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Pokemon Platinum review

Great
AT A GLANCE
  • More new content than any 3rd installment
  • Battle Frontier offers more challenges
  • Rotom's new forms are cool, seriously
  • Wii messages instead of emails from GTS
  • New minigames are lame
  • Not enough community features

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”:


Above: Up...grade? 

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.

Above: If we wanted to play stylus scribbling games we would have bought Pokemon Ranger

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.

 
Don’t get us wrong, we love the core gameplay of the main series of Pokemon games and don’t want to see it drastically change. We like the backwards compatibility with FireRed and LeafGreen, and we hope that sort of legacy continues into the 5th generation of Pokemon games. Still, in more than 10 years and four generations of Pokemon (12 games total, 14 if you count LeafGreen and FireRed), we would have expected more growth from the series than we do today with Platinum. Here are just a few of the things we wish would have happened by now:

Better Pokemon storage system – When there were a mere 151 Pokemon in the good old days of Red/Blue/Yellow, the rudimentary PC boxes worked just fine for storing your catches. As our Pokedexes expanded several times over in subsequent generations, the storage system for captured Pokemon unfortunately did not keep pace. In fact it hasn’t really changed at all.


Above: Psst... put the Pokemon in here, please! If a Wailord can fit into a Poke Ball, surely all your Poke Balls can fit into a Pokedex

Collecting Pokemon has always been a cornerstone of the franchise, but for fans who really want to catch ‘em all, the 540 available slots in your PC’s 18 boxes are not nearly enough for the 493 available Pokemon, especially if you’re collecting variants like the pink and blue Gastrodons, Wormadams, all 28 Unowns, event-only Pokemon, Shinies, etc. To make matters worse, the PC system offers little in the way of organization, so collectors can easily waste hours shuffling Pokemon around in different ways. Why not integrate Pokemon storage with the Pokedex itself? You’d be able to look up captured Pokemon via various parameters like species, type, gender etc, and access Pokemon you’ve captured via their Pokedex pages. It’s a simple thing that would make life for serious collectors much easier.

More acknowledgment of the hardcore fanbase – Many of us spend tedious hours IV breeding to gain a competitive edge, so why not reward our toils by at least including an IV calculator Poketch app?


Above: IV breeding should be more transparent, but let's keep Shiny hunting a secret for the select few

And how about more in-game challenges that push the player to explore more of the game’s depth? Just playing through the single player game, you’d have no idea how much complexity lurks beneath the surface of Pokemon. Just like the news reporter in Solaceon Town who awards you with Poke Balls for showing him a specific Pokemon each day, it would be awesome if there were some structured challenges and rewards for fans who want to delve deeper into Pokemon’s endless possibilities.

The Battle Frontier does offer a general challenge, but we’re talking about  specific battle, training or breeding related challenges that would push the player to expand their strategies. For example: use a STAB move effectively against the type it's weak to, use a particular status effect or weather condition to your advantage, breed a Pokemon with a specific advantageous nature, and so forth. This would allow solo players to enjoy more of what Pokemon has to offer without forcing them to sift through various fan sites and message boards on the internet.

Rerelease with all four regions accessible – Nintendo loves repackaging the old as new, so why not put out a super Pokemon compilation with all of the previous regions (Kanto, Johto, Hoenn and Sinnoh) available on one game? ‘Nuff said.

 
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon? Yes! There is no comparison between the main series of Pokemon games (Red/Blue, Gold/Silver, Ruby/Sapphire, Diamond/Pearl) and the numerous Pokemon spin-off games (Ranger, Mystery Dungeon, Battle Revolution etc). A note to any parents reading this: If your kid asks you for Pokemon Platinum, DO NOT under any circumstances think you can substitute any other Pokemon game instead. If you get your kid Pokemon Ranger 2 when he asked for Platinum, you are literally setting your child on a path to lifelong failure. If he already has Diamond/Pearl/Platinum and just wants to play Ranger out of morbid curiousity, that’s fine.

Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals? Platinum is far and away superior to Spectrobes, although Pokemon could learn a few lessons from Spectrobes' online community features. Spectrobes players have access to a wide range of online community features, like leaderboards and player profiles with various awards and badges to earn.

Pokemon Diamond / Pearl? Yes, but only marginally. If you don’t have Diamond or Pearl, get Platinum. For everyone who already has either Diamond or Pearl, it’s not worth upgrading to Platinum unless you’re a hardcore Pokefan.


In a vacuum void of Pokemon franchise history, Pokemon Platinum would easily score a 10 – its depth and replayability are completely unrivaled among any other game series. However, after more than 10 years, we really expect more from the series at this point. Except for the most shallow of casual players, added minigames do not even remotely constitute an improvement. For fans though, it’s nearly impossible to resist playing through again, and the new Formes are unfortunately just enough to give us the PokeFever all over again.

Mar 23, 2009

More Info

Release date: Mar 22 2009 - DS (US)
Available Platforms: DS
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Game Freak
Franchise: Pokemon
ESRB Rating:
Everyone
PEGI Rating:
3+

41 comments

  • wailord - October 28, 2010 9:05 a.m.

    I love pokemon platinum it's the total best,i have got every and i mean every pokemon on the hole game,you know arceus,deoxys,dialga,shaymin,groudon even entei just every thing i have also completed the pokemon leage only like 100000000 times its well easy.Oh!!! also i am on wifi my name is owen if you want to swap i would be happy to because i would swap a rubbish buizel for something amazing like dialga or even arceus the legend so try and find me in wifi ill have to go now bye everyone and remember arceus could be in your hands.
  • jscriber100 - September 18, 2010 12:05 p.m.

    Pokemon Platinum adds a few new options and dosen't take out any of the good things from diamond and pearl.the new giratina looks pretty cool!
  • nomnom52 - March 7, 2010 11:40 p.m.

    Why is it important that nintendo put in the battle frontier? They had it in emerald! Am I the only one that's angry that We aren't getting features that have been used already in new games?!?!?!?!?
  • PFCNorris23 - September 8, 2009 6:49 a.m.

    I believe that the Pokemon Strategy games are by far the greatest strategy games of the late 90's early 21st century nintendo games. Having said that, I belive that if the gaming world wants to cover their tracks with this game then i belive they are just trying to perfect what is already perfected. At the same time they are suceffuly accomplishing what they are attempting, If you are an avid gamer then you can trade out the certain ones and create an avid arsenal of Pokemon to battle thereafter. In a nut shell i believe it is necessary!
  • noofer7 - July 30, 2009 12:48 p.m.

    There IS a gold/silver remake coming out: HeartGold/SoulSilver! I'm just gonna wait for those to get another Pokemon game. Oh and Conman93, everyone has been asking for a Pokemon MMO for years, but I don't think Nintendo's likely to give us one right now. And I wouldn't want to use a Mii as a trainer- they're not serious-looking or cool enough. A customization thing like Battle Revolution would work well, I think.
  • claws - May 16, 2009 1:50 a.m.

    i got pkemn pearl last year and i love it ive done 364 hours of it but i still want platinum
  • Rampage911 - May 10, 2009 7:12 a.m.

    I think I'll get it, hoping to enjoy the new content enough.....but the linking regions would be a dream come true, or at least the Gold remake coming up.
  • Demonflare - April 28, 2009 9:03 p.m.

    I loved and enjoyed DP so much, but I have to admit Platinum made DP look bad! This is an ok game. I think they were in a rush to make this game. And some of the stuff in Platinum suck a little.
  • sk8z1029 - April 7, 2009 4:55 p.m.

    it would be for the wii
  • sk8z1029 - April 7, 2009 4:54 p.m.

    They should make a string of all the regions put together, starting with Kanto to Johto to Hoenn to Sinnoh and then to a final completely new region. Between each region you should have to deposit all your previous Pokemon in a PC. You should than start off like the beginning of a new game and choose a new starter. Then you can gain access to your old pokemon based on their level and the amount of gym badges you have in the current region. Then, for the final elite four, it should be the Champion from each region and then the final champion should be the original pokemon trainer- party is Arceus, Lugia, Ho-Oh, Deoxys, Mew, and a new pokemon that is the master of all of them. Also, there should be a battle frontier in every region. Finally, you should have one constant rival throughout all of the regions and a minor rival for each seperate region.
  • DARK HUNTER - March 28, 2009 4:56 p.m.

    Platinum should be sweet. I love Giratina's new look! But Nintendo needs to step it up and get all four areas in one with an interlocking storyline and extra missions after you beat the game. Hey Nintendo, get me in your studios and i'll help you make the best Pokemon game of all time! Oh, and a Wii game would be nice. One like Colloseum but better. That was a great game.
  • loonyman978 - March 24, 2009 7:27 p.m.

    Gold and Silver were the best, but the original red/blue are my favourite. Only because they're the only ones I've even completed. I must have spent about a full year playing all the games, I hope they never stop making them , but I wonder if they'll still be here in another 10 years
  • jimsondanet - March 24, 2009 8:51 a.m.

    vya, il re-invest in pokemon once the seriously outdated battle graphics get a revamp. white platform with a vague blur for a background? any other franchise would be a critical joke at this level! im sure il get to see pokemon grow up one day *wishful thinking*
  • zanthox - March 24, 2009 1:06 a.m.

    I love my ds but of all my game systems (currently: PC, PS3, ds) portable has suffered the most. I just don't have the time to sink into the portable games like I could when I was younger. I still have Diamond sitting in my game case not even half finished... :( After I finish that and the three other ds games I have maybe I'll get to pick it up, tis a good review.
  • homie_cheese_slice - March 24, 2009 12:12 a.m.

    lolz I still need to finish FireRed
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - March 23, 2009 11:05 p.m.

    Release date is in the info box to the right. US date is 3/22, which was Sunday. It's out. Pokemon games are super deep, but can also be used to fill any amount of time you have. If you've just got 30 minutes, there's plenty of small tasks you could take care of. If you have 30 hours, well, you could get through the main story and still have 30 more hours to go. I put about 120 into Diamond.
  • Ocelot - March 23, 2009 11:02 p.m.

    is the release date stated in this review for the US? coz both play.com and Amazon.co.uk are listing this as a 22/5/09 release, which is TWO whole months away! what gives? ive never owned a Pokemon game but im interested as my DS has been gathering dust since I paid off my mortgage to that b*stard Tom Nook! are they good games that you can dip into when you have a spare 30 minutes?
  • Hobojedi - March 23, 2009 10:20 p.m.

    In my past Pokemon experiences, I've always bought the last game of the 3 (Crystal and Emerald), but after buying Pokemon Pearl about a year ago, buying Platinum doesn't appeal to me.. It doesn't have enough new content to get me to buy the new game. Plus, I never was big on the online features of Pokemon in the first place. So, in short, I don't think I am going to buy Pokemon Platinum.
  • carinatuin - September 13, 2009 4:01 p.m.

    djw
  • Misunderstoodhero - September 4, 2009 9:58 p.m.

    Guys there ARE making a gold/silver remake. They,re called soul silver and heart gold. for more informaion click here

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