is the case with each iteration of the game pairings, there are differences between HeartGold and SoulSilver, although they aren’t really major. If you prefer a visual explanation, here is a video explaining all the differences between these two games:

This, of course, won’t stop us from explaining the differences in textual form. The main difference between these two games are the Pokémon you’ll encounter, as there are several version-exclusive Pokémon in these games. They are:

  • SoulSilver-exclusive: Vulpix, Ninetales, Meowth, Persian, Ledyba, Ledian, Teddiurs, Ursaring, Delibird, Skarmory, Mawile, Gulpin, Swalot, Groudon, Latios, and Lugia
  • HeartGold-exclusive: Mankey, Primeape, Growlithe, Arcanine, Spinarak, Aridos, Gligar, Mantine, Phanphy, Donphna, Sableye, Baltoy, Claydol, Kyogre, Mantyke, Gliscor, Latias, and Ho-oh

In the main story in HeartGold, you go to the Bell Tower first, in SoulSilver, you go to the Whirl Islands first. Also, In HeartGold, you fight Ho-Oh when it’s at level 40 and Lugia when it’s at level 70, and in SoulSilver, you fight Ho-Oh at level 70 and Lugia at level 40.

But, in order to illustrate to you how big of an improvement these games were when they hit the market, we are also going to give you a list of the main differences between the two remakes and the original Generation II games. This is not going to be a complete list and will show only the most important improvements:

  • All 493 Pokémon are capable of following players similar to Pikachu in Yellow. Shininess and form differences are retained when a Pokémon is following the player. The player can interact with their Pokémon by pressing ‘A’ while facing it, so they can see how their Pokémon is feeling at the moment. In battle, like Yellow’s Pikachu, they are sent out from the side of the screen, rather than from a Poké Ball. The player’s lead Pokémon will always follow them except in certain situations, such as while riding the bicycle, surfing, or going indoors with a large Pokémon.
  • A new series of events precede encountering the game mascots in both versions, and thus it is mandatory for the player to engage in battle with the game mascot in order to continue with the game and proceed to the Pokémon League, similar to the plots of Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. In the originals, it was completely optional to encounter Ho-Oh and Lugia.
  • Unlike Generation II, new tasks are put in to complete that are now required to progress the story forward. For example, the Radio Card for the Pokégear must be obtained to be able to challenge Whitney, and the Kimono Girls and game mascot event must be completed to challenge the Elite Four. Additionally while the Kanto Gym Leaders could still be challenged in any order, Blue is now the only exception. He will only leave Cinnabar Island to return to his Gym once he has confirmed the player has the other seven Kanto Gym Badges.
  • The five Kimono Girls from the Dance Theater in Ecruteak City now have a significant role in the game. During the player’s adventure, they can meet each Kimono Girl at different points of the game where they will ask the player to do them a small favor. After receiving the Master Ball from Professor Elm and before meeting the game mascot, each Kimono Girl tests the player with a battle. Once all five are defeated, they proceed to the Bell TowerHG/Whirl IslandsSS where they will perform a dance to summon Ho-OhHG/LugiaSS.
  • Legendary Pokémon from other regions can be caught in the games. Hoenn’s legendaries, Kyogre and Groudon, return in HeartGold and SoulSilver, respectively, after Red has been defeated, and Rayquaza can be caught in both games if a Groudon from SoulSilver and a Kyogre from HeartGold are shown to Professor Oak. Latias (in HeartGold) or Latios (in SoulSilver) can be found roaming in Kanto later in the game after speaking to Steven Stone. The legendary birds can also be found in certain locations in Kanto while Mewtwo can be found at Cerulean Cave.
  • Eusine, a major character from Pokémon Crystal who was not in the original Gold and Silver, appears, as do other aspects originally featured in Crystal.
  • A new sidequest, the Pokéathlon, features ten mini-games that pit Pokémon in athletic competitions. Its system appears to be analogous to that of Pokémon Contests and Super Contests from previous games.
  • The Running Shoes are obtained in Cherrygrove City and can be permanently selected using the touchscreen menu. The selected item is also on the touchscreen. Two items can be selected as opposed to just one.
  • Due to the absence of the Vs. Seeker, the Pokégear reintroduces an improved cell phone feature with a limitless call list. However, re-battling Trainers is now dependent on the day and time.
  • Passing certain parts in the game can also affect the rematches by improving the team of the Trainers that can be re-battled. By entering the Hall of Fame and then after collecting the 16 Badges the Pokémon team of that Trainer are fought at higher levels as long as each rematch phase has been fought at least once.
  • Starter Pokémon from Kanto and Hoenn can be collected from Professor Oak and Steven Stone, respectively, as appreciation for defeating Red.
  • The map in the Pokégear has the same function as the Marking Map for the Pokétch in Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum to track roaming Pokémon. Additionally the player does not need to face Raikou or Entei (as well as Latios and Latias) in battle first to be able to track them.
  • It is now possible to Fly to the Pokémon League Reception Gate. It is also now possible to Fly between Indigo Plateau or the Reception Gate and any location in either Kanto or Johto. Curiously, however, it’s not possible to Fly to the Pokémon Centers in Routes 4 and 10, whereas it was possible in FireRed and LeafGreen, but not in the original Gold and Silver.
  • Any special Pokémon, such as Sudowoodo, will respawn to their specific location after the player enters the Hall of Fame if they were defeated instead of caught the first time.
  • Physical and special moves are now determined by the move itself rather than type.
  • Several Gym puzzles have been replaced or added in gyms that did not have them in Generation II. One example is reusing the puzzle in the Vermilion Gym from Generation I and III that was previously absent in Generation II.
  • The Battle Tower west of Olivine City, introduced in Pokémon Crystal, returns, bringing with it exactly the same Battle Frontier seen in Platinum.
  • Two new routes, Route 47 and Route 48, are introduced near Cianwood City. They lead to a new Safari Zone, as well as the Embedded Tower and the Cliff Cave.
  • The male player character receives a redesign and is now called Ethan, while Kris is replaced by a new female player character called Lyra.
  • The player can now see how many Kanto Badges they have. In the original games, the player could only see how many Johto Badges they had.
  • All the game’s music is rearranged to better utilize the DS’s sound capabilities.
  • When viewing the stats of a Pokémon outside of battle, one of the stat names will be very light blue, indicating which stat is decreased by the Pokémon’s Nature, and one will be very light red, indicating which stat is increased. If the Pokémon has a neutral Nature, none of the stats will be colored.
  • An image of certain locations, like in FireRed and LeafGreen, appears when entering the location. Some of these images change depending on the time of day while others change the image of the Pokémon obtainable at the location on the image at random.

Which game is harder – HeartGold or SoulSilver?

Although both of these games are basically the same, the players agree that SoulSilver is a tad more complex than HeartGold. It’s not a major difference, really, some Pokémon are harder to catch, some battles are tougher and it’s more difficult to reach Lugia than Ho-Oh, but on a general level, there isn’t much difference between the two games.

If you want more of a challenge, then SoulSilver is the right game for you, but since the differences really aren’t that large, don’t expect too much of a difference and just follow your gut when the game you want to play is concerned.

Why is HeartGold more expensive than SoulSilver?

HeartGold and SoulSilver are specific for being among the more expensive games in the franchise. Namely, both of these games were extremely popular and are, among fans, considered to be among the best games in the whole franchise. Sure, they are remakes, but the Generation II games, especially Crystal, have received a lot of praise, which explains why these two remakes, which have not only kept the expansive world of Crystal, but have also added some narrative elements, are so beloved.

They’re also games for the Nintendo DS, meaning that their overall quality is better than the quality of the previous games. They’re also highly sought after by players, all of which explains why these two games are so pricy.

As for why HeartGold is more expensive than SoulSilver, the reason is probably the demand – HeartGold is tougher to get and that is probably why retailers have upped the price for the game.

Pokémon HeartGold vs Pokémon SoulSilver: Which game is better?

The ultimate decision on which of these two games is better is a difficult one. Why? Simply because these two games are so much alike. Sure, there are some gameplay differences, but the overall narrative and the games’ structure are completely identical. We’ve said that those players that want more of a challenge should pick SoulSilver, but these differences in difficulty aren’t really that big for us to state that SoulSilver is the better game.

In our humble opinion, it all comes down to your own preferences. You know the differences between the games, the different Pokémon you can obtain and you know the two mascots. In our opinion, when choosing between these two games, it all comes down to whether you prefer Lugia or Ho-Oh. If you want Lugia, you’ll pick SoulSilver, and if you want Ho-Oh, you should go with HeartGold. And that is the best advice we can give you, in all honesty!

And this is it for today. You have seen the five best and most important Pokémon video games in the history of the franchise, so you can now use the information to debate with your friends; we hope we’ve been helpful. See you next time, and don’t forget to follow us!

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