The third entries in the Pokemon series are a peculiar tradition. Nintendo wants to keep the game compatible with the previous two, so it really has to stretch to add features to the title without adding new Pokemon, moves or mechanics. With Yellow, the company opted to focus on Pikachu, he game’s flagship creature. With the Game Boy Color-only Crystal, it was mostly a graphical upgrade. Emerald was an effort focused on Stadium-like additions that made battling interesting after completing the main quest.
So what does Platinum have to offer? The visuals got a slight makeover. There are new battle opportunities. Neither were, however, the real focus for this edition.
Nintendo knew that different Pokemon to catch would be a great feature, but how can you put in new Pokemon and keep it compatible with Diamond and Pearl? The answer: formes. Platinum has what are essentially different versions of existing monsters; some have different moves, others have stat changes. The Giratina featured on the game’s cover is in its “Origin Forme,” which allows it to be more focused on offense and protected from ground attacks. Fairly useless Diamond/Pearl legend Rotom is back with five — count ’em up — five new formes, each allowing some interesting movesets. One allows the Electric/Ghost type to learn Hydro Pump. Trading any of these creatures back to Diamond or Pearl makes them revert to their original version.
A big selling point of the game is Distortion World, a new area of puzzles and battles not in the previous titles. The area focuses on Super Mario Galaxy-style 3D disorientation for its challenge, and is the location of the new Giratina forme. The area isn’t large, but any new places are a welcome change.
Besides these changes, there have been a few story tweaks, a slightly different order of gyms and areas, and a Platinum-only Wi-Fi area with a few fun diversions.
Platinum just isn’t that different from Diamond and Pearl, but those games were fantastic. There’s enough here to make it better for new players, and possibly enough here for the types of people that like Pokemon enough to have bought both Diamond and Pearl. Casual Pokemon players without deep pockets might want to save for something else.
ESRB: E– No worries.
Plays Like: Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, Pokemon Emerald.
Pros: More Pokemon!
Cons: More Pokemon?