Review by Pokemon-freakDS
Considering that Pokemon: Platinum Version is entirely based upon a best-selling game released more than two years ago, approaching the review for the product is not the usual undertaking. Despite all of its tweaks and upgrades, Platinum uses a two year old game -- in this case, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl -- as its foundation. Still, that two year old game is one of the system's greats so it's not quite a knock against the new game. However, the original game (two if you count both flavors) is also the system's top selling titles, so there's an extremely good chance you've already made the initial investment. For that group of people, the ones who already own Diamond and Pearl, it's tough to recommend the double dip even with the extras added to the experience. However, for the group that's fresh to DS Pokemon, Nintendo's made sure that Platinum is the version to get. And get it you should: it may have a "kiddy" reputation, but Pokemon remains one of the deepest and most rewarding Japanese RPG games on the market, with a level of strategy and competition that's without equal.
Though the Pokemon franchise has expanded to all sorts of genres, from puzzle games to racers to photography simulations, it's the handheld role-playing game design that continues to be the true successful game design enjoyed by millions. If you haven't experienced the game, all you really need to know is that it's an RPG with turn-based battles, with players using creatures they've captured in their quest to do the fighting for them. Each of the creatures -- Pokemon, duh -- have different attributes that are stronger or weaker against others. And that's where the strategy comes into play: you need to find and utilize the best Pokemon for the situation, because you'll be encountering hundreds of battles with a huge variety of different Pokemon types. And if a friend has access to a different version, he might be able to catch creatures that are uncatchable in yours, or vice versa, so the "trading" aspect of Pokemon opens up an additional level of gameplay. It's these strategy and collection elements that make Pokemon an incredibly addictive game, and a guilty pleasure for those not in the younger skewing demographic that people assume the series is being targeted to.
For those following along, this "third game" habit has been around since pretty much the beginning of the Pokemon franchise: Pokemon Platinum is to Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, just as Pokemon Emerald is to Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire on Game Boy Advance, as Pokemon Crystal is to Pokemon Gold and Silver on Game Boy Color, and as Pokemon Yellow is to Pokemon Red and Blue on Game Boy Classic. Pokemon Version Number Three always revolves around the two earlier versions, but in the extra time it'll get subtle tweaks and enhancements without breaking completely away from the foundation -- after all, the core game, creature set, and rules can't really change since it must remain a hundred percent compatible for system linking. In other words, the creatures, attacks, and items in Platinum have to exist in Diamond and Pearl to keep things tradeable.
Ultimately, this means that if, in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, you've poured the dozens of gameplay hours it takes to complete the adventure, it's not easy to recommend that you do it all again in Pokemon Platinum. Nintendo definitely put the effort into changing things around to make the Platinum adventure a different experience than the original release, but even with the slight change in script you'll be repeating the same stuff for, again, dozens of hours. This means you'll be visiting the same locations, talking with the same people, and performing a lot of tedious "level grinding" in order to defeat the higher end Trainers.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/02/12
Game Release: Pokemon Platinum Version (EU, 05/22/09)
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