Pokken Tournament releases tomorrow and fans and skeptics of the original entry are probably wondering to themselves “What’s the big deal?” As it turns out, Pokken Tournament DX is the Pokemon fighting game you never knew you always wanted while simultaneously also being the game you wished the Wii U version had been.
In our original coverage of the first version of Pokken Tournament we discussed how the game manages to have a fighting system that is both manageable for new player and intricate and complex for hardcore players. The DX version retains this selling point. The Rock Paper Scissors style triangle of possible actions still remains, (Attacks vs Throw vs Counter,) but what makes the combat even more interesting this time around is the addition of the new Pokemon combatants and a few new support type Pokemon. For those who previously had not played, the Rock Paper Scissors metaphor for the game has to do with how your various attack options interact with each other. Every Pokemon has a counter move that will counteract any normal attack your opponents Pokemon throws at you. Each Pokemon also has a throw that will beat an opponents counter attack if they just keep using the counter option all willy nilly. Last but certainly not least, the normal attacks will defeat any type of throw your opponent tries. This might seem like a simple gameplay system, and while it is simple in one sense, it also allows for a ton of skill mastery that will distinguish master trainers from rookie players. The diversity of gameplay style from Pokemon to Pokemon also helps the game standout as a fighting style game. Each Pokemon has its own very unique set of attacks and strengths. This allows the game to avoid having every character feel basically the same unless you are a master tier player. This also keeps the game feeling fun and fresh every time you change up your Pokemon combatant and creates opportunities for fun gaming for players with different fighting styles
The graphics of the game have also been improved upon in this entry and show that the Switch’s graphical power should not be entirely underestimated. This is definitely the most realistic looking Pokemon game yet (as realistic as one can be with Pokemon games anyways.) The combat visuals are so great that they almost jump off the screen with the same excitement that one might get from an actual real life Pokemon battle and while there sometimes can be a lot going on in combat, the animations are still pretty distinctive as to who is doing what in combat so there isn’t much confusion in that regard. The backgrounds for every level also jump out and give a great feel for each type of environment players find themselves battling in. Each level feels distinct from one another, be it due to the various weather differences in levels, the actual arena shape of each level, or the random Pokemon and trainers that spectate your different battles. The game is incredibly immersive in this regard and really sets itself apart from other fighting games that may have more generic stage designs.
The previous entry of Pokken tournament was a good game but it’s biggest flaw was that there simply just wasn’t enough there. The game had so much potential and uniqueness to it many players kept finding themselves wanting more out of the game. It almost felt as if the original version was incomplete. The updates to the Japanese arcade version did not help this feeling either since none of those updates made their way to the Wii U entry. Pokken Tournament DX fixes this problem with flying colors by not only updating the roster to include MORE Pokemon than the arcade entry but also by introducing a few new modes into the mix. Initially players wanted more Pokemon to choose from because the game was just that much fun and DX answers by including a total of 5 new Pokemon characters. That might seem like a small number but it is just enough to satisfy the desire for a bigger roster of Pokemon without adding so many in that players start to feel overwhelmed with character choices. This also keeps Pokemon from starting to become copies of one another in regards to playstyle and keeps each combatant unique. The game also introduces Team Battles which are more akin to 3v3 battles of the King of Fighters variety. In these battles, players choose a team of 3 Pokemon and as they beat opposing Pokemon or are defeated, players can switch up which Pokemon they use in battle. This new mode is a fun new take on the Pokken tournament system and helps diversify the gameplay a fair bit, instead of things getting monotonous. Another new feature of the game is the inclusion of mission panels. Mission panels are kind of like a Bingo board for each of the Ferrum Leagues in which you knock out a mission by completing whatever goals are on each card of the board. Each board is a unique piece of artwork that you open up when you complete every panel and each panel has an opportunity to unlock either a new title or Avatar part for your trainer character. Also new to the game is the Daily Missions. These feature a specific mission set that require you to play as a specific assigned Pokemon and defeat whatever foes the game throws at you. Should you beat them, you unlock multiple skill points for not only the Pokemon you used in the mission but also a few others as well.
The initial entry of Pokken tournament was good but its lack of feeling fully fleshed out would probably have deterred a number of players from jumping in and I would have recommend the title to those who are either big time fighting game fans or after a price drop. Pokken Tournament DX is an entirely different scenario. With all of the updates and new modes included, I recommend the title to all Switch players as the title is a ton of fun, great to play with friends now that there is a split screen option, and now has a larger roster of characters to play as, giving options for players of all variety. The only reason I can think of to not buy this game is if you are a player who just absolutlely does not enjoy fighting games at all. If that is you, then fine. Pokken tournament DX is not for you. But to all the other players out there, I say this. Is it worth every penny? You bet it is
Pokken Tournament DX 9/10
If I have convinced you then you can pick up a copy of the game here!
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