How many Pokemon titles is this now? Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, Crystal, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, FireRed, LeafGreen, Diamond, Pearl, Colosseum, XD…and those are just the ones where you actually go out and catch Pokemon! Never mind all the Puzzle League, Ranger, Stadium, Mystery Dungeon, Pinball, Snap, TCG, Channel, Box, Dash and Battle Revolution spinoffs (thirty-two total games by my count, but I am likely off by a couple). For those who like math, that averages out to about three games per year, or one every four months. Pokemon is probably the best example of a “milked” series, but the Dash and Channel games are the real outliers in the series. The main Pokemon series, despite remaining the same since the title’s debut on the Gameboy, is still very strong.
You know the Pokemon formula by now. You start in some town in the sticks. A “Pokemon Professor” in the area hooks you up with either a fire, water or grass type and gives your early adolescent character the task of finding EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. IN THE WORLD. And there are rivals, Gym Leaders, Elite Four, Team Rocket/Aqua/Magma/Galactic. You know the deal. Platinum, like Yellow, Crystal and Emerald before it, remains largely identical to its immediate predecessors, in this case being Diamond and Pearl. It changes a couple things, like adding a couple new NPCs and giving existing Pokemon new “forms” (not a new evolution, mind you), but this is still the same ol’ Pokemon. The same ol’ Pokemon, though, is still a great piece of gaming. “Catching ‘em all” is probably the closest thing to heroine in the video game industry, and the series remains one of the richest labels around in terms of replay value. The solid Wi-Fi support extends an already long-lasting gaming experience into indefinite fun, letting players trade and battle online. To top it all off, the plethora of post-story unlockables keeps you coming back even after taking over as the region’s champion. Though very little more than a rehash, the title is still a winner.
The graphics and sound remain identical, outside a few switches. The most noticeable difference lies in the sprites actually having the illusion of motion (though they actually just bounce and switch between two different sprites). There are also some better-toned graphics and some other switched up animations, but they are not particularly noticeable. The out-of-battle graphics and the whole of the sound, however, did not even get tweaked between titles, but still look solid. This was to be expected, but there isn’t anything wrong with wishful thinking.
Fans of the Pokemon series know what they are getting with this title – some small tweaks on an otherwise familiar game. What can’t be understated, though, is the sheer potency of the single-player experience, which you can’t tackle more than once without erasing all the little critters you worked so hard to catch and train. The simple fact that you WILL want to go back and retackle everything, though, just about says everything you need to know about this game. If you’re looking to dive into the newest generation of Pokemon, do it with Platinum. I don’t have to tell you fans of the series to do this, though. You’ve probably already done it.