Reviews: Pokemon Diamondand Pearl

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Pokémon Platinum (Generation 4) (DS)
Gen 3 and 4 are the most polarizing of the series. Gen 1 and 2 are loved by people who grew up with Pokemon everywhere, while Gen 5 is hailed for being a revolution for the series (which it definitely wasn't) and bringing back many fans who heard something or the other like that. Call me a hipster, but Gen 3 and 4 are my favourites, with Gen 1, 5 and 2 behind in that order.

First off, I'm mainly reviewing Platinum because its the definitive version, as it fixed everything wrong with Diamond/Pearl. Few Fire-types? Fixed. 151 pre-Elite 4, regional 'mons not enough for you? Bam, now there are 210. Pokémon/trainers encounter animation too slow? Now faster.

Sinnoh was a great region, second only to Hoenn in diversity. The atmosphere was awesome and it gave me the biggest 'feeling of adventure' of the Pokémon games. It had some really cool ideas, like a city focused on solar energy and a huge mountain range dividing the region, and three lakes of legend. The Sinnoh mythology was intricate and it was great how each legendary played a role in it.

The huge change this generation was the Physical/Special split. Moves are no longer categorized Phy/Spe wise depending on type, but rather on their nature. This means I can actually use Gyarados as a Water-type with moves like Waterfall being physical, as opposed to all Water moves being Special and Gyarados being limited by that due to low Sp. Atk. I can't stress how great this feature is.

Kanto and Johto have memorable 8-bit sound (FR/LG had a great soundfont but HG/SS was okay) and Hoenn has catchy and epic trumpet music limited slightly only by GBA sound quality. But Sinnoh has that sexy piano. The music is diverse as it ranges from adventurous (Route 205) to soothing (Route 209) and even jazzy (228)! Day/Night music is great and they sound distinctly different, unlike Black/White where the seasonal change in music is limited to things like simply adding some Christmas chimes in Winter, etc.

The difficulty, battle-wise, is higher than previous games (see entry on Sequel Difficulty Spike for details) and this is fantastic! More and more trainers/gym leaders/Elite 4 members had a diverse party and gave moves to their Pokemon which countered their weaknesses. It honestly made the game much more fun, as (lack of) difficulty was one of the reasons that spoiled Johto games for me.

Questions are welcome.

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Pokemon Platinum
This review only concerns the core game. Multiplayer, contests, postgame, and catching 'em all do not apply here.

Pokemon Chinese Emerald is the first Pokemon game I play. Pokemon Leaf Green is the first Pokemon game I put more than 3 hours into. Pokemon Diamond is the first Pokemon game I finish. I am reviewing the "canon" rerelease.

First off, PHYSICAL/SPECIAL SPLIT. Why does it take so long to implement this? This is the reason my opinion on pre-DS games is lowered (still like them, before any of you complain). Now physical Dark type can finally sweep Psychic with crunch, physical Psychic type and use psycho cut, and special Fighting type can use aura sphere. That being said, the movepool is not properly updated to accommodate this change. For exampe, the ice/thunder/fire fangs have such low power that is a waste on Luxray's superb physical attack. Also, Flareon still sucks.

People say this gen is one of the hardest. I myself have no trouble blowing through the main game until the Pokemon League, which is a huge difficulty spike. For some reason the E4 and Cynthia outlevels me by 10-15 on my fist try. This may be because I have to raise 4 Pokemon from scratch (Infernape, Luxray, Togekiss, and Lucario), but is is still absurd.It's almost like Cyrus is the final boss and the League is a brutal bonus level. Thankfully Gen V fixed this.

Team Galactic is a bunch of deceptively petty criminals with a love of zeerust. Their leader, Cyrus, is certainly smarter than Maxie and Archie and he dreams big, as in universe-sized big; it's awesome. However, his freudian excuse should be better incorporated into the story instead of a throwaway line from a nameless NPC.

The climax involves a double battle with you and your rival against Galactic Admins followed by a trip to hell followed by Big Bad followed by version's mascot. I like it a lot, but it is flawed. Looker stays out of the fight (what kind of police does not have Pokemon to fight with?) A fight alongside Cynthia would be much appreciated. Distortion World puzzle is tedious at times, and Cyrus just goes his way after his defeat, blalantly anticlimatic and sequel hooking.

Conclusion. I am no genforer, but I still like this region and its mythology a lot. Fingers crossing for Sinnoh confirmed.

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Pokemon Platinum
This review only concerns the core game. Multiplayer, contests, postgame, and catching 'em all do not apply here.

Pokemon Chinese Emerald is the first Pokemon game I play. Pokemon Leaf Green is the first Pokemon game I put more than 3 hours into. Pokemon Diamond is the first Pokemon game I finish. I am reviewing the "canon" rerelease.

First off, PHYSICAL/SPECIAL SPLIT. Why does it take so long to implement this? This is the reason my opinion on pre-DS games is lowered (still like them, before any of you complain). Now physical Dark type can finally sweep Psychic with crunch, physical Psychic type can use psycho cut, and special Fighting type can use aura sphere. That being said, the movepool is not properly updated to accommodate this change. For exampe, the ice/thunder/fire fangs have such low power that is a waste on Luxray's superb physical attack. Also, Flareon still sucks.

People say this gen is one of the hardest. I myself have no trouble blowing through the main game until the Pokemon League, which is a huge difficulty spike. For some reason the E4 and Cynthia outlevels me by 10-15 on my fist try. This may be because I train all 6 of my Pokemon from low level, but is is still absurd.It's almost like Cyrus is the final boss and the League is a brutal bonus level. Thankfully Gen V fixed this. On a side note, I love how the starters can counter each other.

Team Galactic is a bunch of deceptively petty criminals with a love of zeerust. Their leader, Cyrus, is certainly smarter than Maxie and Archie and he dreams literally big. However, his freudian excuse should be better incorporated into the story instead of a throwaway line from a nameless NPC.

The climax involves a double battle with you and your rival against Galactic Admins followed by a trip to hell followed by Big Bad followed by version's mascot. I like it a lot, but it is flawed. Looker stays out of the fight (what kind of police does not have Pokemon to fight with?) A fight alongside Cynthia would be much appreciated. Distortion World puzzle is tedious at times, and Cyrus just goes his way after his defeat, blalantly anticlimatic and sequel hooking.

Conclusion. I am no genforer, but I still like this region and its mythology a lot, and the Poketch is one of the most useful touchscreen mechanics in the franchise. Fingers crossing for Sinnoh confirmed.

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Generation IV review
Gen IV, disregarding remakes, includes Diamond and Pearl, and later Platinum.

Setting: The Sinnoh region, split in half by the Mt. Coronet range, had a creation myth theme (hence the large number of legendaries).

Story: Team Galactic mostly functions like Team Rocket, but it turns out that the leader is an emotionless Straw Nihilist who wants to destroy and recreate the universe with himself as god, removing all emotions as he believes them to be the source of all conflict. It actually gets kind of dark.

Pokemon: Gen IV had 107 new Pokémon. The large number of legendaries came off as cheap to some, but the biggest controversy regarding Gen IV is the large number of evolutions of older Mons. Many complained about how they were "unneccesary" and "ruined the original Mon's design", particularly those for Gen I Mons. Quite frankly, the majority of such complaints just show a blatant nostalgia bias, with genwunners refusing to admit that the likes of Tangela were neither good in battle nor memorable. The evos redeemed several forgettable Mons, particularly those for Gen II like Mamoswine and Yanmega. The only real issue is that brand new Gen IV Mons are generally outclassed by these evos. Only a select few, like the starters, legendaries, and Garchomp really stood out.

Verdict: While Gen III is probably the most neglected Gen, Gen IV is the one that gets the most hate, primarily because the Dex had "unneccesary" evos and too many legendaries to take the concept quite as seriously. Gen IV was actually quite enjoyable, though I insist that you get Platinum. DP had a poor frame rate because Game Freak had little experience with the DS, a smaller regional dex that cuts out most of the new evos, and simply has less features than Platinum. One thing that hurts Gen IV as a whole, however, was lack of innovation. While competitive battling greatly evolved in this Gen, regular gameplay saw few new additions other than the Physical/Special split (which greatly expanded most Mons' movepools now that their use of Atk. or Sp. Atk aren't restricted by attack type).

8/10

Don't miss my Gen V review!

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