Review: Pokkén Tournament (Wii U)
From the beginning you’ll immediately notice what a gorgeous game Pokkén Tournament truly is. From CG graphics to actual game play. With a combination of fast-paced Tekken fighting styles and mechanics as well as Pokémon battle moves and Mega Evolutions, Pokkén Tournament is a blast for all Nintendo and Pokémon fans.
Upon beginning the game you’ll meet your advisor who acts more like a coach/manager throughout the game, advising you before battles, during and after. You can also tweak her outfits as well as “cheers”, where the cheers actually assist with certain boosts to your Pokémon before the battles begin. Bandai utilizes this characters in a lot of dialogue scenes as we’re dealing with a silent protagonist here. Yes, Nintendo seem to have a love for their silent protagonists *looks at Link*.
I choose you
The game is based in the Ferrum Region and after you click pass the title screen you’ll be introduced to the region by a map scattered with locations. The locations include ‘My Town’, ‘Practice’, ‘Ferrum League’ (which is exclusive to the Wii U version), ‘Single Battle’, ‘Online Battles’ and ‘Local Battle’. It has a ton of customization options which can be found under ‘My Town’ and you’ll be able to work on your avatars appearance. Your Pokémon’s skill point allocations, and the support Pokémon team, will assist you in battle. Which brings us to the next important point in this review – The Pokémon!
Pokkén Tournament features 16 playable Pokémon that you’ll be able to control/battle with and around 30 non-playable Pokémon that you’ll utilize as support Pokémon. More Pokémon are said to be added to the roster in time. The 16 playable Pokémon each have their own unique move sets as well as combos that can be a lot of fun mastering. Each Pokémon also has their own attribute such as Speed, Power, Technical and Standard, which in turn makes your choice even harder when choosing a partner that you’ll be comfortable with in battle. Support Pokémon on the other hand are provided in a set of two, which is already selected by the game creators and cannot be customized. These Pokémon are able to jump into the battle when summoned by you once your support gauge is full to temporarily assist your battle Pokémon with either a support move or attack move. A few support teams in the game are Emolga and Fennekin, Snivy and Lapras, Frogadier and Eevee. The higher you rank into the leagues the more support teams unlock.
King of Pokkén Tournament
Battles in Pokkén Tournament can be quite intense especially in the higher leagues where I found myself practicing combos in the Dojo before entering a league. The leagues are set out where you’ll have to fight your way up the ladder to the top eight. Once in the top eight you’ll be entered into a tournament where the top eight will battle it out for the number one spot within that specific league. That’s not where it all ends. Being the number one battle trainer in that specific league comes with other challenges. You’ll have to take on the league master and thereafter be promoted to a higher ranked league. Admittedly the first league in the game is a real drag, but in a way benefits the player as you’ll be able to master the game mechanics as much as you can.
The game focuses a lot on “Synergy”. Synergy between the Pokémon and their trainer. Once your Synergy bar fills up you’ll be able to unleash immense power in the forms of either Mega Evolution, where all stats increase, or in the case of the Pokémon that can’t Mega Evolve increased strength, speed and defense. This power up lasts a short while but during this stage you’ll be able to unleash special attacks which, if the opponent is not careful, can completely devastate their chances of winning. I predict that this will be a MAJOR focus in the competitive online and local tournament scenes for Pokkén Tournament.
Amiibo support on Pokkén Tournament isn’t much to write home about. Scanning amiibo into Pokkén Tournament gives the player random items to customize your avatar with and you’re only allowed to scan five amiibo a day. Here’s to hoping that in the future they’ll at least allow the Pokémon amiibo to scan in as additional playable characters.
All in all Pokkén Tournament is gorgeous to look at, holds up well as a fighter and if you’re a Tekken fan you’ll notice how some Pokémon move and fight like Tekken characters. For instance Blaziken moves an awful lot like Eddy. The combo lists also feel like the combo lists from Tekken which isn’t really a bad thing and learning both the normal moves and synergy moves can be tons of fun. When you see that being unleashed during the battles it’s quite something to behold. The game is a drag in the beginning but given some time is a blast for both Pokémon and Tekken fans.