Game Review – Pokemon Platinum

Released in North America in 2008, Pokemon Platinum is a generation-IV, third-version game, succeeding Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. There have been many games released in the Pokemon franchise, and I was around when Pokemon Red and Blue came out but never got into the series. Recently, however, I have been on a Pokemon binge, having played through Omega Ruby and HeartGold already. After beating Platinum, I thought: “Hey, why not a review?”

This blog post will begin as a review of the Pokemon series as a whole, and the second half will focus on Pokemon Platinum itself.

starters
Grass starter 4 lyfe. I named mine Donatello.

How I Play Pokemon

My first Pokemon game was actually Pokemon Diamond. I bought it wondering what the hype was all about, and once I got into it I took it quite seriously. I learned about natures, read up on IVs and EVs, and studied movesets of different Pokemon. That’s just how I was; whenever I played a game I wanted to optimize my stats, team, character, whatever.

A realization hit me, however, as I was farming for female Dittos with the natures I wanted; I realized I wasn’t having fun. Optimizing stats for each of your Pokemon takes a lot of time and grinding, and I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing the point of the game. Video games, after all, are about having fun, and while some people might have fun breeding endlessly and training for EVs, I didn’t.

Therefore, I started my Pokemon binge simply wanting to become a Pokemon master. I’m not hardcore enough to attempt the Nuzlocke, but I did apply certain rules. I didn’t care about natures, IVs, and EVs, and I chose Pokemon I liked rather than the strong ones. That meant no legendaries or pseudo-legendaries, and I leaned towards lesser-used Pokemon. The Pokemon games are RPGs, and what I wanted was to experience the journey of a Pokemon master going through eight gyms, stopping nefarious criminal organizations, and defeating the Elite Four and the Pokemon Champion. From my own adventures, I can tell you this was the best way to play these games, and I urge you to give it a shot. Don’t worry about using the popular and strong Pokemon; just have fun and treat it as an adventure, rather than a mission to create perfect Pokemon.

My final team.
My final team.

The Appeal of the Pokemon Games.

Ever since Pokemon came onto the scene it has captured the imagination of kids everywhere. What kid doesn’t want a friendly pet capable of doing amazing things, from battling to flying to digging tunnels to haunting a house? The diversity of the original 151 Pokemon increased the probability of kids identifying with certain Pokemon, whether they wanted a companion that looked big and strong or cute and cuddly. This was made possible through all three mediums in which Pokemon appeared: the cards, the cartoon shows, and the games. We will focus on the last of these.

The best part of the Pokemon games is the fact that we have so much to choose from. With eighteen types (and three hundred and twenty four combinations) players are free to build teams as they see fit. Furthermore, with over seven hundred and twenty two Pokemon to choose from (with more coming in November with Sun and Moon), there’s plenty of different Pokemon to choose from based on looks and personal preference as well. The end result is a team that feels like it’s truly yours. The fact that you have to battle them and catch them, as well as name them and customize their movesets, adds to the level of attachment players can feel towards their Pokemon, increasing immersion and overall fun.

As for the battle mechanic, it is simple enough for kids to enjoy yet strategic enough to appeal to more mature gamers. The most basic way to play these games are to load up your Pokemon with the strongest moves of their types, but Pokemon can learn moves outside their types as well as status-inducing attacks and moves that effect the battle system (such as Embargo and Attract). The variety in these types of moves allows anyone to enjoy the game, whether they want a rock-paper-scissors style of battling, or more intricate/stylish approach.

Remember this?
Remember this?

Pokemon Platinum

Nintendo gets a lot of flak for creating the same games over and over again. This applies not to Pokemon but also more commonly to the Mario platformers. It’s a valid criticism, and yet the mainstay titles continue to sell millions of copies upon release. Though the Call of Duty franchise suffers from the same malady, there’s something different about Activision then Nintendo. It is obvious the former cares only about money first and foremost, while the latter actually cares about producing fun games, and Pokemon Platinum is no except.

Though it follows the tried and true formula without bringing anything substantially new (Mega-Evolutions and Z-forms are not yet a thing), the foundation is there and it’s great.

The story revolves around a guy named Cyrus who had bad things happen to him the past. Now he’s sad and wants to erase the world in order to rebuild it. Through the power of friendship and tenacity, we put a stop to his plans while visiting the Distortion World and encountering God-like Pokemon. Still a better love story than Twilight.

Pokemon Platinum is a solid title. It probably makes the most sense to play this one over Diamond or Pearl, as third-version games can be seen as the spiritual sequel/final form for every generation of Pokemon games. As with most of the Mario, Pokemon, and Zelda titles available, you can’t go wrong with a core-series title, and Pokemon Platinum fits right in, providing hours of entertainment/distraction. Highly recommended especially if you’re a fan of Pokemon, old or new!

This has been a gamobo review. Thanks for reading.

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