GDC 07: Pokemon Battle Revolution Hands-On

The DS and Wii join together for the first time in Pokemon Battle Revolution.

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In addition to Mario and Link, another of Nintendo's big guns is making an appearance at the 2007 Game Developers Conference, in the form of Pokémon Battle Revolution for the Wii. The game is already out in Japan, but it won't hit North America until June 25. That's still a bit of a ways away, so we spent some time with the Japanese version of the game to find out just what to expect this summer.

Pokémon Battle Revolution is similar to Pokémon Colosseum for the GameCube. It lets you lead Pokémon into battle in glorious 3D with fully animated attacks. The characters are all huge, detailed, and very colorful, as are the trainers and the arena. Battle Revolution is the first online-enabled Wii game, so you'll be able to battle online, even against people with the Japanese version of the game. You can play using the Wii Remote, but you'll get the most out of the game if you use your Nintendo DS to control the action wirelessly, which can be done if you've got a copy of Pokémon Diamond or Pearl. What's more, you can send the Pokémon you've raised in the DS version to the Wii and use them in battles.

All this may sound a little confusing, but Nintendo has done a nice job of making it easy to control your Wii game with the DS. The interface was still in Japanese, but we didn't have any trouble at all using the touch screen to control the turn-based action. With just a few quick taps, you can pick your Pokémon, attack type, and target. After you and your opponent have given your orders, the Pokémon start fighting. Their attacks really come to life when you see them in 3D. We saw a flaming unicorn shoot fire from its mouth; Empoleon, a penguin, rode a large wave that did damage to two characters at once; and there were all sorts of colorful casting attacks. As you'd expect, when a Pokémon loses all of its health, it faints, and it's back to the pokéball for it.

Despite the name, Pokémon Battle Revolution doesn't feel all that revolutionary, but it does have the distinction of being the first Wii game that connects with the DS and is playable online. It might not convert any nonbelievers, but it looks as if there's enough new content here that Pokémon fans will eat it up.

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