Pokémon Battle Revolution Hands-On

Pokémon. Online battles. Get ready to rumble.

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Pokemon Battle Revolution
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One of the marquee titles at Nintendo's Summer Preview Event was Pokémon Battle Revolution, the anticipated Wii game that lets fans of the long-running series throw down with friends locally or online. The work-in-progress game on display at the event let those in attendance rumble with the menageries they've gathered in the recently released Diamond and Pearl editions of Pokémon for the Nintendo DS. We took a quick run through the game to see if there have been any changes to the import version, which hit Japan last year.

The game is set on the island of Pokétopia and casts you as a trainer out to conquer 10 colosseums on the island. Your goal, of course, is to take over all of the colosseums, but the meat of the game lies in its multiplayer modes, which let you take on friends via your DS or the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The big hook to the title is the ability to use your DS to control the action, upload your personal array of Pokémon to use in the fray, and take on any comers via the Internet. Perks such as the ability to customize your trainer and create a "battle pass," which transfers your favorite Pokémon to your Wii Remote for battling at a friend's house, are neat little touches for those not rolling with a DS. The different variations of battle types and the option to use your DS in a fight are cool and should appeal to Pokémaniacs. Combat is still the turn-based rock-paper-scissors action that's served the long-lived series well.

The game looks identical to the import version and offers clean, polygonal graphics that bring the various Pokémon to life. The action stays focused around the battlefield and keeps the visuals simple and uncluttered. The game uses an art style in the same vein as the GameCube's Pokémon Colosseum title, but it offers cleaner-looking critters and some more special effects. The audio is spare, focusing mainly on the battle theme and the cries of the combatants.

Based on what we saw and played, Pokémon Battle Revolution should hit the spot for fans looking to test their skills on a broader playing field. The ability to challenge friends online is cool, as it's a feature fans have been hoping for. However, the game's faithful adherence to the Pokémon formula (though it's a successful one) may also make it a tough sell to longtime fans hungering for something more original.

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