Starting Your Adventure
So you want to be a Pokemon Master, huh? Well, you've come to the right place! But there's much to learn before you can truly become a master in the fierce, competitive sport of battling Pokemon. But with our starter guide at your side, you should have no trouble climbing the ranks to become the ultimate Pokemon Master.
Now for those unaware, Pokemon Platinum is an updated version of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. While the core gameplay is mostly the same, there have been some noteable changes and additions--check out our "What's New" section for a complete rundown.
Here's what you'll find in GameSpot's Pokemon Platinum Primer Guide:
- What's new? Find out what's new in the Platinum version of Pokemon.
- Capturing Pokemon: In order to become a Pokemon Master, you're going to need some Pokemon--here's how to get them.
- Combat: To become a master, you need to be a fighter. Check out our combat tips to hold your own during battle.
- Using Items: You'll encounter many items during your adventure, and knowing when and where to use them is often crucial.
Pokemon Platinum is essentially an updated version of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. The core game is more or less the same, but there have been several changes and additions that make for a somewhat unique experience. So if you've played either Diamond or Pearl, this section will help get you up to speed on the biggest additions.
While you'll be exploring the same Sinnoh region as the two previous games, the climate is now much colder, as evidenced by the scattered snow piles and more warmly dressed characters. This is a direct result of the brand-new story, involving an open portal atop Mt. Coronet that leads to the "Distortion World," causing the temperature to drop in Sinnoh (so much for global warming, huh?).
The Wi-Fi plaza is a brand new addition to Pokemon Platinum. It can be found in the basement of any Pokecenter. Once there, you'll be able to meet with other online trainers (and even check out their profiles by interacting with them) and challenge them in one of three simple mini-games. Earning high-scores in each of the games will unlock different toys, which can be interacted with on the touch-screen. These toys can be then be upgraded by earning even better scores.
However, you're only allowed in the plaza for a set amount of time per day--spend too much time there and you'll be escorted off the premises and will only be allowed back the following day.
The Battle Frontier makes its return after last being seen in Pokemon Emerald. Now located on the Battle Zone island, you'll find numerous "Frontier Brain"--these are trainers who run specific Pokemon Challenges with very specfic rules. For instance, one of them requires you to traverse a tower, while dealing with random Pokemon attacks, using only a very limited inventory to stay alive. These challenges aren't easy, so make sure you know what you're doing before entering.
Other minor changes include the order of the gyms having changed, different interiors, and many trainers now carry different Pokemon. The total amount of Pokemon in Platinum has also been increased by 51, making for 210 entries total (note: not all of these can be caught).
The Basics of Pokémon
The first thing you're going to want to do in Pokémon Platinum will be to collect a team of Pokémon to help you overcome any challenges that you might face. Although you start with only a single Pokémon in your team, you can collect any number of Pokémon to join you on your adventures. In order to do so, though, you'll first need to buy Pokeballs at the Pokemart. You can find Pokemarts in any town; they're the red buildings. When you start finding cash (early in the game, you'll mostly obtain it by defeating opposing Pokémon trainers), you can spend your money at the Pokemarts to buy more Pokeballs.
In combat, you can use Pokeballs to attempt to capture new Pokémon. In order to do so, all you need to do is select the Bag option when it's your turn, select Pokeballs, and find an appropriate ball for the occasion.
If you simply use a ball on an enemy right at the beginning of a fight, though, you'll almost never actually manage to capture the Pokémon that you're aiming for. Most enemy Pokémon are too strong to be captured outright; you'll need to weaken them up by knocking down their health or by infecting them with status effects first. Use a Pokémon to attack the enemy until its health is in the yellow or red zone, or infect the enemy with a status effect, like poison or burning, and you'll stand a much greater chance of actually capturing the enemy.
This means that you have to change your attack pattern based on what Pokémon you're using and the Pokémon that you intend to capture. If you're trying to capture a Pokémon that's lower level than the Pokémon in your party, then you have to be careful, since you may want
When Pokémon Are Captured
When you use a Pokeball and manage to capture a Pokémon, what happens next will depend on whether or not you have a full party of Pokémon. You can have up to six Pokémon in your party at any one time. If you don't have the maximum number of Pokémon, the Pokémon you captured will be added to your party, but it will probably be quite weak, since you just got finished beating it up in order to capture it. (If you capture a Pokémon with a Heal Ball, however, it will be added to your party at full health.) You can return to the Pokémon Center in town to fully heal your Pokémon.
If you already have six Pokémon in your party, any Pokémon that you capture will be added to Someone's PC back in the Pokémon Center. You can, again, access the Pokémon Center in any town in the game. Head back to town, enter the Center, and access the PC via the blue monitor to the right of the nurse that heals your Pokémon. In Someone's PC, you can store Pokémon in a number of boxes (18 boxes, each of which can hold 30 Pokémon) and switch them out between the boxes and your current party. You'll want to periodically switch out Pokémon to train Pokémon of types that you haven't yet been using, to adapt for an upcoming dungeon or gym where you'll face a number of enemies of a specific type, or to use a special ability that one of your Pokémon possesses. While you can get through the game with the same six Pokémon that you collect at the beginning of the game, it'll be useful to periodically switch them out, especially since rarer Pokémon will feature advanced skills and combat abilities.
Combat in Pokémon isn't a tremendously difficult affair to wrap your head around; it's a variation on the age-old RPG standard of whacking the other guy while he whacks you, until one of you falls to the ground. In Pokémon Platinum, though, you have six full Pokémon to use in battle, which will often give you the edge against your enemies. In order to increase the likelihood of defeating your foes, though, you'll need to get used to the concept of enemy types.
Each Pokémon will have a variety of moves that it can learn. When you capture a Pokémon, it will always have a couple of moves already learned, with one of them usually consisting of some kind of attack. As you fight your opponents and earn experience, your Pokémon will gain levels and learn new attacks and special moves, as well.
In combat, you'll be able to select any of the moves that your Pokémon currently knows and use them. Early on in the game, you'll want to stick to straight attacks; there are plenty of tricky moves that increase your Pokémon's stats or decrease those of your opponents, but for the most part, you can simply attack away until your enemies faint, secure in the knowledge that any damage you take can be corrected with a quick trip to a Pokémon Center.
As you move on in the game, your Pokémon will learn new skills. You can only learn four skills at a time, though, so if start learning enough skills, you'll eventually want to start having your Pokémon forget older skills in favor of the newer skills that pop up. Forgotten skills aren't forgotten permanently, though; you will eventually be able to use the Move Relearner to relearn forgotten skills, or learn skills that you didn't learn when your Pokémon levelled up.
Each Pokémon will have one or two types assigned to it. Some Pokémon are fire monsters, some are electrical monsters, some are steel monsters, and so on. These types will help you know what kind of enemy Pokémon they're going to be strong against and which they're going to be weak against. Every Pokémon type has a few weaknesses and strengths; if you match your Pokémon against the enemy Pokémon properly, you'll often be able to defeat your foe in one hit!
When you use an attack of a proper type against an enemy, you'll deal double damage to it. For instance, Grass-type enemies are weak to Fire-type attacks, so they'll take twice the normal damage when hit with a Fire attack. Enemies also have defensive strengths, though. That same Grass-type enemy will only take half the normal damage from a Water-type attack, for instance. Some types of Pokémon are completely immune to some types of attack. If you use a Fight attack against a Ghost-type enemy, for example, you can expect to deal no damage at all.
GameFAQ.com user AnimeJet put together a helpful chart displaying the various strengths and weaknesses of the Pokémon types. When you're fighting a specific type of Pokémon, find its type on the upper section of the chart, then follow the line below it down until you find a circle. Follow the circle's line to the left and you should find a Pokémon type that is strong against your foe. Note that it is sometimes difficult to tell what kind of Pokémon you're fighting if you don't have them in your Pokedex; some educated guesswork based on their features may be required! A new Pokémon with flames coming from its body is almost certainly a Fire-type Pokémon, for instance.
Note that the offensive strengths and defensive strengths of a monster aren't always perfectly aligned. For example, an Ice attack will deal double damage to a Grass monster, but a Grass attack will deal normal damage to an Ice monster (instead of the half damage that you might expect). However, that Grass attack will also deal double damage to a Ground-type enemy, and the Ground-type attacks that they're likely to use in return will only deal half damage to the Grass-monster. Exploiting both the offensive and defensive strengths of your Pokémon in battle will help you conquer the competition.
As mentioned, you'll only have one Pokémon in your party at the outset of the game, but eventually you'll be able to fill it up with six Pokémon, not including the extras that you keep in the boxes in Someone's PC. A key thing to realize is that you're capable of switching Pokémon in between each round of a fight via the appropriately named "Switch" command. If the monster you're facing is too tough for your current Pokémon, or has an advantage in type, then you can use the Switch command to flip out the Pokémon for another member of your party.
The drawback to this is that switching Pokémon uses up your entire turn, allowing your enemy a free attack. You'd better be sure that the Pokémon you're switching to will be able to withstand this first attack so that they get a chance to return fire.
When you're in an area with plenty of enemies of the same type, though, you can shuffle the Pokémon in your party around so that an appropriate Pokémon will appear as soon as the battle begins. If you enter the Pokémon screen in your menu, you can determine which Pokémon appears first by moving that Pokémon to the upper-left corner of the screen. The upper-left Pokémon will be the one that pops up first during battle. If you know that you're going to be repeatedly fighting against Pokémon of a certain type, you can choose a Pokémon to lead your forces that will be most capable of taking them down quickly. For instance, there are plenty of Rock and Ground-type enemies in the first Pokémon gym. Since Grass-type attacks deal double damage to those foes, you can probably get through the entire gym by repeatedly blasting them with your lead Pokémon, if it's a Grass-type monster.
Switching For Experience: Note that in order to earn experience for a battle, your Pokémon has to be active in it for at least a little while. If you never switch to a Pokémon during a fight, they won't earn any experience. If you have a low-level Pokémon that you want to level up, you can place them in the front of your party of Pokémon. They'll lead off the battle and appear in combat, but you can immediately switch them out on the first turn of the fight. Each Pokémon that fights or appears in combat will earn a portion of the experience that the monsters give when they faint. If you want to train up a Pokémon that you captured a while back and are going up against more powerful Pokémon, you may only be able to level them up in this way, since they're unlikely to be able to fend for themselves in a fight. Some items will let your Pokémon gain experience without participating in a fight, however.
Types of Battles
There are a few different kinds of encounters you'll find yourself running into during your time in Pokémon, each with its own kinds of challenges.
Wilderness Fight: Although you're safe from enemy encounters when traveling, for the most part, you will be at risk of encountering wild Pokémon when you travel through tall grass or through caves, or when you attempt to fish. For the most part, wild Pokémon will be lower level than the Pokémon in your party are, making them relatively easy to defeat, assuming you adjust your strategy according to their types. Wild Pokémon can be captured by Pokeballs and the like if you knock their health down far enough. Wild Pokémon don't give you cash when defeated.
Trainer Fight: As you travel around Sinnoh, you'll run across plenty of Trainers. These individuals are scattered around the land, in cities, gyms, caves, and basic exterior areas. When you pass near their line of sight, they will automatically approach you and engage you in Pokémon combat. You can sometimes avoid them by keeping your distance from them or by walking around a tree or other obstacle to block their site. You typically will want to fight every Trainer that you see, though, since their Pokémon will give your own Pokémon more experience when defeated, and they'll also give you cash when you defeat all of their Pokémon. Trainers will also sometimes have Pokémon that you won't encounter in the wild, which you'll need to fight against if you intend to complete the entire Pokedex.
Many Trainers will have multiple Pokémon that they'll use to fight you; if one faints, then they'll switch it out with another one, just as you do. You'll need to defeat all of the Pokémon in order to win the battle. Most Trainers will use multiple Pokémon of the same type, at least early in the game, giving you a bit of an advantage when attacking them if you can match up with an alternate-type Pokémon. You can't use Pokeballs on or otherwise capture the Pokémon that opposing Trainers are using.
Double Battles: Occasionally, you'll be tasked with taking on two Pokémon at the same time. When this occurs, you'll have two Pokémon on your side of the field (with one sometimes being controlled by a friendly teammate). In order to win, you'll need to defeat both of your opponents. During a single turn, you'll be able to attack with both of your Pokémon, but both of the enemy Pokémon will be able to attack you.
If you do find yourself in a double battle, focus on one of the enemy Pokémon and attack it with both of your own Pokémon, preferably going after the stronger enemy first. If you focus your attacks on the stronger enemy, you'll be able to knock it out first while the weaker enemy ineffectively tries to attack you.
In the wild, you'll need to defeat one of the two Pokémon if you want to use a Pokeball to capture the other one; you can't use a Pokeball if two Pokémon are fighting you. In double battles against a trainer, you can expect the trainer to send in a new Pokémon as soon as either of the first ones are defeated, until they run out of Pokémon to throw at you.
You're going to come across a variety of items in your travels. This section will detail some of the items you'll receive and how you can use them. All of these items can be found in the Bag that you carry around, so check your menu and open it up!
The first category of items are, simply, Items. A number of miscellaneous items will go into this pocket, from random junk that you can sell to vendors for extra cash, to items that are useful when walking around in the game world, such as the Escape Rope, which will instantly pull you out of a dungeon that you're in.
More importantly, though, items that your Pokémon can hold will be placed here. You can assign items to your Pokémon either by selecting the item in the bag and giving it to a Pokémon, or by going into the Pokémon menu and selecting the Item command. Letting your Pokémon hold an item will give it some kind of added bonus, usually in battle. To give some examples, a Hard Stone item can be given to a Pokémon; when held, it will increase the power of Rock-type moves. The Shell Bell will restore some of the Pokémon's HP when it inflicts damage. The Exp. Share can be given to a Pokémon to allow it to earn experience in battle without switching into combat, which is helpful when you're trying to raise a lower level Pokémon up to the same level as the rest of your party.
All your Pokémon needs to do to use an item is hold it in combat; they don't need to activate it or anything special like that. You can find these items by talking to people in towns and cities or by digging them up in the underground portion of the game. Keep an eye out for them, as they're really handy!
Your Pokémon will periodically take damage or status effects; that's unavoidable. Luckily, you can find or buy medicine to heal them right up. Potions of various sorts will restore their HP, while Revives will restore Pokémon that have fainted to the land of the conscious. In addition, there are a number of medicines that will cure your Pokémon of status effects, like Poison or Burning. You can store them in this pocket and use them inside or outside of battle, as you see fit.
You can find plenty of medicine scattered around the game world, inside Pokeballs that lie on the ground. In addition, the shops in towns will sell a number of restoratives for you to buy. The more gym badges you have, the more items you'll be able to buy.
TMs & HMs
As you travel, you'll come across a number of machines that can be used to permanently train your Pokémon with new skills. These come in two forms: TMs, which are relatively common, and HMs, which are fairly rare.
The differences between the two are fairly large. TMs are only usable once, and impart a special power on a single Pokémon, after which they disappear from your inventory. There are almost 100 of these TMs scattered around the game world, each of which teaches a different skill when used.
HMs are generally impossible to miss, as they'll often be given to you by a character as part of the game's main storyline. Like TMs, they will teach your Pokémon a new skill (assuming they're capable of learning it), but unlike TMs, HMs can be used as often as you like; they don't disappear from your inventory when used. The skills they impart can also be used outside of battle. The ability Cut, for instance, will let your Pokémon cut down small trees that block your path. You will often have to acquire a new gym badge before you can use the HM abilities outside of combat, however.
Also, keep in mind that just because you can give HM powers to as many Pokémons as you like doesn't mean that you necessarily should do so. HM abilities can't be forgotten when your Pokémon level up (you'll need to find the Move Deleter to accomplish that), so only give them to a Pokémon that you know you'll want to have in your party for a bit. Also, check the type of power that an HM gives and assign it accordingly. Rock Smash is a Fight-type HM (not a Rock-type smash, oddly enough), so give it to a Machop or another Fight-type Pokémon; they'll make more use of it during combat than, say, a Water-type Pokémon would.
As you travel around the world, you'll find numerous Berry plants. You can pick the berries off of them and replant them in the soil, using a watering cup to hasten their growth. If you keep the Berries, though, you'll find that they have a few uses. Some vendors will trade you accessories for your Berries. You can also use them to cook Poffins for your Pokémon when you reach Hearthome city. Poffins will increase the stats of the Pokémon that eats it for a little while, allowing you to gain better scores in a Special Contest.
Lastly, Berries can be held by your Pokémon in the same manner as normal items. When held, they will automatically be used when a specific problem arises. For instance, a Pokémon holding a Pecha Berry will automatically use it when it's poisoned, recovering instantly. An Oran Berry will be used to replenish a small amount of health when the Pokémon is damaged. The benefits of using berries is that the Pokémon will typically use them automatically, which won't cause you to waste a turn using a Medicine from the bag, but still, the benefits are often somewhat small when compared to equipping your Pokémon with items instead of Berries.
Battle Items are somewhat rare compared to other items, but can be handy when you're facing off against a particularly tough enemy trainer. Battle Items are used in combat from the item menu, and typically boost the combat abilities of the current Pokémon. For instance, the X Attack item will raise the Attack stat of the Pokémon, while Dire Hit will increase the chances that it will hit for a critical strike. These bonuses only last for one battle, or until the current Pokémon is withdrawn or faints, so save them and use them in difficult spots!
The Key Items pocket of your bag will be where the story-related stuff goes, or the stuff that will be important to your progression, or the stuff that's just plain handy to you! Things like the Town Map, which will let you see your position on the world map, or the Bicycle, which will let you zoom around while traveling, or the Old Rod, which will let you catch some fish or Pokémon when you're near a body of water. Most of these items can be bound to the DS's Y key for easy access.
We hope some of you found some of the information in this guide useful. If you're a Pokémon expert, or well on your way to achieving that status, then, again, you can find plenty more information on Platinum at GameFAQs.com.