Pokémon Platinum journal - entry three

If I had to associate a Pokémon name with this most recent leg of Pokémon Platinum, It would be Serperior (*ba-dum-tiss*, bad Pokémon pun).

Really though, the game seems to have pulled itself out of the slump of uninteresting wild battles and bland environment designs. Sea routes filled with swimming trainers, ancient remnants of Sinnoh’s past, and misty mountain bridges make for far more interesting and eye catching areas – the latter introduces the fog environment factor which, while admittedly an interesting concept, diminishes both player and opponent Pokémon accuracy so significantly that it’s largely a stare down, with only every third or fourth attack landing on its target. Even option side areas like the Old Chateau and Fuego Ironworks make for brief but well-crafted distractions.

Wild encounters have now broadened to accommodate Floatzels, Bronzors, Shellos and more. While Platinum still seems to push Pokémon from previous generations more than I think is healthy for its success as a product, I am very glad to see newer Pokémon becoming more frequent and overshadowing Geodudes and Machops (with any luck, hopefully those generation I Pokémon will disappear from wild encounters completely as I make my way toward Canalave City). The layouts of both Maylene and Crasher Wake’s gyms were the best yet, while the trainers within used a nice variety of Pokémon (even if some of those Pokémon used movesets that loosely fell into the category they were intended to match).

The Sinnoh region is notably smaller than Johto or Unova, and it tries to mask this (to mixed results) by having players loop around its various regions in odd patterns. While Johto was more or less a straight progression from one gym to another (the only major exception being the backtracking to sort out Team Rocket’s takeover of Goldenrod City’s radio station), Platinum utilizes a Metroid-esque routine of allowing players access to sub-areas of locales previously visited once they have acquired the necessary HMs or badges. While most of these sub-areas (the likes of which include the aforementioned Old Chateau and Fuego Ironworks), the process of visiting, revisiting, and revisiting areas yet again can result in finding yourself lost and confused, depending on how far you’ve traveled from where the game intends for you to head next.

I’ve actually decided to go ahead and catch as many generation IV Pokémon as I can while I’m travelling around Sinnoh, as well as the odd generation I, II, and III Pokémon I have otherwise been barred access to. I never really set out to catch them all when I sought to revisit the franchise via Soul Silver and White, but seeing as how I have more than 460 Pokémon recorded on my national Pokédex in Black 2, It wouldn’t actually require that much extra effort to complete what I can. I do recognize, however, that Arceus is more or less out of the question unless I can gain him through a trade or Nintendo performs some other distribution event in the future.

I really love the personalities of the characters in Platinum. While the rival character is a little too ecstatic and hyper for my liking, at least he isn’t a snobby brat. Meanwhile, Cynthia and the gym leaders share an interesting dynamic with nicely varied attitudes and physical appearances that add quite a spark of inspiration to the otherwise typical trainer character models. From the standpoint of Platinum’s graphics, sound design, and overall artistic presentation, the game is a real winner for me. It’s unfortunate that the game mechanics don’t all stack up equally, but the game is definitely now on a consistent upward climb. Aside from tackling this upcoming Steel gym, my next most important goal is catching my final team member Snorunt and evolving it into Froslass.

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