DS

North America

Pokémon Platinum

by Zachary Miller - March 26, 2009, 11:17 am PDT
Total comments: 11

9

St. Mary's is going to have to set up a Pokémon wing…

Let's get one thing clear: I sank over 200 hours of my life into Pokémon Pearl. In my effort to collect them all by any means necessary, I forwent reasonable bedtimes, movies, TV shows, and succinct bathroom breaks. I accomplished my goal, though, in doing so, I became once more burned out on Pokémon.

Two years passed and then Pokémon Platinum arrived. Platinum is the DS equivalent of a double-dip, and lines right up with Yellow, Crystal, and Emerald as the "definitive" version of each generation. For those of you who haven't played Pearl or Diamond before, Platinum is by all means the version to go with. While its bonus features aren't spectacular, it certainly offers more than its predecessors. However, for Pokémon fanatics like myself who have already blown entire weekends perfecting their craft on the DS, Platinum probably doesn't offer enough new material to warrant a comeback. I won't bore you with NWR’s take on the core gameplay; instead, I'll talk about whether or not the double-dipping details are worthwhile.

First of all, I should say that Pokémon Pearl and Diamond are the ultimate Pokémon games, and if you've never played the series before because of its kid-friendly aesthetic you should reconsider. Pokémon is the deepest, most involving RPG I've ever played; it offers so much gameplay variety and is open to so much player choice that anybody, regardless of their age, sex, or background, will find something to love about it. Do you want to collect them all? You can do that. Want to focus on building the ultimate team and maxing their stats? You can do that, too. Want to just build a team good enough to beat the game and see the story through? Thumbs up, here. Want to create several teams for the various game types in online multiplayer? Got you covered. Any way you approach it, Pokémon delivers in absolute spades. Furthermore, this newest game expands on Pearl/Diamond’s hefty 498 species, although only two are genuine evolutions of older creatures (the others are alternate forms—like Deoxys).

Platinum's main addition to the series is an improved online experience. In addition to battles and trades, Platinum introduces the Wi-Fi Plaza, where players connect to the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and interact for a set time limit with 20 random people. You cannot trade or battle in the Plaza, but you can play minigames with people, and exchange and play with Touch Toys (noisemakers). Most importantly, by using the new Vs. Recorder, you can upload and download videos of impressive Pokémon battles with online foes. It's kind of a cool Pokémon YouTube feature. On the standard trading front, GTS trades are now equipped with an e-mail confirmation feature, so when a trade occurs, the system will send an e-mail to your computer or Wii.

The main game has some aesthetic changes as well. The overworld is now more detailed with better lighting and snow patches decorating the ground. Many areas have also been modified in terms of architecture or layout. A few of the gym layouts have been completely retooled, especially Heathrome. During battles, your opponent's Pokémon look subtly different than they did in Pearl/Diamond, and your Pokémon now animate from the back. Platinum owners will get to capture both Palkia and Dialga, and lots of previously trade-only Pokémon now appear in the Sinnoh Pokédex, including the three Legendary Birds, Eevee, and Porygon. However, to keep players trading with Pearl/Diamond, a few previously available Sinnoh Pokémon are nowhere to be found in Platinum, including the Skuntank and Purugly lines. Additionally, a few of the legendaries have gotten makeovers. Regigigas is found at level 1; Rotom and Giratina are available for capture before beating the game. Rotom has five potential evolutions (like Eevee) and Giratina and Shaymin have alternate forms accessible only when they are given special items to hold. When they are not holding those items, they revert to their normal forms.

The biggest new addition is the Distortion World, which is only accessible towards the bitter end of the game. It's a weird 3D environmental puzzle in which you bounce around floating pieces of landscape (sometimes you're sideways or upside-down) in order to find your way to Giratina's alternate form. Aside from a new way to capture the legendary Ghost/Dragon, the Distortion World is just a spectacle.

If this all sounds great, then by all means go for it. The Vs. Recorder is the coolest piece of new technology, and while I like the idea of continuing to expand the Pokédex, some player may just not be willing to put all that effort into it all over again. If you were burned out on Pearl/Diamond two years ago, I can tell you that these features aren't really reason enough to go back quite yet. But for the rest of you, Pokémon Platinum is the best Pokemon game ever made, and everyone should try it out, especially Pokénewbs.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
8 8 8 9 10 9
Graphics
8

Call me old-fashioned, but the sprite-based look fits Pokémon just right. I love how the developers incorporated 3D buildings and structures into the game. The aesthetic changes throughout Sinnoh give Platinum a distinct look from Pearl/Diamond.

Sound
8

The themes have stayed the same for the most part, but they're just as catchy as they were two years ago. The sound effects are great, although it's about time to update the limited cries of the Pokémon from Red/Blue/Yellow and Gold/Silver/Crystal.

Control
8

It's the same as it ever was. I wish the shoulder buttons could've been utilized in assigning more items for toggling. As it stands, only the Y button can be assigned to an item. That's no good if you want to use your map AND your bike a lot.

Gameplay
9

Pokémon gameplay has been and continues to be Geodude-solid (groan). If anything, the stuff apart from battling seems unnecessary, especially the beauty contests, which incorporate a poorly thought-out dance routine to the mix. Of course, you can safely avoid these distractions.

Lastability
10

When I turned Pearl back on to trade with Platinum, I noted (with horror) that I’d logged 217 hours into it. If that ain't lastability, I don’t know what is.

Final
9

Pokémon Platinum is the ultimate Pokémon experience, and now is the best time to jump onto the bandwagon if you haven’t already. But if you played the hell out of Pearl/Diamond, you probably don't need this newer, shinier version. If anything, you can just find people on Nintendo WFC who will give you the alternate Pokémon forms, saving yourself the trouble of slogging through the entire game a second time.

Summary

Pros
  • For new Pokémon players, Platinum is definitely the way to go
  • New aesthetic features spice up the game's look
  • Wi-Fi Plaza is interesting, and the Vs. Recorder is awesome
Cons
  • New Pokémon aren't so much new as alternate forms of existing Pokémon
  • Online expansions don't make any noticeable improvements to the core gameplay
  • Probably not enough new content to bring back burned out Pearl/Diamond Pokéfanatics
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

nickmitchMarch 26, 2009

Quote:

# Probably not enough new content to bring back burned out Pearl/Diamond Pokéfanatics

First off, any content is enough content to bring back a Pokéfanatic.
Second. . .there is no second.

TJ SpykeMarch 26, 2009

498 Pokemon? What are the 5 new ones? Diamond and Pearl brought the count up to 493. This would be the first time they introduced new Pokemon with one of these third versions of games. Yellow, Crystal and Emerald didn't introduce new Pokemon.

I might end up getting the game, but not right now.

KurisuMarch 26, 2009

Quote from: TJ

498 Pokemon? What are the 5 new ones? Diamond and Pearl brought the count up to 493. This would be the first time they introduced new Pokemon with one of these third versions of games. Yellow, Crystal and Emerald didn't introduce new Pokemon.

I might end up getting the game, but not right now.

I think they are the new Rotom & Giratina formes

Let me show you my Pokemans.

TJ SpykeMarch 26, 2009

Quote from: Kurisu

Quote from: TJ

498 Pokemon? What are the 5 new ones? Diamond and Pearl brought the count up to 493. This would be the first time they introduced new Pokemon with one of these third versions of games. Yellow, Crystal and Emerald didn't introduce new Pokemon.

I might end up getting the game, but not right now.

I think they are the new Rotom & Giratina formes

So they are not new Pokemon then. Deoxys also had multiple forms, but still counted as 1 Pokemon.

Hal, does the Pokedex still just go up to 493?

Yeah. My Pearl one has all the "secret" Pokemons acquired through questionable trades. You know, like Arceus, Darkrai, Shaymin...they guys you're not supposed to be able to find in-game.

Spak-SpangMarch 26, 2009

I have not played a Pokemon game since the very first game.  is this game for me?

GregLover5000March 26, 2009

Quote from: Halbred

Any way you approach it, Pokémon delivers in absolute spades.

Amen. Very well said: you can approach these games from just about any direction, jump right in and then take it as far as you want to go... and then sit down to a bowl of Pokemon-shaped mac and cheese afterward.

Viva Pokemon!

Quote from: GregLover5000

Quote from: Halbred

Any way you approach it, Pokémon delivers in absolute spades.

Amen. Very well said: you can approach these games from just about any direction, jump right in and then take it as far as you want to go... and then sit down to a bowl of Pokemon-shaped mac and cheese afterward.

Viva Pokemon!

I've done that. They have Pokemon mac 'n' cheese at Fred Meyer, and I swear to GOD it tastes better than normal mac 'n' cheese.

Also, Spak, to answer your question: Hell yes.

Damnit Zach, I don't want to get pulled into Pokemon again, but you're making an enticing argument for it. Also, the McDonalds cup is telling me to.

I got pulled into for Diamond and Pearl...and editing Zach's review made me want to get this. rargh!

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Pokémon Platinum Box Art

Genre RPG
Developer Game Freak
OnlineYes

Worldwide Releases

na: Pokémon Platinum
Release Mar 22, 2009
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone
eu: Pokémon Platinum
Release May 22, 2009
PublisherNintendo
aus: Pokémon Platinum
Release May 14, 2009
PublisherNintendo
RatingParental Guidance

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