In the past there have been a handful of Pokémon games that experimented outside of the main franchise game series, such as “Pokemon Rangers” and “Pokemon Mystery Dungeon.” Now a new title of the Pokemon name has risen called “Pokken Tournament,” which is developed by the Bandai Namco Studios and produced by the Pokemon Company. In this game, fans and gamers can play as some of their favorite Pokémon and battling other Pokémon trainers, switching out the turn based gameplay and bringing in fighting game mechanics from other games like “Super Smash Bros.” and “Tekken.”
The short main story of the game takes place in the option called the Ferrum Tournament. In this option, the players choose their partner Pokémon that they will use to fight through tournaments. These tournaments vary from the Green Tournament (D Rank) to Chroma (A Rank) and require three goals to get through to continue to each. The first obstacle is the main tournaments in which the player battles a multitude of CPU fighters until the player’s number rank reaches the top eight of that colored tournament. Once at the top eight, a smaller tournament takes place to between the last eight players to get the final battle, the Champion of the colored tournament. However, players must be careful, for if they lose a battle in the top eight, they are instantly disqualified from the eight person tournament and have to try again.
In each tournament a strange dark creature and a mysterious figure keep appearing and begin battling the player. The player soon finds that the shadow creature is none other than a shadow version of the legendary Pokémon called Mewtwo.
The gameplay in this game is standard enough that anyone who has played a fighting game will be able to understand and become good quickly. However, for who have played many fighting games, there is a training dojo to help players practice and learn the moves of each fighting Pokémon.
The number of fighting Pokémon that can be chosen are rather small as only 14 Pokémon are playable and only two others are unlockable after completing the Ferrum Tournament and the main story. Some fan favorites have been added to the fighter line up, such as Charizard, Pikachu, and Gardevoir. However, in every battle there are support Pokémon which players can choose from to help him/her in battle when the support gauge gets filled. These Pokémon are not controllable like the main fighting Pokémon, but they add variety to the game.
There are multiple maps that can be played on in the game that are mesmerizing to look at, as little Pokémon game references are thrown all throughout the maps. There is a feature put on some maps that either shape them into an oval shape for closer combat, or a larger circle for ranged fighters to take advantage of.
The game’s soundtrack is decent as a mixture of electronic and East Asian instruments. While some maps have more electronic for upbeat battles, some maps have more or all Asian instruments to make the battle feel more epic.
Avatar customization is one of the best things “Pokken” offers to its players. In the game’s store, players can use money earned through each fight to buy new accessories and clothing to put on their game avatar. The list of clothing and accessories expands immensely and there are tons of options to
choose from to suit every individual’s interests. There is also customization for the main tip adviser in the game, Nia, who will have new clothing options after battling some opponents in the Ferrum Tournaments. To unlock more items for the clothing store, the players must battle in the Ferrum Tournaments to unlock more, giving them more of a reason to play the main story.
While there are many good things about this game, there are also a ton of things that don’t work and might have some customers upset for spending money on the game. The first issue is the lack of story in “Pokken.” With the main story not taking more than a couple hours to beat and even the game’s plot being very cliché, some customers might be mad about spending sixty dollars on a short game. Another issue is the lack of Pokémon to choose from in the fighter lineup. While the 14 Pokémon are decent, there isn’t much variety when fighting others either online or offline. DLC (Downloadable Content) has been speculated to maybe come out for the game, but nothing has been finalized yet.
Another big complaint is the lack of balance between some of the Pokémon. Two Pokémon in the game, Pikachu Libre and Shadow Mewtwo, have already become infamous for having move sets that make them too over powered against the other Pokémon fighters. With moves that can be spammed and taken advantage of to not give other players a chance to fight back, this might cause frustration and lack of interest in the online multiplayer for the game.
With all of this taken into account, “Pokken” is still a fun fighter game. It is perfect for parties with friends and great for fans of the Pokémon franchise. The game is a nice refresher from the turn based fighting in the main game franchise, and it brings something new to players. This game gets a rating of 3.9/5.