Review by Geno
"Simply a Diamond/Pearl 'Expansion'"
After spoiling myself on all the videos on Youtube, I was psyched to see my trained Pokemon on a television screen, battling again. 'It would be just like Stadium and Stadium 2,' I thought to myself. To be honest, that's exactly what we got. Well, minus a few things, and plus a few things, but it's Stadium none the less.
The graphics are great, and definetely make use of the Wii's capabilities. I was surprised at just how great everything looked, and I can imagine they'd look all that much nicer in high-def (I lack the cable for it). But it's not just the Pokemon and the 'colloseums'. It's the little things that make this game really shine. The effects of some attacks and abilities are excellent. Fire bends the way things look. Water streams down the screen when it's raining on the battlefield. You'll even notice the nifty effect Trick Room creates around the battlefield when someone (either you or your opponent) uses it.
On that note, there's not much to complain about graphically. It's definetely an improvement over the Gamecube games, and there's such great attention to detail. Admittedly, some of the Pokemon look sub-par graphically, but no-one's perfect.
The single-player mode is a gruesome trial and, when unlocking the colloseums, are a test of not just your patience, but also your knowledge of Pokemon. Most people complain constantly about some of the challenges being too hard or too easy, but I like a good challenge. After unlocking the colloseums and beating them the first time, you can play other rounds in that very same colloseum. Each round is harder than the last, and the difficulty ramps up considerably.
If you have decent Pokemon, you can get through the first few rounds of each challenge just fine. When rental Pokemon come into play is when things tend to get the most challenging/frustrating. However, most of the people that play the game will have Diamond and/or Pearl, and will have access to Legendary Pokemon that have superior stats. In these cases, the challenges will be easy until the computer fights back with their own Legendaries, much later into the single-player campaign.
So while PBR lacks the mini-games and the little quirks of its predecessors (Stadium and Stadium 2), it makes up for it with the long-awaited Wi-Fi feature, a feature that they attempted to sell off to us for Diamond/Pearl and only got a lifeless shell for Wi-Fi features. PBR delivers what we've been waiting so long for: random battles against opponents all over the world. Or, well, where PBR has been released, anyway.
This means you'll be either fighting against friends by inputing a friend code (an easy procedure), or fighting against random opponents. Be warned, as that there're few, if any, restrictions over Wi-Fi for Pokemon, so expect to find yourself fighting Pokemon that're just plain cheap from time to time.
Besides that, the gameplay is severely diminished if you lack a Nintendo DS and a copy of either Diamond or Pearl. You're stuck to rental Pokemon who, though are atleast much better thought out than the rental Pokemon in Stadiums 1 and 2, still are sub-par and can't be used outside of single player (you can use them online, if you want) for the lack of ferocity found in Pokemon that you hand-raised yourself in Diamond/Pearl.
Copying over your Pokemon can be a little confusing at first, but it's much like riding a bike. A bike that's magical. Once you figure out how to copy Pokemon from Diamond/Pearl into PBR, a task that's not difficult and doesn't take long to do, you're all set. The game sorts them out by who you have in your party, and what you have in your boxes. So if you've got a Chimchar over the Global Trading System and have him collecting dust in Box 3, you can slap that Chimchar right into a 'Battle Pass' and use him in single-player.
When all is said and done, PBR is a very straight forward game, but the gameplay takes a huge hit if you don't have Diamond or Pearl.
The music in the game can, at times, get on your nerves. However, some of the music really fits into the Pokemon theme and some of them are extremely catchy. My personal favorite happens to be the Lagoon Colloseum's music (so if you fight me on Wi-Fi, expect Lagoon Colloseum to be the arena of choice).
Also, I've heard mixed opinions on the announcer. Frankly, I don't mind the announcer, who you might recognize as the narrator from the Pokemon anime. Some of the messages tend to get repetitive, but you can always hit the mute button. Or better still, turn the announcer off in the options.
The music and sounds in the game are simply so-so. They've got the right sounds in the right places, the music is decent and, at times, can be downright catchy.
At the end of the day, Pokemon Battle Revolution is like the Pokemon Stadium games, but with the option to play online against a living opponent even without friend codes. The possibilities are endless.
Rent or Buy?:
If you don't have Diamond or Pearl, don't get the game at all. It's not even worth renting. If you have the fourty/fifty dollars to plunk down on the game, it's guaranteed to help you fill out any free time you have until Brawl arrives and you forget this game ever existed.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 07/02/07
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