It’s a cycle nearly as old as time itself: Nintendo releases two marginally different Pokemon games, and then a year or so later a third version comes out that compiles the few differences between the two and renders them both obsolete. Yellow followed Red/Blue, Crystal followed Gold/Silver, Emerald followed Ruby/Sapphire, and now Platinum is here to rescue everyone from the choice between Diamond and Pearl. Aside from a few more obtainable Pokemon this time around, there are a plethora of small changes throughout, including aesthetic changes, storyline changes and some small gameplay changes.
Above: Sometimes, only a bar graph will do
So for those who already own either Diamond or Pearl, the question is…
Lots of little things have been “freshened up” in Platinum (Bulbapedia has an exhaustive list), but there aren’t any major changes or additions – it’s really Diamond and Pearl again, dusted off, sprayed with some air freshener, and repackaged. Or maybe Diamond and Pearl: The Remix would be a better description. Even two of the Pokemon themselves have been somewhat “remixed”:
Arceus still might not be officially announced outside of Japan, but based on the alternate Formes for Giratina and Shaymin, Arceus’s supersecret new 5th generation Forme has already been extrapolated:
Above: Exclusive Famitsu scan of Arceus’s UberAstral Forme
But the real question is, is the new stuff good? Does it warrant another purchase? The main attraction is of course the extra obtainable Pokemon, most notably both Dialga and Palkia and the three legendary birds, Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres. There are a number of event-only unlockables as well, like Giratina’s Origin Forme, Shaymin’s Sky Forme, the three Regis (Regirock, Registeel and Regice) and Rotom’s five electrical appliance forms. For the Pokemon completionist, the new forms are enough to make Platinum a must-have.
Aside from the obtainable Pokemon, the biggest notable addition is also the most disappointing – the new Wi-Fi Plaza, featuring three completely mindless minigames. Take your pick among Swalot Plop (flick berries into a rotating Swalot’s mouth using the stylus), Mime Jr Top (rotate a large ball so that Mime Jr doesn’t fall off as he walks around) and Wobbuffet Pop (inflate and pop balloons). Each game supports up to four random players from around the world, but none will hold your interest for long – they’re all about as basic and as casual as it gets and don’t really seem to fit in to the general scheme of a Pokemon game at all.
On the other end of the spectrum, the other major addition is the Battle Frontier, which combines the old Battle Tower from Diamond and Pearl and adds four additional areas each with their own battle parameters. This is the upgrade that hardcore battle champions will appreciate the most, because it’s the closest you’ll get to an actual battle challenge outside of battling with your other hardcore friends or entering a tournament.