Right, so. The game got here on Tuesday and I've been playing it since then, so this first update could get a little lengthy. I think I might have to break it up into several posts, actually, so if I do then expect the second one tomorrow. I'm still working out some kind of play/update schedule, so bear with me on this. There's also the fact that I've never done anything like this before. I'm trying to make this at least sort of amusing, but if I am failing miserably at this and you are bored to tears then poke me and I will make an effort to be more entertaining. The same applies to any time you think I've been unclear about something.

While these posts will vary in length they will all probably be quite wordy, so to save space on the friends pages of anyone who watches this (hahaha yeah right) I'll put the main body of the update in an LJ cut. I know the sticky post says there will be spoilers, but I'll try to find some way to hide anything major (puzzle solutions, for example). I'll also be glossing over a lot of the stuff that hasn't changed since Diamond and Pearl because, well, presumably you already know about all of that.

So, uh, read, comment, make suggestions and enjoy! I hope.


After what seemed like a frustratingly long delay given how fast, like, everyone else on the entire internet got theirs (no, I'm not talking about the ROMs), my copy of Pokémon Platinum arrived on Tuesday the 23rd. I had a few other, more important things to attend to and tried to tell myself to wait and finish that stuff before getting started.

Given the fact that I went ahead, stuffed it in the DS and have been playing constantly since maybe 8 pm that night, that should tell you something about my self-control. But who cares? It's Platinum. That makes it entirely acceptable.

The intro animation, as reported and seen in some of the prerelease videos, is a little snazzier than before. Actually hearing Giratina's cry when you press a button on the title screen is a nice touch (of course, for whatever reason it never occurred to me that you didn't hear Dialga's or Palkia's in DP... whoo Phoenix is slow). Anyway, Professor Rowan gives you the option to see an explanation of the controls, what I assume is an explanation of your goal in the game and then progressing on to the "here, this is a Pokémon!" demonstration, this time with a Buneary that bounces across the screen instead of a Munchlax. Once you get to the part where Rowan asks you your gender you can see the protagonists in their sparkly new winter duds (Dawn is just asking for frostbitten legs, ugh). I'm choosing the male protagonist this time, partially because I've been a girl the last few runs through DP and partially because, for no particular reason other than I've been playing entirely too much Phoenix Wright lately, I have come to associate the boy's scarf with Miles Edgeworth's cravat and it amuses me to no end. And because I am just a fount of originality, I'm going to call him—guess—Miles. In English characters, of course, as I'd like to be able to tell when people are talking about me behind my back.

Next we have our irritatingly overenthusiastic rival, and since I'm already on a PW kick with the names I'm going to name him Larry. Actually kind of fitting, really.

ight, so, Miles and Larry, Rowan blabbers about stuff, lalala the game is starting now okay great! The "Mystery of the Red Gyarados" special is no more (which is fine by me, because the first time I saw it I thought there was actually a red Gyarados in the game a la GSC and was quite upset to find out that this wasn't true). Instead the end of the program focuses on Rowan's lab in Sandgem Town. I guess it's some sort of report on his studies or something else that is a lot less interesting than the Red Gyarados That Isn't There. I believe this is also the first time we hear ingame music that's new to Platinum, although it's nothing special. (Cooler stuff comes later.) The scene changes to Miles in his room, and as soon as I take a step forward Larry comes crashing in and starts yelling at me. He wants to go look for the red Gyarados I mean presumably wants to go... do something related to what he saw on TV. Which is dumb, seeing as it was probably the type of boring show you see on the public broadcast stations, but then again this is Larry and he isn't too bright. Downstairs, Mom tells me that Larry's looking for me. (Obviously her precious little boy is too stupid to infer that from the way that, I dunno, the moron accosted me in my room.)

At this point I stopped to take a quick look at the trainer card. Nothing much has changed other than Miles's new sprite (which kind of reminds me of some of the older male protagonists' TC sprites from maybe RBY or GSC). Interestingly, this includes the order of the gym leader portraits on the cover of the badge case; Fantina is still listed as fifth even though in Platinum she's been bumped down to third in front of Maylene and Crasher Wake. Hm. The backpack's functionality doesn't appear to have changed, either, although the interface is a little more polished-looking with rounder, shinier buttons. Ooh, shiny. I also played with the options for a minute or two—looks like there are a few new text frames you can choose from. Minor stuff, really, but most of them look cool. There's this one bright red present-looking one that kind of scares me and I don't know why, but... anyway.

Most of the next part is the same as DP, so I won't comment on it other than to complain about the fact that I can't run yet. Seriously, whose brilliant idea was it to make you wait for the stupid running shoes? Miles must be a retard if he doesn't know how to run without his sparklyspecial Nikes or whatever, I mean really. I also wanted to point out the new "labels" that pop up whenever you enter a town, route, etc. They've been redone so they have these neat little silhouettes of towns, cityscapes, mountains, etc. as backgrounds now. It's kinda classy, I think. Oh, and Twinleaf does have all that snow people have been talking about... I don't see what the big deal is (ooh, snow, fascinating, if it isn't enough to paste someone upside the head with a snowball I don't care), although I do find it odd that there are still flowers growing right next to the white stuff. Silly lazy map editing staff.

Lalala, go to Larry's house, lalala okay we're on the road now. After some indecision about which way he wants to go Larry starts to drag me off to Sandgem, only to stop when Rowan himself comes up behind us from the direction of Lake Verity. He talks to us about... stuff, and then after a minute or two Dawn, complete with new theme music, shows up to give him his briefcase or something. (The music started a second before Dawn showed up, and for a brief moment I thought Cyrus was about to come swooping down on us. >>;) I guess Larry and I agreed to run some sort of errand for Rowan that involves needing a Pokémon, because at this point he lets us choose from the case. (Hey, look, we're not stealing anymore!) I went with Turtwig, again mostly because I'd already done Chimchar and Piplup recently. I also want room for all the snazzy new Fire-types they've put into the new Sinnoh Dex. The new sprites are kinda cool although I wish they'd changed Turtwig and Piplup's poses a little more noticeably (and Torterra's for that matter). Anyway, Larry obviously takes Chimchar, Rowan and Dawn wander off and then Larry freaks out and challenges me to a battle.

This is where we get our first glimpse of the animated trainer sprites. Larry's is a *flail*-

dance with a big (quite Larry Butz-like, actually) "^-^" plastered all over his face. And hey, Chimchar kind of almost does the same thing! What does this tell you?

I'd like to take a moment to point out to everyone, just in case they weren't already aware, that the animations in Platinum are the same two-frame-plus-shake-stretch-and-skew deal that they were in DP. I'm quite disappointed, really; I was hoping they'd go back up to the quality of the Crystal animations. Actually, I don't understand why all of the animations after Crystal (Emerald onward) are below Crystal quality when they even have more advanced hardware and graphics to work with... ugh. At the very least, though, the Pokémon I've seen thus far don't overdo the stretch and skew, so they aren't quite as freaky-deaky as DP's. Yet. The backsprite animations, for the record, can be kind of cute. My Turtwig says "RAWR" :3

Other than the new HP bars everyone already knew about the battle screen hasn't changed too much. The touch screen does change color and shade depending on where you are and what time of day it is, though, so that's a neat little easter egg.

Anyway, Chimchar did absolutely nothing other than spam Leer throughout the entire battle, so my Turtwig (who is female, by the way) beat the crap out of it easy. After my perfect victory Larry says some stuff and then I get warped back home to Mom, where I *finally* get the damn running shoes and then take a moment to check out my snazzy new level 6 Turtwig. According to the nature listing on Bulbapedia she's Quirky-natured (thank god they decided to include the Japanese characters for just about everything), which is okay. I can't tell what her characteristic is but I'm not too concerned with that. At this point I just head out to Route 201 to meet Larry again, and we go to Lake Verity a la DP. This time, though, instead of getting attacked by little gray birds we run into Cyrus. He monologues for a while (typical idiot villain) about stuff I can't read, shoves us out of the way and leaves, and shortly afterwards Mesprit's cry is heard. Larry runs off (presumably to go tell Rowan, although it'd be kind of funny if the noise scared him or something), leaving me alone by the lake. I decide to spend a little while leveling up, though there's nothing special there. (Shame that when Psypoke's location list said Houndour was there it was a slip-up. Would've been cool to be able to get Houndour this early.) That got boring after a while, so I set off for Sandgem since that seemed the logical thing to do.

Dawn meets you in Sandgem and takes you to see the professor, same as DP. When he allowed me to nickname my starter I decided to call her Ziska (short for Franziska... damn you, five-character limit), which isn't the best name for a Turtwig but hey, PW kick. I get my Pokédex, leave and Rowan stops me so he can give me TM27 (Return). Cool. So after I run back to Mom, get the annoying journalthing and have Dawn show me how to catch Pokémon (again, same as before), I go buy a few more Pokéballs and set off for real.

I catch a few Pokémon on my way to Jubilife—Starly, Shinx, Bidoof and Kricketot, not like there's anything else there—but I don't keep them with me, as I've used the first three on ingame teams recently and hahaha yeah, right, Kricketot. As a matter of fact I don't have much interest in anything you find too early on, so it'll be a while before Ziska gets any fairly stable teammates. I also battle the trainers on the way, and unfortunately regular, run-of-the-mill trainers don't get animations. I don't know if I was really expecting them to, but... yeah.

Dawn meets me again on reaching Jubilife and drags me into the middle of the street, where we see that police officer from the intro and the prerelease stuff hiding all sneaky-like behind a lamppost. Mr. Codename: Handsome glances around, slips out and talks to us, with his theme music playing all the while. Now, Handsome's music is actually pretty cool; it definitely sounds like a Pokémon rendition of some international spy intrigue thing. (Whooo... is that guyyyy... he's kind of high-strung but he's a SPYYYYY... sorry.) The point being that Dawn and Jumpy Handsome talk and he gets me to agree to something... as usual, I have no idea what. For all I know, these people are asking me for sexual favors. Handsome sounds like enough of a pedophile name to me. BUT ANYWAY I agree to whatever he's asking (and unless it's "report anyone who seems suspicious, kiddies!", in which case I wonder why Dawn made a big deal out of introducing him to me, I can't fathom what an undercover police officer would need a pair of ten year-olds to do for him), he gives me the new Battle Recorder item, says some other stuff and leaves. The Battle Recorder interface is pretty flashy, but as you need to battle over Wi-Fi or in the Battle Frontier to be able to record anything, we probably won't be seeing much of it in this blog. Sorry, folks. :/

Many of Jubilife's buildings have been completely redesigned, complete with flashing lights on the corners. There isn't much to do until you meet Larry in the Trainer School, though, so I head north (Handsome is waiting by the city's eastern exit... wonder why?) to go catch more Pokémon. While battling a Zubat in the cave north of the city (rrr Zubat) I saw an example of one of the revamped battle animations—the confusion animation, with birds fluttering around your Pokémon's head, now has little sparkles added to it as well. This is the only change I've noticed so far, and it is a minor one, but hopefully there will be some really cool animation revamps at some point. Anyway, caught the Zubat, and then I go on to catch a Budew, a Wurmple, a Magikarp (after getting the Old Rod from the fisherman west of the city) and a Psyduck I call Porky, the first new member of my team (at least for now).

Back at the school I give Larry his parcel and then battle the two trainers. They used to have one level 10 Abra each, if I'm not mistaken, and they could potentially mess you up with Hidden Power. Now the boy has a level 6 Starly and the girl has a level 6 Bidoof, making the fights substantially easier (and more boring). Instead of relying on Hidden Power the boy uses what I think is an X Attack and the girl heals her Bidoof with a potion, so I guess this is supposed to be some lesson on strategic use of items. Doesn't matter, of course, because Porky and Ziska beat them up anyway. The really lame part is that they don't give you TM10 when you win, either—they give you a potion instead. Damn.

Now that that's taken care of, I head back outside, speak to the president of the Pokétch Company and accept his little challenge. The three Pokétch promotion clowns, in case you were wondering, are in the exact same places as in D/P, and while I don't know whether the questions are the same or not the answer to each question is still "yes". The president gives me my Pokétch, which looks a little different and now, thank god, has up and down buttons instead of the original one. (Why that never occurred to the programmers before I will never understand...) The four apps that come with it are the same.

When I leave to go to Oreburgh, Handsome is gone; I thought he was waiting for me to go help him or whatever, but I guess he just takes the place of the fat guy that prevents you from skipping town until you get the Pokétch. (Have you ever noticed how it's almost always some random fat guy or little kid that blocks the exits?) The ensuing battle with Larry is the same, with the level 7 Starly and level 9 starter (Chimchar) and stupid flaildance. And, again, it is easy: Porky, after a prolonged Growl-Tail Whip war, OHKO's the Starly with a critical hit, and Ziska tackles the Chimchar to death while it uses nothing but Leer. (Such a genius, this Larry.) And I've gotten quite lucky with the criticals (and Ziska's Quick Claw, whether I need it to kick in or not) lately. Miles's Pokémon seem to have a strong affinity for hax. Can't wait until Ziska learns Razor Leaf, mwahaha.


This is already quite long and I think I'll stop here for now. At this rate the blog is going to be several days behind my actual progress in the game, but I'll try and catch up. Next time: Miles enters Oreburgh City, nearly trades away one of his team members because he is a forgetful idiot still can't read Japanese, battles Roark and is hopefully a lot more entertaining!

And, amazingly enough, I actually did manage to make some headway on that other so-called "important stuff" while playing at the same time. Hooray for multitasking?