Review by oneunderall

"Old dog learning new tricks"

Pokemon has been around for nearly 15 years now, and many of you poke-veterans remember the bland, attack to be attacked style of game play of the older versions. Pokemon Platinum puts to good use the always ignored buffer and anti-buffer moves, (ex: leer, tail whip, growl) and doing so has created a new option in terms of strategy to whomp on your opponents. The graphics have also changed to a more 3D look, yet not necessarily for the better. Many Pokemon were added to the huge selection, making the number of Pokemon above 500 or so, but Pokemon Platinum kept the more liked Pokemon from earlier series, including my all-time favorite, Kadabra.

Graphics: 6/10
When comparing the graphics of Platinum to the earlier series of the game, I recall the graphics battle between Runescape and Maplestory. It's always been my opinion that if you are going to do something, do it simple correctly instead of complicating it incorrectly, meaning I prefer good 2D graphics over bad 3D graphics. Both Runescape and Maplestory are pointless, terrible games; however, Pokemon has upgraded to 3D on a system that can't really handle that type of graphics. When speeding through areas while running or on the bike, the screen is fuzzy and seems to be shaking, which makes my eyes hurt. Nice try, but hopefully the next game can be made on a more advanced portable system.

Gameplay: 10/10
To keep it simple... this game is just too good. The moment you get that first Pokemon, you'll want to stop doing everything else just so you can play through the entire game. Most of the NPC's in the game are put to good use (mainly battling), and there are much more doubles battles in Platinum. Not only that, after you and your rival choose the first 2 Pokemon, the third is also put to use by a friend who occasionally fights with you against the team Galactic grunts. The few useful HM's in the game are easy to use since you just have to press A on the rock/tree you want to smash/cut, and the story line is the best so far. The menu systems have been revamped, along with a poketch, that serves as your bottom screen, which you gain apps for throughout the game that function as a DS clock, maps, item finder, berry finder, ect.

Battle System: 9/10
The new menu is way sweet. The fight option during the battle is made large on your bottom screen so you can tap it and choose your 4 move options, along with the other 3 options down below. The fighting system is also pretty clean, the character spamming the more powerful more no longer wins the battle, and you find that out pretty quick with your first battle against your rival. Buffer moves are quite useful for winning a battle, and often times weakening your opponent, or powering yourself up, is the only way to find success against an opponent. The doubles system is pretty simple, yet it does contain a few flaws, which is where that -1 point comes from for this section. You can't see the HP of either of your Pokemon, which can be a bother if you like to estimate your opponents ability to take out your Pokemon. The exp split ratio is quite awkward, especially if you have a 3 Pokemon leeching exp with "EXP share". A paralyzed quick attack still attacks first, which baffles me. The animations for the attacks are pretty sweet, which in a way cancels out those few flaws, and the best part of it all, trainer re-battles.

Story/features: 10/10
The plot is pretty interesting, the characters fit in very nicely and everything just sort of keeps you bound to this game. The towns are very unique from each other, especially the Gyms. There are many different designs for each gyms, and oftentimes the obstacles of the gym includes defeating all the trainers inside. You rival, the friend you meet that takes the 3rd starter Pokemon, and nearly all the NPC's keep you glued to the plot, making you want to play more. The Contest hall, introduced in the 3rd generation Ruby/Sapp/Emer versions, has changed to include more than just attack based contest, but also a dance and dressing contest. The berry mixer from the 3rd gen games were changed to Poffin maker system. The last notable thing about the story has some tough situations, which make players more content on playing this game through.

Wifi system: 9/10
Along with getting to trade and battle with friends, you can also compete in contests with eachother, doubles battles, join each others groups, and even form a Poffin making session. Quite a few more options in this section, and the systems for all these things run pretty smoothly and are actually quite addicting.

Overall: 8/10
A great game, recommend entirely.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/30/09

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

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