Review: Pokémon Platinum (DS)

The unstoppable Pokémon returns to the Nintendo DS

It’s hard to believe that a decade has already passed since Pokémon first debuted in North America. In 1998, Pokémon Blue and Pokémon Red made gamers want to attempt and ‘catch-em all’ as they explored the vast land of Kanto, unearthing its secrets along the way. The game became a worldwide hit and quickly became known as one of the most innovative and enjoyable role-playing games at the time, giving birth to a toy line, TV show and countless movies.

Then Nintendo decided to cash-in on the franchise and release various sequels, with each one featuring minor improvements. Over the years we've had many instalments, with recent titles like Pokémon Ruby, Pokémon Sapphire, Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl entertaining the masses. Now we have Pokémon Platinum, which is more of an enhancement of the previous two titles than a full update, but is it worth checking out?

Since gamers first set out on a grand adventure in April 2007, many things have changed in Sinnoh. For starters, things have gotten quite a lot colder. After a disturbance atop Mt. Coronet, a portal to the Distortion World was opened and Sinnoh’s climate was affected in the process. To coincide with the colder environments, trainers have been redesigned with new outfits this time around.

Like any other main-line Pokémon game, Pokémon Platinum starts off by allowing players to select both their gender and name. After a brief introduction, players are asked to select their starter Pokémon, which in this game are Turtwig, Piplup, and Chimchar. Each of these three Pokémon have their advantages and disadvantages, so regardless of which one you select, you’ll still be completing the same basic quest.

Seeing as this is only an enhanced remake of its counterparts Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl, much of the gameplay remains pretty much the same. Essentially your goal is to try and become the greatest trainer in the entire land. To do this, you have to capture Pokémon using Pokéballs. Each of the many Pokéballs in the game have their own unique features and usually the harder to obtain Pokéballs are better are capturing Pokémon.

So then, how exactly do you catch Pokémon using Pokéballs? To do this, players head into patches of grass, or as in caves and in water, walk over it. After a few moves, a Pokémon should appear and you’ll then engage in a turn-based battle. Using one of the four moves your Pokémon has learned, players go all out and try to weaken the Pokémon’s health. Once low enough, players can throw a Pokéball at it and hope it gets caught. If it manages to break free, you’ll have to throw another one at it. Be warned though, as you throw Pokéballs, your Pokémon loses its attack turn but your opponent doesn’t. In the scenario where your Pokémon’s health gets dangerously low, you can use a potion or another item to help heal it.

After training your Pokémon, what do you do then? Simply put, you battle other Pokémon in the wild and take on trainers and gym leaders. By beating trainers, players are rewarded with money and experience. Gym leaders act as bosses in which it’s almost like you have to beat them in order to keep going with the game. Some gym leaders have become more difficult since when you first met them in 2007, and over the past two years, they’ve redesigned their gyms.

Early on in the main storyline, players travel from the summit of Mt. Coronet to a brand-new location known as the Distortion World. This location strays the Pokémon franchise away from its RPG roots that have been stuck in soil for a long time and throws in the platforming genre. Despite being three-dimensional, navigating the Distortion World is rather simple.

The significance of this new location links itself to the star of Pokémon Platinum, Giratina. Once in the Distortion World, Giratina can transform into its Origin Forme, as depicted on the box art. Once transformed, Giratina gains new abilities that it never had before it underwent the change in its composition. For those wondering if Giratina can transform back into its original form, the answer is yes.

Besides Giratina though, there are other Pokémon that undergo strange transformations in Pokémon Platinum. Shaymin, one of the super rare Pokémon in the game, can transform into its Sky Forme. By finding an item in Pokémon Platinum and attaching it to Shaymin, it can become a flying and grass-type Pokémon. Rotom also has five different forms this time around, all of which resemble common household appliances.

Another neat addition to Pokémon Platinum is the Battle Frontier. Putting you against the toughest trainers in Sinnoh, the Battle Frontier adds replay value to the game. It’s almost as though the core of Platinum centers around the concept of always having something to do. Even the online has been tweaked to keep players busy this time around. One such example is the Global Trade Station, or as Pokémon Platinum refers to it as, the Global Terminal. Players can upload videos of battles using the new Vs. Recorder. Besides this, there’s also a Wi-Fi Plaza, an arcade area, players can play mini-games with over people over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.

Visually, Pokémon Platinum looks identical to its counterparts. Battle animations are swift and environments are presented in a very neat matter. The game is overflowing with vibrant colors that really bring the game alive.


From the new characters to the addition of the Battle Frontier and the enhanced online experience, you’re getting a lot for your money with Pokémon Platinum. Instead of just taking the easy way out and adding only a couple of minor things, the developers have gone out of their way and added a ton of worthwhile additions that are enough to warrant a purchase. For veterans and newcomers alike, there’s plenty of fun to be had with Pokémon Platinum.

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