Looking through the fact sheet of changes from Diamond and Pearl to Platinum, you could get a little letdown. Does a new area, redesigned gyms, and new forms of legendaries really get anyone excited enough to buy the same game again?
Put your hands down fanboys.
Looking back at previous compilation versions of Pokémon you can’t expect too much. Surprising though, Platinum is an experience best played through then talked about. While it doesn’t feel like a wholly new game, it has enough new things and smoothed edges that it’s an enjoyable play through.
With the advent of a proper Pokémon game on the DS, Nintendo seemed reluctant to go wild with the device. Slow advances are something you tend to expect from the Pokémon series. That being said, The Distortion World introduced in Platinum is the crem della crem of the series.
While wild encounters and trainers are absent from this world, they are replaced by three dimensional movement and puzzle solving that requires you to consider multiple plains. Unfortunately this section of the game is short lived and you return to the standard gameplay to continue your journey. It’s really just a nice vacation to get you energized toward the inevitable Elite Four.
Collecting is the unarguable carrot of the series. From pokémon to ribbons to badges, they are all pulling you further through the game. Platinum fixes a lot of the rough spots in the game where things settled down and you spent a lot of time just trying to figure out where the next big find was.
Even the Elite Four have been rebalanced to encourage the idea that they are the strongest in the region. A nice plus to that is the addition of a harder version of the Elite Four after you initially beat them.
Even though Pokémon is a very popular franchise it has long been considered a kids game, with a light peppering of adult themes. With small pushes in each game, the evil team leader gains new levels of depth, but it seems like they have hit a wall.
While intentions are clear on what Cyrus, (the leader of the evil Team Galactic), wants to do with his power, you get a cop out answer as to why; ‘because he is evil’.
It would be interesting to see a discussion on how far they should go in fleshing out characters and how mature Nintendo should make the series. For now though it seems like they are happy with walking up to the cliff and not jumping off.
Anyone who has played any of the games and seen the long running TV show know they cross over a lot. Continuing that trend is the inclusion of the battle frontier. What was once just a battle tower to test your post game skills, is now a collection of buildings testing anything from your contest skills to using generic rental pokémon.
All of this plays into the theme of refinement.
All these additions create an atmosphere where you feel familiar with the game, sometimes a little too much so, but with just enough new to make it feel refreshing. In a series based on baby step evolutions of mechanics, Platinum is a nice fit.