Strategy Session – Pokemon Platinum, Part I

With the next entry in the venerable Pokemon series looming on the horizon, we thought it’d be a good idea to talk a bit about the changes that are coming to the game. Pokemon Platinum will introduce a number of new features, from revamped sprites, to new Move Tutors, to even a few new Pokemon. This multi-part series on the new additions of Pokemon Platinum will focus largely on advice for the player vs player aspect of the game, but we’ll also talk some about the various new features of the game. The best way to do that, I think, is to talk about individual Pokemon, and the best place to start would be with Pokemon Platinum‘s mascot – Giratina.

giratina-a.pngGiratina – Another Form
Dragon / Ghost
HP: 150 Atk: 100 Def: 120 Sp Atk: 100 Sp Def: 120 Spd: 90
Ability: Pressure: Moves used by opponents against this Pokemon use 2 PP instead of 1.

One of the more bizarre critters, Giratina’s unique typing makes it the only Pokemon weak to both of its own types, while its appearance makes it the only Pokemon that looks like the vengeful spirit of Freddy the Inchworm. One of the game’s premier defensive walls, Giratina is a great counter to some of the biggest threats in the game, able to absorb massive amounts of damage thanks to those wonderful defensive stats.

With some very solid resistances coupled to extremely high base stats – 120 in both Defense and Special Defense, and a truly massive HP of 150 – Giratina has no trouble at all taking just about anything the vast majority of high-order Legendaries can throw at it. On top of this, the ghost dragon’s movepool includes a variety of moves that can soften blows rather effectively. Will-o-Wisp in particular is a popular choice, as it makes life tough for tanks and offensive Pokemon alike. And with moves like Draco Meteor, Aura Sphere, and Earth Power, Giratina’s offensive ability isn’t bad, either.

Giratina does have a couple serious issues, though. Ghost/Dragon is a useful typing in a number of areas, letting Giratina switch into exceptionally dangerous Normal and Fighting-type attacks, but it also makes Giratina weak to some of the most common attacks used by the most powerful Pokemon, such as Outrage, Ice Beam, and a variety of Ghost and Dark attacks. Its huge defenses go a long way towards making up for this, but combined with its lack of a reliable one-turn recovery move, like Recover or Synthesis, Giratina can have trouble taking some attacks consistently.

In the end, the flexibility and truly amazing defenses of this Giratina form go a long way towards making up for any problems it encounters, but if you’re looking for a more offensive creepy crawlie, allow me to introduce you to your new best friend.

giratina-o.pngGiratina – Origin Form
Dragon / Ghost
HP: 150 Atk: 120 Def: 100 Sp Atk: 120 Sp Def: 100 Spd: 90
Ability: Levitate: This Pokemon is immune to Ground-type moves.

As you can see, Giratina’s new form is a much more offensive bent on this critter. Interestingly enough, though, Origin Form Giratina’s defenses don’t suffer as huge a drop as you might think. With its newfound immunity to Ground-type attacks and base 100 in both Defense and Special Defense, Origin Form can still take quite the beating.

What makes Origin Form so much more offensive is the new moveset options it gains. Thanks to the new Move Tutors available in Platinum, Giratina now has access to powerful attacks like Aqua Tail, Earth Power, Iron Head, and perhaps most importantly, Outrage. Outrage is a massively powerful attack, and Origin Form Giratina’s new offensive stats allow it to use this move to great effect. Aside from this, Giratina’s new offensive stats allow it to find new uses for old moves. In particular, Calm Mind switches from a useful defensive tool to a great way to set up for an offensive run.

The main problem with Giratina’s Origin Form is the restrictions the game places on all alternate forms. Alternate forms unique to Pokemon Platinum, such as those of Giratina, Shaymin, and Rotom, are only allowed over local wireless – players can’t use them over WiFi at all, in any context. No trading, no battling, nothing. And Origin Form Giratina has an additional restriction, as it requires the Platinum Orb item to be held in order to use the Origin Form. The practical upshot of all this is that, to many players for whom WiFi battling is the only available means of battling and trading with other players, Origin Form Giratina is almost a non-option. Which is a bit sad, given how unusual and potentially powerful Origin Form Giratina can be.

So there we have it, our first look at the new critters of Pokemon Platinum. Next time, we’ll be taking a look at the unexpected new forms of Rotom, and the unusual way in which the game handles the special moves each form learns. Who wants to hear about a possessed washing machine?

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