Apr 102009

I know that a lot of people reviewing Pokémon Platinum will say that it is just a rehash of Pokémon Diamond/Pearl, and to a certain extent I will agree, but there are several changes that are worth exploring. The story in the metagame remains essentially unchanged: you are trying to stop Team Galactic from hurting the Pokémon of the lake, and using them to do some nasty business up at the Spear Pillar. The change here is that instead of Dialga or Palkia, you enter a whole new world (dubbed the “Distortion World”) to go after Girantina.

In the Distortion World, you are no longer subject to the laws of gravity. Up and down don’t have any meaning, and you have to begin thinking in three dimensions in order to navigate the floating platforms for Girantina’s realm. A lot of the cool mechanics that were used in Super Mario Galaxy come into play here without the extraordinary difficulty level. Once you complete the topsy-turvy maze, you battle Origin Forme Girantina at level 47. It is a hard battle, and Girantina has a very low catch rate (only 3 I think). With Master Balls being a dime a dozen over Wi-Fi it’s not a bad idea to use one on this beastie.

Aside from this, there are only 2 major differences in the metagame. One is that after obtaining the NationalDex you can return to the Spear Pillar and battle Dialga and Palkia. Both are met at level 70 much like Girantina was in Diamond and Pearl. The other difference is you now need 210 Pokemon to complete the SinnohDex, which means 60 additional Pokemon are catchable in the wild in Platinum. Overall I felt like these two aspects made the experience new enough to still be enjoyable even after a couple hundred hours spent in Pokemon Diamond.

Outside of the main part of the game, there have been several notable changes, especially in the area of Wi-Fi connectivity. The Global Trade Station has had a major overhaul, including the addition of Wii Message Board connectivity. Once you have it all setup properly, the GTS sends your Wii a message when a pending trade has been completed, which eliminates the need to endlessly log in to check on your trade’s status. Also in the GTS you can now send recordings made with the new Vs. Recorder and receive them from your friends. A new Wi-Fi Plaza has opened in the basement of the Pokemon Centers where you can play new mini-games and make Poffins with other trainers around the world. The interface of the Wi-Fi Club has been transformed from its former text-only experience into a more visual one that can be switched back to the classic one if that suits the player. The basic battle tower now has the option to work through it on double battles with a friend over Wi-Fi – a feature that previously was only available over local wireless. There is also a new Battle Frontier with several new modes of battling that will keep any PokeFan entertained four many hours after beating the Elite Four.

Along with the good, one must also take a look at the bad. The music is still an underwhelming mess of MIDI tones, which is borderline unacceptable in this modern age of video games. The trainers’ and Pokemon’s sprites now do a small intro animation, but the graphics in the battle scenes are hardly at all changed since Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald. Also, one could argue that nearly 500 Pokemon is simply too many, but I say with all sincerity that if you can overlook the shortcomings, Pokemon Platinum should be an addition to your DS lineup as soon as you can get your hands on it!

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