If you're a long-time Pokémon fan, this review will be nothing new to you at all, and won't come as a surprise to you in the slightest. You see, you'll know we've been down this route before. For every generation of the Pokémon series there have always been two games released, then a sort of extended special edition released a bit further down the line to keep fans busy as they wait for the next generation (or, if you're the cynical sort, to milk them for more of their cash).
And so, once again, Pokémon is back in another re-jigged version. Basically, if Diamond and Pearl can be considered in the series as Pokémon 4, then Platinum is Pokémon 4.5. It's effectively exactly the same game but with some extra features added on to make it more interesting.
More From Your 'Mon
So what exactly is new here? Well, for starters there have been a few changes added to the storyline. There's a new subplot involving Mt Coronet and Giratina, including a brand new area called the "Distortion World" (more about that later though). There are a few new characters who pop up every now and then, and the storyline with Team Galactic has been fleshed out a bit.
It's not enough to completely change the game, it's just some extra stuff to add a bit more oomph to the storyline and to make things a little bit more interesting for anyone who's already put countless hours into playing the original Diamond and Pearl. It's rather like those 'extreme version' DVDs you get of teen comedy movies in HMV, only here you're finding out more about Cyrus instead of getting 12 extra seconds' worth of naughty women's bits.
Other than the extra subplots, the main adventure itself is pretty much unchanged. The order of the gyms has been messed around a bit to make things interesting but other than that there's not much to do here that you didn't do if you played Diamond and Pearl, at least not until you get near the end. It's just before you reach the last gym that you come across the main new storyline involving Mt Coronet.
There's something funny going on at the summit of the mountain which has made Sinnoh noticeably colder as a result. What is it? We're not telling you, but it does lead to one of the most notable additions to Platinum - the Distortion World.
A Whole New World
This new area is certainly visually impressive. It's full of weird physics-bending shenanigans like walking on walls, surfing up waterfalls and it makes for a pleasantly different Pokémon experience. Playing it can be a bit awkward at first because although the game's graphics have technically been 3D since Diamond and Pearl the gameplay has still been 2D at heart, and as a result this fully 3D stage can be a bit fiddly to navigate. Still, just the simple fact that it's something vastly different to what we're used to in a Pokémon game makes it a nice addition nonetheless and it feels like there has been some effort put into this release after all, because, to be honest, up until that point you might have doubted it.
Thankfully the additions continue after you complete the main adventure and realise there's more to do. For starters there's the Battle Zone - a big island off Sinnoh where the Battle Frontier can be found. The Battle Frontier replaces the Battle Park from Diamond and Pearl, and contains five different facilities (the Battle Tower from Diamond and Pearl and four others).
As in the Battle Frontier in Pokémon Emerald, you have to visit a number of different facilities and defeat the Frontier Brains who rule each one. Each facility has its own unique set of battle rules which make battling a real challenge. For example, one of them makes each trainer spin a roulette wheel before each battle, which randomly changes your Pokémon's status.