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You are looking at the review of what is probably the best game ever to grace the DS.

Pokemon Diamond and Peal were released two years ago on the Nintendo DS. There was a lot of excitement surrounding the newest instalments of the series. I was excited too. Game Freak was hyping D/P as the ultimate Pokemon games. What would that mean? Pokemon games that were truly better than Pokemon Gold and Silver- the best RPG's ever?

When Pokemon Diamond and Pearl came out, my ultimate reaction toward them was the one I had never expected- I thought they were disappointing. They were highly disappointing games that simply failed to addict and hook me. Catching Pokemon or even battling with them was tedious, the battle speed was torturously slow.

But even though I found D/P to be highly disappointing, there is no denying the fact that Diamond and Pearl were the most polished and story oriented games the Pokemon series had ever seen. The dialog delivery, the graphics, the presentation, the one and only Dialga/Palkia cutscene, the strangely groovy soundtracks... When I had finally completed the game, even though I was very disappointed, I knew that it would be practically impossible to create a game more polished than this.

But I was wrong. Two years later, Pokemon Platinum was released.

Let me first tell you, this game is VERY different from Diamond and Pearl. It cannot be described in words. Play this game for yourself and you'll understand.

I know, its very dumb and strange. The fact that I simply loathe Pokemon Diamond and Pearl and love Pokemon Platinum to the extent of calling this the only Pokemon game that can stand up to Pokemon Gold and Silver. I don't know why, but from the very beginning, Platinum felt right. Everything just fell into place, the graphics, which though not very stunning, are very pleasing to the eye, the sound, which was basically the same as D/P, the tried and true gameplay... The small and subtle differences that proclaimed that Platinum is not just a mere expansion always came together to give us a joyous and addictive experience.

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GRAPHICS
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SCORE: 10/10

Pokemon games cannot be called games that are stunning and beautiful. They do not have 3D visuals or breathtaking cutscenes (Platinum does, but I'll come back to that later) or awe-striking HD graphics. Pokemon games have visuals that are pleasing to the eye. Not very striking, not awful... just great graphics.

If you were expecting a full 3D remake of Diamond and Pearl, then this game is not for you. For one, this game is not a remake of D/P. It's quite different actually. And, the graphics are 2D. Even though there's always a hint of 3D in the game, especially when you look at the windmills in Floroma Town or the pillars on Spear Pillar, but basically, the game is 2D most of the times.

Note: MOST OF THE TIMES. Not always.

First of all, there are certain graphical enhancements in each and every city, all water bodies, and routes and battles. There are great looking conveyer belts in Oreburgh City and Mine which transport coal from one part of the town to the other. Then, there are all new, never before seen, 3D arches at the entrance and exit of Floroma Town. And three gyms has been completely overhauled, graphically and gameplay-vise.

And then, there's the ultimate graphical enhancement.

When I got through Mt. Coronet and reached Spear Pillar, I was just expecting a typical 2D cutscene that we usually get to see in a Pokemon game. Even though the cutscene in Diamond and Pearl was 3D for a second or two, I knew I should expect nothing more.

But I was SO wrong. First of all, I came across the best cutscene any Pokemon game had had to show so far and one of the best cutscenes on the DS. I was left dumbstruck when the cutscene finally ended. For one, the cutscene was full 3D, with Cyrus always blabbering in the background. The music was great, and so was the presentation. Very unlike Pokemon.

Then, after the cutscene ended, I entered the legendary Distortion World. I expected another gimmick that would ultimately disappoint me, but what I got instead was one of the best dungeons ever. Always surprising me at every corner, I played through Distortion World, hoping it would never end. The way I walked up walls, jumped on air, swam up a waterfall... it was very unlike Pokemon. It was the best experience I had ever had in any Pokemon game since G/S/C.

Distortion World was full 3D with changing camera angles. Yeah. You read it right. I think they're just experimenting if 3D and Pokemon are a proper combination or not... Maybe we can expect the next Pokemon game to be 3D.

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SOUND
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SCORE: 10/10

Diamond and Pearl always had beautiful sound. Be it en route to cities, or within battles or inside gyms. The sound was always great. The same can be said for Platinum, which has basically the same soundtrack apart from some minor tweaks in the sound. And the Giratina boss battle. Not only does that boss battle has the most kick-ass boss ever, it also has one of the best sound tracks you could ever come across. Then, there's the Distortion World soundtrack, which gave the Distortion World a feeling of isolation and darkness.

The spectacular soundtracks heard in the Cyrus boss battles make a return and so do other great soundtrack from Diamond and Pearl.

The sound always fit in perfectly. It was simply seamless. Several times I have found myself to be humming the Giratina sound track to myself.

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GAMEPLAY
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SCORE: 10/10

What can be said about the gameplay? No self respecting gamer can say that he doesn't know what the gameplay in Pokemon games is like. Always it's the same- collect Pokemon, win badges, and defeat an evil team. Yet it always works out. The same gameplay formula has been used in Platinum and Nintendo has proved, yet again, that the Pokemon formula is far from dead.

The gameplay is strangely addictive and keeps you hooked throughout. Even after completing the Pokemon league, you cannot let go. The game is so addictive.

There are some tweaks, and then there are some parts which are very unlike Pokemon. The Distortion World, which most of us already know, is anything but a typical Pokemon dungeon. It has no random battles. Its full 3D. It's purely puzzle based. And for the first time in a Pokemon game, you can jump!

There were several parts in the Distortion World which completely surprised me- I could jump, for one, I could swim up waterfalls, walk on walls and several other things that usually always belong to Prince of Persia games.

The Eterna gym has been overhauled. It is in no way similar to the Eterna gym in D/P. The same as the Veilstone and Hearthome gyms.

Platinum proves several things- one, that the old classic Pokemon formula has not aged. It's as good as ever. Two, he Pokemon series is completely open to change. Change it Nintendo- we have had enough.

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STORY
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SCORE: 7/10

This is the only mediocre aspect in the entire game. Even though when compared to other Pokemon games in the series, even Diamond and Pearl, it's quite spectacular, when you look at it as an individual game and not compare it to others, the story is typical and mediocre. All right, we have some great legends of The Original One, and the Vertex of Chaos, and Time, Space and the Distortion World. But the story still is just fine. Some new aspects have been added to the story in this game. For one, we have two all new characters- Looker, who is an eccentric investigation officer and Charon, who can be said to be the fourth commander of Galactic.

Whilst the story is quite deep and breathtaking when you compare it to other Pokemon games, it's still not what we have wanted for so long. Yes, this game is very story oriented, but still- Nintendo could have done better. Way better.

The story may be good- but not quite.

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MULTIPLAYER
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SCORE: 10/10

It would be blasphemy if I review a Pokemon game and not talk about the multiplayer. Especially if it's a DS Pokemon game you're reviewing. With Wi-fi, the multiplayer is as good as anything you will ever come across. As ever, its always fun to trade and battle with you friends and people from around the world. The GTS is as good as ever. But the online experience has been considerably beefed up from Diamond and Pearl thanks to the inclusion of the VS Recorder.

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REPLAY VALUE
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SCORE: 10/10

This is the best aspect in ANY Pokemon game. Be it Mystery Dungeon, or Stadium or Battle Revolution. The same as Platinum. Even after completing the story part of the game, and winning the Pokemon League after defeating the 8 gyms, there is still a lot to do. For one, you Gotta Catch 'em all. Then, you always feel compelled to explore all of Sinnoh and grab every item and defeat every trainer you see. Then, there's the Battle Frontier, which is as good as ever.

And last but not the least, there's online. Never before was trading and battling online so fun. Never. Not Killzone 2, or Gears of War... Pokemon Platinum has THE best online ever.

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CLOSING COMMENTS
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So, is this the best Pokemon game ever? Or was this four page long review for naught- well, sadly, this STILL isn't the best Pokemon game ever. Argh. I know. But it IS as good as Gold and Silver, which according to me are the best RPG's ever. It's also the best game on the DS. So no- this four page long review was NOT for naught. You were reading it so you could buy it, were you not? Or am I just a fool?

I may be a fool, but you'd be an even bigger one if you didn't buy this game NOW!

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