Pokemon Platinum: PokeReview

With the release of Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver, the total count of Pokemon titles has come to a jillian, which is about the same number of Pokemon in the new Pokedex. It’s rather daunting, and if you want to get back into the series, you may have no clue where to begin. Allow me to help: Pokemon Platinum.

Pokemon Platinum brings the total number of little (and not so little) critters to 493. You won’t catch them all, and if you do, i’m not sure if I should be impressed or grossly disgusted. However, there are a few new tools that’ll help you achieve your goal.

The WiFi features in Pokemon Platinum are top notch for a DS game. You can play minigames, battle, and trade Pokemon with others around the room. One of the features that I admire most is the ability to scale your Pokemon to level 50 or 100. This encourages newcomers and beginner trainers to play against others even with their starting Pokemon.

Another cool feature is the ability to watch other people’s battles. I’ve seen some pretty cool fights, including a Ratatat defeating a legendary Pokemon. And it was a legit fight. It’s a cool little feature that, while not everyone may use it, is a nice touch.

These aren't your dad's legendary Pokemon

I haven’t really mentioned much about the gameplay mechanic. That’s because it’s roughly the same since the original Red and Blue. Occasionally you might fight in different weather conditions, but it’s nothing so revolutionary that’ll you’ll throw your DS down and exclaim, “My life is complete.” There are more types of Pokemon, and as previously mentioned there are more Pokemon in general. This adds variety to the game but doesn’t change the formula.

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The Evolution of Pokémon

In 1998 the first two Pokémon titles arrived on North American shores, and I, like almost everyone else at the time, was caught up in the Pokémania of the day. This was the first game that I got into the hype surrounding the title, and when I finally got the game, all I did was hunt down Pokémon and battle my friends at school. The hype wasn’t wrong; Pokémon kicked ass.

It’s been 10 years since I last bought a Pokémon title (the last being Pokémon Crystal for the Game Boy Color). Last Monday I bought Pokémon Platinum for the DS and, if you check out our Facebook fan page at all, you’ll notice that all our posts are either about Final Fantasy XIII or Pokémon Platinum. Again, it’s amazing, but I have the PokéFever and the only cure is to catch them all.

This iteration changes a lot from the old formula while keeping the addictive mechanics which made the originals so great. Now, you can battle people from all over the world and trade Pokémon with anyone over Wi-Fi. Suddenly, the whole struggle to be the very best has become realistic.

Now that I’m older, I realize that this is a deep RPG, perhaps one of the deepest as far as gameplay mechanics go. While the story in these titles has always been a little flimsy, it has never been about the story, but rather about the Pokémon themselves. Now that there are so many of them—and perhaps because I’m so unfamiliar with them—the games have become so much more challenging. Whenever I fight someone in game, they throw out a Pokémon I’ve never seen before. Suddenly, it becomes a race against time to figure out what can take down this unknown Pokémon.

Yeah, so what are these things?

When I talked to my friend about Pokémon Platinum, I told him that this was the best Pokémon title I’ve ever played, which he was surprised about. He figured I’d be a PokéPurist. But everything feels so much deeper now. All the best parts from the previous iterations return and are improved upon, and yes, there are those purists out there that believe there should only be 151 Pokémon, but let’s face facts folks. 151 Pokémon really isn’t that much. Now there are close to 500, and half the fun in the game is discovering all the new creatures.

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