They expect us to think this is a stand-alone game?
Most people knew that Pokemon Battle Revolution wasn't bringing a heck of a lot to the table. It's a simple game that allows for Pokemon from Diamond and Pearl to be battled in a variety of single player tournaments as well as battle others online (making it the first online Wii game in North America). It also carries the full price tag of a standard first party Wii game. Therefore, those simple features better be excellent to warrant a purchase.
The best aspect is probably the graphics. While many of the Pokemon models and animations are obviously borrowed directly from Pokemon Colosseum and XD, the new rendering engine is stunning. There is a good amount of anti-aliasing, keeping jaggies to an absolute minimum. This is combined with a cool depth focus that transitions very smoothly over distances, allowing for a bit of realism to sneak into the great cartoon art style of the game. Special effects on attacks and weather effects are also top notch. Overall, this is the first completed Wii game I've played that I don't think would be possible on a GameCube, and it's refreshing to see an art style like this pulled off so well without using cel-shading.
So, when you're done enjoying the great visuals, it's time to start actually playing the game. When you set up your account, you can dive right into the first tournament. There you choose a Battle Pass that has a set of rental Pokemon associated with it. If you are successful at that tournament, you get to keep that rental Battle Pass for future use. Throughout the game you can compete in the initial tournament multiple times in order to earn more and more rental Battle Passes. If you don't own the DS games, this is your primary way of obtaining new Pokemon for you to battle with. For some reason, these passes are entire teams, not individual Pokemon, so don't expect to create your own customizable teams if you don't have the DS games. If you do have one of the DS games, you can copy over every Pokemon and then create your own Battle Pass with your own trainer associated with it. This is where the fundamental value (if you can call it that) of the game comes into play. You can save several different teams and associate a different trainer with each one.
Any of these Battle Passes (custom or rental) can be used in single player tournaments or online over Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection. The single player tournaments feature a variety of rules, but most of them center around choosing 3-5 of your Pokemon before each match and defeating the opponent. Any one tournament can last upwards of an hour and a half. Thankfully, you can save and quit between rounds, but losing towards the end can be extremely frustrating, given the fact that you basically have to throw out an hour of play time. These forced replays only add to the already repetitive process of simply battling other trainers. Because none of your Pokemon gain experience, level up, evolve, or learn new moves throughout this entire process, the one benefit of winning tournaments (besides the overly dramatic credits) is earning points that can be exchanged for a variety of things in the shop. These things are divided into two categories; Mystery Gifts and Gear. Mystery gifts are items that can be used in the DS games (mostly technical machines and Pokemon hold items) that are transferred using the Mystery Gift feature from the handheld games. Gear is all of the accessories that can be used to customize your trainer in the game. This is a feature for which fans of the series have been clamoring for a long time, but the delivery is far from flawless. Firstly, very few options are available in the beginning, and new ones are unlocked very slowly. Also, there is no way to see what the accessories look like before spending your hard earned points on them. All you get is a vague text description. Overall, the amount of effort it takes to make your character look significantly different from the basic starter version is just too much. By the time you have unlocked all of the cool accessories, you have done almost everything there is to do in the game.
Playing online is great, but the lack of any communication options (like the voice chat in Diamond and Pearl) makes it quite impersonal. You can jump right in against a random foe somewhere in the world, which is nice, but only highlights how ridiculous it is that the feature wasn't included in Diamond and Pearl. After battling someone online, you can exchange Battle Passes with them. These passes can be used in the quick battle mode, as well as to check the statistics of that player. If you totally got your butt kicked, you can check the pass to see how good that person was. Was it his first victory? That must mean you really stink. Has he won his last 50 battles? Now you know you can sleep at night.
The last interesting part of Battle Revolution is that of using the DS as a controller. Too bad it's just a tacked on feature. It's so bad that when you start the game up, you literally pick between two options: play the main game, or battle someone using the DS as a controller. This DS mode is literally identical to what happens when two people with the DS games normally battle each other. The only difference is that instead of watching the action on the top screen of the DS, you watch it in 3D on the television. It's clever the first time, but the process of turning your Wii on and putting the game in makes you wonder why you don't just use the DS units by themselves. As pretty as the graphics are, they don't affect the gameplay in any way.
This game is definitely not for everyone. In fact, it isn't even for all hardcore Pokemon fans. In most cases, those fans can be put into one of two categories. Some live for collecting and training the monsters. They want to level them up and watch them evolve. Battle Revolution is not for them. Pokemon won't gain a single experience point for their efforts in the game. The other type of player does whatever it takes to power level the monsters up to level 100 so they can start shuffling their team around and choosing move sets. Those are the kind of people that will find something here. The random online play will act as a great proving ground for all of those team ideas. Pokemon Battle Revolution would have been perfect as a $10-20 WiiWare game. $50 at retail just doesn't make any sense.