It’s a very strange place to start, reviewing a Pokemon game. Everyone knows Pokemon, and everyone knows and understands that it’s by far the most in-depth JRPG that will ever make the market. With hundreds of little and big creatures for you to catch and train, and thousands of moves for you to teach your friends, this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what Pokemon really is. You can get incredibly in-depth with these little creatures, but this isn’t what i’m reviewing.
I’m reviewing the game, the Pokemon Platinum experience. In this version, you up and explore the Sinnoh region with your friend, and go up against Team Galactic. It’s a pretty odd experience, and…well, it’s actually not what i’d consider to be a very good one. Whilst the region is relatively varied and there’s quite an interesting selection of Pokemon for you to have in your team, I can’t say that the meat of the game is exactly “there”.
Whilst I understand that Pokemon is meant to be linear, as you go from one town to the next, collecting gym badges and slowly fighting against the evil team, this is almost too linear. The game shoehorns you into going exactly where it wants you to, thanks to a clever combination of the Hidden Moves (field moves, like Rock Smash and Cut) and event flags locking you in place. For example, you move from town one to town two, then back to town one and then back to town two, then onto town three and after doing events there, you go to town four and after events there, you go to town three and onto town five. The sheer amount of backtracking and linearity make this less of an exploration and adventure than previous Pokemon games, not to mention how stupid the villains are in their dialogue and their occasional misplaced actions.
The Sinnoh Region is surrounded in myth and legend, and it shows by there being more legendary Pokemon than I can throw rocks at. However, the game and the villains don’t actually use this very well, with a large portion of the game revolving around a set few legendaries, the Pokemon which created Time, Space, and then the rest, with a few of them being included elsewhere thanks to the story. However, the rest, including the “god” of all Pokemon, appear after you’ve become the best trainer in the world all over again. It’s power creep to the highest degree, and I just can’t bring myself to say that it’s enjoyable. Some people, like the children that are commonly associated with the premise of Pokemon, may say that having a god in your pocket and fighting people with it us fun and enjoyable, but I, as someone who tries to take these things seriously, just can’t support the idea of taking a god seriously.
Look, the game is good. Team Galactic, whilst being a little bit stupid and far-fetched, actually mean to control legendary Pokemon and use them, and it’s a decently ambitious plot. On top of that, the core gameplay is enjoyable and easily something that can be played over and over again. It might be best to consider Pokemon Platinum just “another” Pokemon adventure, and whilst it’s not a particularly strong adventure or the best that Pokemon has to offer, it’s still good.
I think that the biggest problem that the game has is that it doesn’t exactly offer anything which you can’t get from another Pokemon game on the Nintendo DS. Since there are just so many Pokemon games in existence, some of them live in the constant shadow of their more advanced brothers and sisters. Following on from this analogy, I do think that the best way to refer to this game is as the less talented, less skilled, less able younger brother of games like Pokemon Heart Gold and Pokemon Black.
I also apologise for this being a rather odd review of mine. It was really hard to gather my thoughts about Pokemon Platinum, and after trying to write this three times, I decided to go with this version of it.