Games / Game Reviews

Review: Pokemon Platinum

By Sean Booker
Apr 13, 2009 - 12:00

Pokémon Platinum continues the long running Pokémon video game franchise with an interesting story, hours of play time and a huge diversity of ways to play. The story is always changing and adds new elements and side quests to take on before players finally reach the end. This causes the length of the game to increase more and more. All newcomers to the series will find themselves with a wonderful game; however, veterans may find it too similar to some of the past versions (especially Pokémon Diamond and Pearl).

The game starts you off in your home town as a soon to be trainer in the Sinnoh region of the Pokémon universe. You get to choose a gender and name and after a few events unfold, you get your first Pokémon. Pokémon are pet-like creatures that you will collect and use to battle against rival trainers. From there you are asked to travel the world searching for new Pokémon and taking on new challenges. As you continue your journey you will encounter new enemies, friendly allies and loads of ways to enjoy yourself in Sinnoh.

Your main task is to take on a total of eight gym leaders in order to earn badges that will grant you access to the Elite Four – the final challenge of the game. In order to take on the gym leaders, you must first train your Pokémon, so that they will become stronger, as well as catch new Pokémon. Traveling through any uncultivated area, such as a forest, field or even a desert, will set up random encounters with wild Pokémon. From here you must try and either beat them to earn more experiences points or weaken them enough to throw a pokéball and catch them. As your team expands and becomes stronger, you will be able to take on the harder challenges and increase the amount of options accessible to you through the game.

Along with fighting your way through all the gyms and stray trainers who wish to take you on in the game, you also have several other choices of gameplay. The two more significant ones are Pokémon contests and the Underground area, but, apart from these two, there is also a new online multiplayer mode exclusive to Pokémon Platinum.

Pokémon contests have you select one of your Pokémon to go through a talent show like game in order to win ribbons. In each contest you will have to dress up your Pokémon, which requires selecting specific accessories that relate to the specified theme. You will have to make your Pokémon dance, which translates to a very basic

rhythm game and, last, you’ll have to show off your Pokémon’s battling moves. This last stage is probably the most engaging since every move has a certain after-effect that will occur, like altering the next rounds placements or even earning extra points. Pokémon contests can also be done through multiplayer, against your friends.

The Underground area is another fun way to spend time with your single player game or your friends, in multiplayer. Once you receive the Explorer’s Kit in-game, you can head into what is essentially an underground maze that can be accessed almost anywhere in the Sinnoh region. In the Underground area, you can partake in treasure hunting mini-games along with building a secret base. Secret bases allow you to create a room and decorate it however you wish. When playing with friends, you will be able to see them in the underground maze as well, and from there you can interact with their character. One of the fun things to do is to try and steal your friends ‘Flag’ from their secret base and bring it to your own – almost like a ‘capture the flag’ style of game. To increase the difficulty of this game, players can set traps on the ground that will activate when stepped on. These traps can vary from sending someone on a track all the way west until hitting a wall or even covering their DS screen with bubbles that they must pop with their stylus.

The online mode is called the Wi-Fi Plaza and it is a new addition to Pokémon Platinum that can only be accessed if you have a wireless Internet connection. In the Plaza you can move around a room with other online players. However, your only option when trying to interact with them is asking pre-staged questions like “What’s popular?” This causes the tasks of “talking” to people to become quite dull and pointless. You can also play a couple mini-games in here that involve using the stylus in certain ways. Playing these games well will upgrade your Tap Toy, an item you receive when first entering the room. The Tap Toy is an object shown on the bottom screen that, when tapped, will play a noise.

As these games do add a great deal of play time to your game, they also reveal Pokémon Platinum’s biggest downfall: it’s the same as the past Pokémon games. When comparing the game to either Pokémon Diamond or Pearl it essentially the exact same game. You do the same challenges and task and travel all the same routes on your journey to the end. This aspect is also very similar to every single Pokémon game in the main franchise. However, Pokémon Platinum does add a few new aspects to it that try and make it worth playing despite you owning Pokémon Diamond/Pearl or not. These additions are mainly some new trainers to face and a few new key characters to interact with throughout the game. The biggest addition is a plot change with the game’s main story arc in which you encounter the games three most legendary Pokémon. It may end up being an overlying change but it doesn’t come up enough and affect the rest of the game to be different enough. Though these aren’t necessarily bad additions, they are, in no way, worth playing through the game if you own either Pokémon Diamond or Pearl.

The graphics in Pokémon Platinum are great for the DS. It stays with the 2D side scrolling aspect but still looks great on the handheld. Though it does look identical to the landscapes and character models from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. However, there are several minor differences added to Pokémon Platinum. The majority of these additions are some of the Pokémon stances are now different and some of the characters now wear different clothing. Overall, the graphics haven’t changed much but they still look great.

The sound in Pokémon Platinum, like the graphics, remains the same as in the past couple Pokémon games on the DS. This is another one of Pokémon Platinum’s disappointments as there wasn’t really anything new in the way the game sounded. It even used some of the sounds that the Game Boy Pokémon games had. It would have at least been nice to hear some new music and sound effects when playing what could be your fifth or sixth Pokémon game.

Though Pokémon Platinum has some major flaws if you’ve been with the series since the beginning, it’s still an incredibly fun game that can be enjoyed by all. If you are a new comer to the franchise or never got around to picking up either Pokémon Diamond or Pearl, now is your time to get in on the action. With all the different gameplay modes and secrets to unlock, you will be playing for 100+ hours before you complete everything. And if you try and catch all the overall 580 Pokémon, that will add that much more replay value. Overall Pokémon Platinum does what we’ve come to expect from the series, a great handheld gaming experience, it’s just a shame that there weren't enough new features to recommend it to everyone.

When it comes to my verdict, I place it under both Buy It and Forget It. I only put it as Forget It for the people very familiar with either Pokémon Diamond or Pearl. They won’t feel the game has enough in it to play through the same story again. However, I place it in the Buy It category for anyone who may have passed on playing those two. It’s a great experience that is different enough from the other Pokémon games, just not the first two DS titles.

Overall: 9/10

Verdict: Buy It or Forget It

Rating: 9 /10

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Last Updated: Mar 10, 2019 - 23:20

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