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.