Game: Pokkén Tournament
Platform: Wii U (Exclusive)
Release: March 18th, 2016 (NA)
I like turn- based RPG’s, but I will always love real-time twitchy combat games more: Bloodborne, Bayonetta, Devil May Cry, the Marvel Vs. series; those are my jam. When I first got Pokémon Stadium on the Nintendo 64 and played through it, watching these creatures have a gentlemanly battle of taking turns to attack, I found myself quite bored. It lacked everything the Gameboy games did. The only appeal of it was you could battle you Pokémon in 3D, and that’s all you could do. When I play turn-based JRPG’s/RPG’s, I’m in it for the epic story. I’m not sure if a one-on-one turn-based fighting game exists (correct me if I’m wrong), but I don’t want to play it. It’s Street Fighter, but turned-based? I’ll pass thank you. I wanted so much to just take my Kadabra and start pounding some faces in with that spoon of his.
So when I first heard of Pokkén Tournament I was fairly excited about it. I hadn’t really been into Pokémon much as I’ve gotten older, but I had to try it, especially since Bandai-Namco and the Tekken guys were the ones making it. I’ve played the game for about four or five hours and made it to the Red League and so far, it’s pretty fun. It’s what I expected this game to be, for the most part. Here’s how things stack up so far:
There’s not really much going on with the story so far. You’re a new Pokémon trainer and you’re just battling to rank up. Along the way Shadow Mewtwo (along with his mysterious trainer) pops up and he’s been challenging trainers and wrecking house. He challenges you as well. I’ve fought him twice so far. It looks like after you get past the league test to graduate to the next league that’s when you fight him. I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to beat him. The first time I fought him I got demolished and the second time I got him about halfway down in health and he got me in his special and just one hit me.
First I would suggest to anyone who plays to take all the tutorials. It was kind of a drag but, the game is deeper than I expected it to be. There’s quite a bit of information to take in. There are two configurations to a fight: Field Mode and Dualist Mode. In Field Mode the camera is behind your Pokémon and you have 360 degree movement across the arena. I think this mode lends itself to longer range/projectile attacks. To switch it to Dualist Mode you really just have to score a knockdown or land a heavy attack. Once it switches, the game becomes more Street Fighter like. The camera becomes the classic side view where you move forward and back. This mode is better for brawling (for me anyway). The transition from Dualist Mode to Field Mode and vice versa, can be a little jarring. It can happen many times in one match. The attacks can change and the camera transitions on the fly. I’ve since grown used to it, but I can see how it can screw some people up.
You have an assist bar that slowly fills and used to call in an assist Pokémon. You unlock more as you play. The types are: attack, enhancement, ETC. You pick your set before the match. There is also a synergy bar (super bar) that increases as the fight goes on and once activated you can hit with basic attacks that do more damage or do your super. There’s also counters, throws, blocking, jumping, and dodging. Your basic fighting game fair.
The game looks pretty. The art direction is perfect for the game. It’s got that cartoony feel that works well for anime type aesthetics. It runs at a smooth 1080p/60fps (1080p/30fps for local co-op). Haven’t noticed any slowdown yet. The environments are beautiful, but not much happening in them. I have noticed some pixelating during the pre-fight and post-fight cinematics, but nothing too terrible. The Shadow Mewtwo CGI cut scenes look amazing.
Like I said before I’ve played for about four to five hours and I’m only halfway done with the story mode (League). The other modes include: Online mode, Co-Op, Training, Tutorial, MyTown (this is where you customize your character and change your Fighter for league), and a Free play mode where you fight CPU characters, so quite a few ways to play. There are many things to unlock and I’m still working on that. There also seems to be enough fighting mechanics and strategies to waste hours on perfecting just that. My biggest issue with the game so far is I feel like there should be more fighters. Initially the game starts out with 14 fighters to choose from, two can be unlocked which stretches it to 16 and Nintendo plans on adding an additional four fighters to the game, which gets it to 20. I don’t know about you guys but that seems a little low, considering the amount of Pokémon that exist and since there are two Pikachu’s (Pikachu and Libre Pikachu) and two Mewtwo’s (Mewtwo and Shadow Mewtwo).
I think this should go without saying, but this is NOT a review of the game. Just some basics and thoughts I have on it so far. I plan to keep playing until I get bored of it but, it looks like I’ll be playing this for a while…at least until I unlock everything.
What are your guys thought on the game so far? Let me know in the comments below, and to the collectors out their make sure you get a first run copy. It comes with the Shadow Mewtwo Amiibo card and I believe that’s the only way to get it. Once that first run sells out that Amiibo card is gone, so get it while you can.