Review by ND9k

"To date, it's the best Pokemon game ever made. As simple as that."

I'll be as quick and to-the-point as possible: there's just not a whole lot wrong with Pokemon Platinum, the latest installment in the multi-billion dollar empire that is the Pokemon video game series. What was a fad in the late 1990s and early 2000s has evolved into a genuinely engrossing RPG series that may be geared towards children, but is fun for all.

Don't let the cute atmosphere of Pokemon Platinum fool you. Though the gameplay is easy to get the hang of and the characters are friendly, this is in fact a very deep and complex RPG. There are 493 Pokemon that you can choose to raise, and each have their own move sets, abilities, natures and even personality traits that can and do make a significant effect on battles. This is a game that will engross the 7-year-old but challenge the 17-year-old.

Pokemon Platinum is the ninth major Pokemon RPG game to be released for Nintendo's portable systems. This time, it's the so-called "third" or "special" edition for the Nintendo DS. Platinum, of course, comes a couple years after Diamond and Pearl versions, and thus completes the trilogy and the story arc. And as we've come to expect from the third edition, Platinum takes the best of Diamond and Pearl and mixes them together, while adding it own unique twists.

For example, Platinum has a slightly altered story arc. For some reason, the land of Sinnoh has grown colder, as evidenced by snow even in the far south of the region. But other regions, such as islands, have grown more desert- or tropical-like. In addition to the geography, the order in which the Gym Leaders are taken on has been switched around. Also shuffled around are Pokemon locations and items. Key items are in different locations in Platinum than they were in Diamond and Pearl. The biggest single addition to Platinum (again, this is an addition, not a change) is the return of Emerald's "Battle Frontier." This is a large amusement park-like place that has multiple events, battles and prizes to be had. You (the player) also receive your very own villa in honor of all your accomplishments.

The vast majority of the game, the battling system, is more or less the same as it was in Diamond and Pearl. The actual battle menu has changed in the form of a darker color palette, but that's it. The only real significant change affects the move Hypnosis, as the accuracy has been dropped to 60% in Platinum, when it was 70% in Diamond and Pearl. How this affects battling between the two editions is unknown. Most of the Pokemon that were available in Diamond and Pearl are also available in Platinum, and there are few, if any, move set changes.

There's really not a whole lot of reason to go in-depth on this review of Platinum. I guess the easiest way to sum it up is like this: If you've played Diamond and Pearl, you've played the majority of Platinum, as the only major changes and deviations of Platinum occur near the end of the main game. If you've never played Diamond and Pearl, then get Platinum. It's, obviously, the best Pokemon game ever made. (And will remain so until the next generation of the series.) And if you've never played any Pokemon game before, well, this is a great place to start. But understand that even with Platinum, you still won't be able to "catch 'em all" unless you also have Diamond and/or Pearl version. However, with the (much needed) addition of Wi-Fi battling and trading, it's also easier than ever to find someone who does have the other version(s), allowing you to own all 493 Pokemon.

Overall, Pokemon Platinum is a very enjoyable RPG for the Nintendo DS that will last a very, very long time. And despite what the graphics and gameplay may suggest, Pokemon Platinum is a surprisingly complex RPG that is entertaining for all ages, young and old.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/23/09

Game Release: Pokemon Platinum Version (US, 03/22/09)

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