For years now, ever since Pokemon Stadium got our hopes up about a 3D real time fighting Pokemon game we have been waiting for this to become a reality. Finally Pokken Tournament has come to put an end to the same old Pokemon battle ways, but is it the Pokemon fighting game we have been waiting for all this time?
So what is the best way to describe Pokken Tournament? Well from the outside it is a fighting game based in the Pokemon universe much like most of the other Pokemon games, people battle against each other using various Pokemon. The thing that makes Pokken so refreshing as a Pokemon game is the real time fighting aspect and considering this is a style of game that has never really been done properly in this franchise it actually plays very well!
The controls are somewhat basic for a fighting game like this though I can completely appreciate that the game is trying to cater to all ages and skill levels, if you are looking for a Pokemon BlazBlue this is not it. Saying that the controls are very easy to pick up and play but don’t be surprised if you play against someone locally and they win by button mashing. Once you learn the logic and what certain moves can best others the game can become a lot more fun and strategic.
Battles themselves are exactly what you would want out of a real time fighting Pokemon game. Fighting is exciting and amazingly fluid. During battle depending on how you and your opponent fight you can switch between 2 different modes, these modes are Field Phase and Battle Phase. Field Phase allows you to move around freely all around the battle area while still being able to attack. Battle Phase allows you to get closer to the action and cause more damage by the game switching to more of a 2D fighter. You would have though that this would break up fights in a bad way but it actually adds a lot more strategy to a game which otherwise could be considered easy.
As you play the Pokemon you play as earn experience and level up, allowing you assign points to a Pokemon’s stats, such as increasing attack for example. Each Pokemon also has a specific play style such as Speed or Power so its not a case that every Pokemon is the same. Different Pokemon can also be used as support Pokemon which can help you during a fight.
Another thing done really well is the personality of the Pokemon, for example Gengar is everything you would expect he would be like, such as evil laughing at the opponent before a match and trying to grab your match ranking at the end of a fight. One thing that does damage Pokken is the lack of characters for the playable roster. Out of over 700 Pokemon to choose from its strange why such a small number would be picked for the game, this can make the game very boring fast as you may just get sick of fighting the same Pokemon. With Nintendo saying that they are not currently planning any DLC for Pokken this has really made me worry.
One more gripe I have with the game is the graphics, now they are not necessarily ugly especially for the Wii U. It is just that the gameplay videos that have been showed to us all these months make the game look like the graphics are a wonder to behold, playing the game I found this to be somewhat untrue. Small things like shading on Pokemon just look completely wrong and sometimes parts of characters can look quite distorted.
In conclusion Pokken Tournament is a really good game, it excels where I thought Nintendo would, the actual battles. Proving me wrong Pokken gets the fights spot on which is what counts with a game like this. The game has all the charm of all the other Pokemon games with small things like being able to point out the actual moves the Pokemon make and relate them to the main game series. One thing to be said is that there is really not much to the story so do not be expecting some brilliant story telling from this game.