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The Pokémon Game That Takes The Shortest Time To Beat

While "Pokémon" games have never been particularly long adventures — especially not when compared to some fellow Nintendo Switch exclusives like "Fire Emblem: Three Houses" — some games have had more to offer than others, a fact that seldom goes unnoticed by fans. "Pokémon Sword" and "Shield" received a good deal of flak for having the shortest main story campaign in the series by far at the time of its release, reportedly ending at 14-16 hours (via Reddit).

However, HowLongToBeat lists a much less conservative estimate at 25.5 hours — corroborated by many reviews of "Sword" and "Shield" claiming even longer playtimes — putting it about on par with most other mainline games across generations. For example, the original "Pokémon Yellow" from 1998 has a main story that lasts just over 27 hours with a rushed playtime of just under 18 hours while the more recent "Brilliant Diamond" and "Shining Pearl" runs for 27 hours on average and 17.5 hours when rushed (via HowLongToBeat).

When put side by side, the differences don't seem all that stark — especially given how the user-polled nature of HowLongToBeat means its listings aren't scientifically accurate by any means. So, it begs the question: With what fans know as the "shortest by far" mainline game coming within the same range of playtime as most other entries, which "Pokémon" game actually is the shortest installment in the series so far?

It's sort of a three-way tie

If going by the user-submitted information collected by HowLongToBeat, the "Pokémon" game with the shortest main story is actually "Pokémon Legends: Arceus" with a median playtime of 24 hours and 15 minutes. And no, it's not the only installment shorter than "Sword" and "Shield" — the close second is actually "Let's Go, Pikachu!" and "Let's Go, Eevee!" with a median of 25 hours.

That said, if you compare the rushed playtimes, the "Let's Go" series comes in first with 15 hours and 43 minutes to speed through as opposed to the 18 hours and 33 minutes it takes to blitz through "Legends: Arceus." Interestingly, "Sword" and "Shield" falls in the middle with 16 hours and 46 minutes rushed — in that regard, the games that take the shortest time to beat in the strictest of definitions go from the "Let's Go" games, then "Sword" and "Shield," then "Legends: Arceus."

Of course, if you work by a rigid definition of what is a mainline "Pokémon" game as well, "Sword and Shield" does take first place on both counts, though not as egregiously as many fans might believe. "Pokémon Red" and "Blue" is only an hour longer at most with just under 25 hours median and 17 hours and 36 minutes rushed — and whether it's appropriate for a modern "Pokémon" game to have a similar runtime to the very first installment in the franchise is, of course, a matter of personal opinion.