This year has been the year of Pokémon at Nintendo and we have gotten to celebrate with all sorts of Pokétastic gifts and giveaways so far! Pokkén Tournament is no exception to that list and quite honestly could very well be either the precursor to, or the action style Pokémon game fans have been asking for for all these years! Here’s the lowdown on everything you might wanna know for the upcoming game!
1.) It’s simple, yet surprisingly complex.
Normally with fighting games, the control scheme either falls into the realm of “Everything is too simple and all the characters are basically the same” to “I have to spend hours upon hours just to get decent enough to play against real people and actually even remotely understand any of these characters combat styles.” Pokken tournament has found the rare medium in between the two of being able to have a simple base system that allows all players to jump in and have fun equally but at the same time have enough complexities in it that experienced fighting game players won’t get overly bored with it and still have fun. Those experienced players may even get beaten by a new player every once in a while!
The combat system has your typical quick attack, heavy attack, throw, and block, but what makes the game manageable for newer players despite the intricacies of characters, is the ability to counter various attacks. This counter can literally turn a match around and send you into a combo spree that pulls you from the grasp of death (Or Gengar,) into Victini!… I mean Victory! But be aware, the counter ability isn’t just some answer to every single attack. There are a few things that bypass the counter and any throw attempt against the player using the counter will cause massive damage to the counter-spammer. The game also features a dual phase combat system that goes back and forth between an open arena style of battle and a side scrolling more traditional style for combat. These can be switched back and forth between via moves that you use. Beyond that simplicity of “This attack beats that type of attack” the game becomes incredibly intricate as far as the mechanics of how each Pokémon can succeed in battle. This is where the game truly starts to shine.
2.) Every Pokemon is unique in its fighting style
Even in the handheld Pokémon games each of the Pokémon start to feel the same as some of the others from time to time and things can become less about what specific Pokémon you are using and more about what kind of Pokémon you are using (Ex: Special sweeper, Physical Sweeper, Special Wall etc….) Pokken gets away from that monotony and gives each Pokémon its own unique combat style, as any decent fighting game very well should. I was astonished at how vastly different each Pokémon was in not only how they attacked but even in how they maneuvered around the battlefield. I found myself having to completely re think my battles every time I used a new Pokemon and having to alter everything about my strategies every time I changed Pokémon out. Now it may seem like a no brainer that each Pokémon would fight differently but the level of depth behind each Pokémon’s combat style is INCREDIBLY well thought out and fleshed out in their movesets and how they get from point A to point B and that movement is actually very vital to how well you can survive a fight in a pinch. Take Machamp for example. Machamp is literally a huge hulking mass of muscle and potentially can take down any one in the game with just 2 combos (that’s not a joke, I’ve done it. I even almost did it in one.) But the drawback is that he maneuvers very slowly in his walking and sad attempt at running across the battlefield. Gengar on the other hand floats and mischeviously dodges around and attacks in ways that seem to literally be designed to trick his opponent into constantly thinking that Gengar is somewhere that he isn’t. An example of this is how Gengar will start off an attack at one spot in front of his opponent on the battlefield but then the actual contact of the attack comes from behind the opponent instead. But Gengar, while very tricky in his attack patterns, does not have the face wrecking power that Machamp does and requires far more attacks to subdue an enemy than his muscle powered counterpart would. This all leads to a balance between the characters that feels actually very fair and balanced and allows for players of all types to be able to find a Pokémon who suits their play style well. They may be surprised who that character ends up being as well. Try out Chandelure when you get the chance and see what I mean.
3.) DO THE TUTORIAL
DO IT! I cannot say this about the game enough. DO THE TUTORIAL! It does a great job of explaining all the game’s mechanics to you and will save you from a lot of unnecessary lost battles.
4.) The roster is very small when compared to the massive list of Pokémon in existence
This may be more of a minor qualm since this is Pokémon’s first shot at a fighting game and it is something that I hope is remedied in future installments but given how incredibly in depth and interesting each Pokémon’s fighting styles were I kept finding myself wishing that I could play as even more Pokémon than were already put into the game. Yes there are support Pokémon who have cameos and help you out in battle but this fighting system is just so much fun and so good for a Pokémon themed fighting game that I really want to see the Pokémon Company do more with it. The game has a whole lot of potential that is fully realized in all the Pokémon’s fighting styles but it would be fantastic if they could expand that intricacy into even more of the Pokedex. That being said The game does a great job with the Pokémon it has chosen and perhaps the small roster allowed them to hone in and fine tune the game to the excellency that it has obtained.
5.) The story is sort of interesting but lacks any depth
Yes! There is an over arching story behind all the events of the game! NO it is not an in depth story but is instead rather one dimensional. I did find myself somewhat interested but it was all too little all too late by the time they actually got around to telling you what was going on. Yes, Pokémon games have not always been known for telling the best stories in gaming but with how great everything else is about this game I guess I just expected more on that front as well.
6.) You can basically still EV train all your Pokémon
Yes you can level specific stats in this game as well! It doesn’t quite work the same as the main games however but instead, allows for an easier system where each time your Pokémon levels up, you choose a stat to level and boost your Pokémon’s strengths or weaknesses. This allows you to specifically customize each Pokémon however you like and even play them in ways that the developers themselves may not have anticipated
7.) It put’s the avatar customization of X and Y to shame
Man, Pokémon X and Y changed everyone’s world when they let you customize your avatar to your own likings but Pokkén Tournament takes that concept and puts it on a whole different level. There are a TON of outfits and accessories to choose from and unlock in this game and you can literally make your avatar look like everything from a Nurse, to a chef, to a hipster, to a sailor! The options are great and allow you to have a ton of fun in simply just customizing your characters. You will need to earn some of the in game currency first to do so however but it’s pretty easy to earn and stock up on.
8.) You can lower the frequency that Nia says things to you in battle!!!! It’s under advisor settings in My town
This won’t make sense until you play it but she talks lots…..You will understand when you start playing and you will thank me for telling you this.
9.) Versus mode is fantastic and unique
Unique is the most accurate word to describe the multiplayer aspect of this game because each player actually ends up getting their own screen. This is a great feature because it means the beautiful game combat mechanics don’t have to be hindered by trying to include a split screen feature and instead can just be focused on the dual phase style combat this game will be known for. In Vs. mode, one player will use the television as their screen while the other uses the game pad screen. This does mean that one player is using the game pad controls while the other must use a Nunchuck or preferably a Wii U pro controller but luckily if the button layout seems odd or difficult to get a handle on, you can just change the button layouts to however you see fit.
10.) You will be sold on buying a sequel to this game
I mentioned before how much fun the combat system is in the game and it has all the makings to become a great franchise if they can improve on the weaknesses of the game. But as you play through it you will find yourself thinking “Yes! I want more of this but as a full Pokémon adventure with catching Pokémon and everything!” I sincerely hope this is a test for where the main game could be headed in the future or even where this series could be going should it become its own standalone adventure. Live action battling and being able to capture new Pokémon to add to your roster would be a fantastic addition and probably make whatever sequel comes to this game one of the best selling games of all time! So if you haven’t been quite sold on this game yet, go find a friend who has it and play and experience it for yourself!
Pokkén Tournament: 8/10
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