Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Thought to Chew: Why Platinum Fails as a Sequel, Let Alone a Game

Last week I complained a ton about how much I hated Pokemon Pearl and Diamond, but if there's one Pokemon game I hate more than them, it's definitely Platinum.
Usually, Pokemon sequels do an excellent job. Pokemon Emerald is often heralded as the definitive Pokemon game, whereas Pokemon Black 2/White 2 are games I've sunk months into and stand out as my personal favorites. Platinum, however, is to me a complete mess, and while I could leave it at that, I might as well try to explain why I loathe it so.
For one thing, the game is almost completely identical to its predecessors. Like, seriously. Compare the amount of work Platinum did to that of B2W2: the latter redid the entire Pokedex, added a ton of new places (including Join Avenue and Hidden Grottoes), changed the plot, and tampered with the order in which the game is completed whereas the former is literally the exact same game save the most pointless of additions-I mean, it's not a good game if the first noticeable difference is that the starting town now has snow in the corner. It's not even lazy design- it defies the basic definition of lazy and transcends into the unfathomable.

The game itself is less a new game than a slight retelling. Like passed-down oral stories, the difference in the plot is almost minuscule- heck, I just replayed it and was baffled by how uninspired it felt. Look, it's better than the original two in that it's faster, the graphics are slightly cleaner, and so on, but the difference is so freaking unnoticeable that the improvements mean nothing.
I could excuse the addition of snow if it meant any drastic difference was ahead, but instead there's complete disappointment in knowing that this is the extent of their changes.
The few additions I appreciated should've been more of a cherry on top instead of the body of the changes. For instance, the addition of an undercover cop named Looker was nice if not because he injected a bit more personality and tightened Team Galactic's storyline. The gym design changes also helped to make the game more enjoyable- while the original had a gym that was literally a prolonged hide-and-seek, now it's a giant clock. Hey, points for originality. I also found the multilingual Pokedex- where getting Pokemon traded from another language-speaking country would produce the entry in its ow language- was a cute touch, despite being rendered useless with the removal of DS Wi-Fi recently. But that's about it.

The greatest misfortune was the complete waste of the Distortion World- in the trailers, it looked incredible, like the epic build-up to the fight with Giratina, but it was, in fact, a pretty-looking but unmemorable experience. Sure, walking isometrically was a cool touch, perhaps foreshadowing the different viewing angles in Gen V, but the whole thing felt like a tedious chore- the bulk of it was a lame boulder puzzle where you literally have to go around the map three times, all to ominous music. It fits the place nicely, but the juxtaposition of dramatic music and an anticlimactic exercise made it almost humorous, though tragically it was not.
Plus, that was one long and unnecessary waterfall. It aimed to be a build-up, but it would've been more effective if it was ten seconds shorter Instead, it's like the world's most unimpressive water-slide.
It's not even a case of them not knowing how the handle Generation IV, because the games that followed, HeartGold and SoulSilver, were so amazing. It's just an unabashed mess on a massive scale that took their opportunity to improve the original games and completely wasted it.
Oh well. The series has been relatively strong since, so hopefully Pokemon S&M will follow. If only they chose a better name...

For the last A Thought to Chew on Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, CLICK HERE.
For the last Interview with a Twitter spambot, CLICK HERE.

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