Pokemon Platinum: Do you gotta catch 'em all?

Anyone who knows me knows my son and I are Pokemon junkies. We are firm believers of Pokemon's catch phrase, "Gotta Catch 'Em All." We watch the movies and the cartoon show. We play the Pokemon card game and miniature game. My son has collectible Pokemon toys everywhere and Pokemon key chains hanging from his book bag. We play the Wii games, and play way too much of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl for the Nintendo DS. I've written pen and paper RPG games using Pokemon as the basis (yeah, I'm that kind of geek). We're addicts, plain and simple.

Now, you can imagine my son's excitement when he heard about the release of Pokemon Platinum for the Nintendo DS. When he told me about it I responded, "What's the other one called?" "There is no other one, Daddy, just Platinum." I scratched my head and decided to do some research. Throughout the history of the Pokemon franchise, the games have always come out in a set of two (green/red, ruby/sapphire, diamond/pearl). They have been released this way because on each of the games there's a slight difference in what Pokemon you can find in the wild, forcing the multiplayer aspect of trading. So I did the research. With the release of each of the "series" there's usually a third game that comes out (red/green had yellow, ruby/sapphire had emerald) which changes a few of the details of the main games in the series. Pokemon Platinum is a third game in the Diamond/Pearl series and as I said, there are a few differences contained within.

Pokemon Platinum: (Nintendo DS) Release Date March 22, 2009
www.pokemonplatinum.com | Rated E for everyone

Okay, so I'm sure if your younglings play Pokemon on the DS, they've asked you for Pokemon Platinum. I'm here to help you understand a few things about it. First, Platinum is pretty much the same story and same Pokemon in a new game. If your kids aren't hardcore Pokemon players, they probably won't need Platinum. Many of the game's features are the same and you'll get most of the same experience by sticking to Diamond/Pearl.

Now, for the hardcore players! Yes, Pokemon Platinum shares the same main storyline as Diamond/Pearl, but it also includes a new side story which takes players to the new Distortion World. The new world focuses mainly on Giratina, one of the extra Pokemon found in Diamond/Pearl. Players will take on a whole new adventure in the Distortion World and discover how it ties in with Palkia and Dialga from the original games.

Platinum focuses on special Pokemon that you can obtain from special Nintendo events. Sometimes they're held at Toys R Us, sometimes EB Games, but you can find the info at www.Nintendo.com. With the special Pokemon, you'll be able to unlock special forms for each of them using new items inside the game.

The last feature I'm excited about is the new Wi-Fi system. In Diamond/Pearl, the Wi-Fi plaza was mostly just a place you went to trade Pokemon across the GTS. Just one room, nothing going on, click and choose what to trade for. With the new Wi-Fi plaza, players can interact with other players around the world and even play mini games with each other. Trading is still included in the Wi-Fi plaza, but the focus is the multiplayer aspect, one of Pokemon's greatest assets.

As I said before, Platinum is pretty much the same game as before but for the hardcore, the changes are amazing. If you're kids are happy enough with Diamond/Pearl, I would suggest passing on Platinum.

Finally, if you've read my column before or even read my article in this March's Columbus Parent Magazine, you know my love for Rock Band. What you might not know is my love for the Beatles. I'm sure you've guessed what I'm getting at here. Beatles Rock Band 9/9/09, woot! www.beatlesrockband.com