It may be the same Pokemon formula as always, but Platinum's tweaks and changes make it one of the best yet

User Rating: 8.5 | Pocket Monsters Platina DS
How long has Pokemon been around now? And yet somehow capturing a team of monsters and training them to fight one another is still this much fun? Although the gameplay has remained the same, one thing is for sure; the game still remain engaging and fun regardless. Pokemon Platinum version, an upgraded version of Diamond & Pearl, is no exception. Like every generation before it, Platinum successfully builds on what makes these games tick while adding its own little changes to keep the formula fresh.

The story doesn't start out all that creative as it's basically the same as every other game. You are a kid who lives in a world of Pokemon (this time in the Sinnoh region) who is given a Pokemon of your choice by the town's professor, this time Professor Rowan (although his lab is in a different town, that's new). Furthermore, you have to not only collect all 8 badges and beat the Pokemon League, but you must stop Team Galactic from fulfilling their schemes. Anyone who's played Pokemon before will be familiar with this plot, but I suppose it isn't all copy/pasta thanks to the addition of the Distortion world subplot.

The gameplay follows the series' usual formula; travel around the world and build a team of up to 6 Pokemon, defeating countless trainers and wild Pokemon along the way in turn-based combat and making your own team stronger. Each creature has four moves based on elemental types (such as fire, electric, water, and up to 14 others) and the goal is to strategize by learning what moves are most effective on what type. These types encourage you to catch a variety of Pokemon so you can form a team that can tackle any opponent. And this is basically why Pokemon can take over your life thanks to its addictive nature. This generation includes all Pokemon from previous generations and adds over 100 new ones, totaling just under 500 Pokemon to choose from. This formula has been with this series since it first began and it may seem like it hardly changes but hey, why fix what isn't broken? The newer Pokemon introduced in this game aren't so bad, though I wish they wouldn't include so many Legendaries. It kind of makes them less special knowing that there's so many of these ultra rare Pokemon at once. Other than that, the gameplay is as strong as always.

So what features make Platinum stick out from the others? Well, now there is a split in physical and special attack. What this means is the type of attack, physical or special, is now determined by each individual attack and not the type it represents. This is a much needed feature and it doesn't limit each type to one or the other. In addition, each attack is classified as either physical or special unlike previous games, so now it's easier to tell without looking it up. Also, you will see the return of the Battle Frontier after beating the Elite 4, which is pretty similar to Emerald. One of the best newest features is the ability to rechallenge gym leaders. Upon reaching the survival area will grant you the option to challenge up to 4 gym leaders you've battled before or other important people you've met on your journey, only much stronger than before to keep you on your toes. These additions are all much needed and are enough to keep the formula fresh. It's improvements like these that keep this series going as strong as it has.

If you get tired of fighting trainers in your world, you can always take the fight online against your friends or the world. This is probably the best feature that this generation added as it really puts your team to the test, though I find that fighting with friends is more fun somehow. Besides fighting is trading, which is just as addictive as catching Pokemon. The Global Terminal has been slightly expanded to better facilitate trades over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which enables you to trade without meeting other players. You can search for a Pokemon you want or post your own offer and wait for someone to respond. The problem is, although this is of no fault of the game's, people's trades can be a little unreasonable; like asking for a level 100 Mew for an Eevee.

Pokemon may follow a similar formula in every generation, but is that truly a bad thing? Each generation does a wonderful job expanding on an already solid formula and makes it even better thanks to its tweaks and additions. Pokemon Platinum is no exception. The numerous tweaks in the battle system and overall gameplay are just enough to keep this long running series feel fresh. This is one Pokemon adventure worth taking for old and new fans alike.