Game Corner: Fighting your way to the top

The Magnet Tribune: Game Corner screenshot
The VS screen before a match begins. Shown are fighters Gardevior and Pikachu

Manuel Ruiz , Game Corner Columnist

History

Pokken Tournament was seen as a teaser during a Pokemon Game show with two well-known Pokémon, Blazikein and Lucario, about to begin fighting in a city-like road. Pokken was then announced on August 26, 2014, during an event hold by Japanese gaming magazine Fatmitsu with Pokemon CEO, Tsunekazu Ishihara and Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada and Soul Caliber producer, Masaaki Hoshino. Pokken tournament was then released as a Japan-exclusive arcade on July 16, 2015, but during its time in arcades, it was doing poorly, which even lead to one popular arcade in Kurashiki, Japan due to the lack of profit the machine had attracted.

During the Pokémon World Championships in 2015 it was announced that Pokken Tournament was being ported to the Nintendo Wii U then later in December 16, 2015 a special controller called the HORI Pro Pad which is a controller that is similar to the arcade controls would be coming out alongside with Pokken Tournament for Nintendo Wii U. To celebrate Pokémon 20th Anniversary.

Gameplay

In Pokken Tournament, the player is introduced to Nia a character who will help you during fights after the introducing is over the player can choose either two genders male or female, customize what they look by hair style and color, eyes, and lastly skin color. After the player is done customizing their character they choose a Partner Pokémon:

  • Blaziken [Standard]
  • Braixen [Standard]
  • Chandelure [Power]
  • Charizard [Power
  • Garchomp [Power]
  • Gardevior [Technical]
  • Gengar [Technical]
  • Lucario [Standard]
  • Machamp [Power]
  • Mewtwo [Standard] (Must be unlocked)
  • Pikachu [Standard]
  • Pikachu Libre [Speed]
  • Sceptile [Speed]
  • Shadow Mewtwo [Technical] (Must be Unlocked)
  • Suicune [Standard]
  • Weavile [Speed]

After the player chooses his Partner is then has an option to do the tutorial of the game which is very helpful since it helps a player learn move set from each Pokémon fighter and also teach players on phases such as Field Phase, Battle Phase, and other mechanics in the Pokken.

Field phase is where the player fights in a field where they can choose to fire projectiles or get up close to engage combat. Pokémon has projectiles that can help them damage their opponents or can use this phase to charge up if the Pokémon is able to. When the opponent or player is hit enough it will engage into a phase shift into Duel phase. Duel phase is similar to Street fighter and Tekken Vibe where the player are locked in a position where they have a limited area to engage combat. The player either has to change phase by attacking or be attacked until the phase shift has been engaged. Lastly, every the player also has a Synergy Gauge where the player can use to Mega Evolve certain Pokémon who are able to or Pokemon who cannot Mega Evolve or get a different look while Burst mode and during, Burst mode fighters get to attack and defense increase and also have the ability to use a Special Attack.

The player also has the option of choosing a pair of two support Pokémon which can benefit the player either by attacking your opponent, Healing or Boosting your fighter, disrupt your opponent attacks, but each support has a gauge that takes time to charge and in order to be used in battles. The list of support Pokémon are.

  • Emolga and Fennekin [Emolga-Attack] [Fennekin-Disrupt]
  • Snivy and Lapras [Both Attack]
  • Frogadier and Eevee [Frogadier-Attack] [Eevee-Enhance]
  • Cubone and Diglett [Both Attack] (Must unlock)
  • Jirachi and Whimsicott [Both Enchance] (Must unlock)
  • Croagunk and Slyveon [Croagunk-Disrupt] [Slyveon-Enhance] (Must unlock)
  • Pachirisu and Magikarp [Both Disrupt] (Must unlock)
  • Mismagius and Ninetales [Mismagius-Attack] [Ninetales-Disrupt] (Must unlock)
  • Rotom and Togekiss [Rotom-Disrupt] [Togekiss-Enhance] (Must unlock)
  • Farfertch’d and Electrode [Farfetch’d-Attack] [Electrode-Disrupt] (Must unlock)
  • Dragonite and Victini [Dragonite-Attack] [Victini-Enhance] (Must unlock)
  • Yveltal and Latios [Yveltal-Attack] [Latios-Disrupt] (Must unlock)
  • Magneton and Quagsire [Both Attack] (Must unlock)
  • Reshiram and Cresselia [Reshiram-Attack] [Cresselia-Enhance] (Must unlock)
  • Espeon and Umbreon [Espeon-Enhance] [Umbreon-Disrupt] (Must unlock)

Lastly, Nia also helps the player by providing the player with “Cheers” which help the players by (Note that the player will only start off with Standard and will have to unlock other cheers by defeating the league champions):

  • Standard Skill – If the player loses a match players Synergy Gauge will increase, and both supports will also be maxed out, but if a player wins the player gets a small Synergy Gauge and will only get one support maxed out to used. [Active second round onwards]
  • Synergy Focused- Synergy Gauge will be increased no matter if the player either loses or wins the player will always get an increase in their gauge and only their gauge. Support will always be left alone [Active Every Round]
  • Pressure Focused- This support will greatly increase the player synergy regardless if the player won or lost the round. This is recommended for fighters who cannot increase their Synergy gauge. [Active Final Round]
  • Support Focused- Both supports will be increased no matter if a player lost or won a round. A great cheer for the player who relies on support Pokémon to help them in battle and will only affect supports only. [From Second Round onwards]
  • Special- Will increase Synergy gauge if the player wins, but if the player loses Support will be maxed out.

This cheer is recommended for players who can use this to think a solid strategy. [Active Second Round Onwards]

  • Whimsical- This one is random. It will change every time so it does not have the same effect every round. Test your luck with this cheer either earn big or earn low. [Every Round]

Modes

Pokken Tournament offers modes that can help players try out different fighters, try out different supports or customize their character.

In My Town players can check Battle Records, customize their character or change their title, players also have the chance to change Pokémon fighter, Support Pokémon, and change Nia cheer support. Lastly, players also have the option to change Nia voice actor or how much she appears during battles and players can also change the game setting if they like too.

Ferrum League is the game story mode where the player raises from D rank to A rank but the player encounters a Shadow Mewtwo that is causing trouble for the League. Players fight 5 matches during the league and they must reach top 8 where they do matches and if the player wins they must do a Promotion test done by the League Master. Each time a player completes a rank Shadow Mewtwo fighters the player but it does not matter if the player wins or loses they will still attack the player each rank. Single Battle is where the player can battle against CPU’S and can adjust the setting and difficulty for the opponent. This mode can be used to train with other characters or adjust with support the player can use during battles.

Practice is where the player can try out the tutorial which actually helps the player with different kind of basics and techniques for the player to learn. The tutorials offer five different types of info for the player to uncover it’s actually a neat mode to try. Players can also use Free Training where the can train with whatever they want and can controller what the opponent does. Action Dojo where the player learns the move set of each character, and lastly the Combo Dojo where the player teaches Combos that can be performed in battles.

Lastly Local Battle is where the player and a friend can fight against each either in a friendly match or serious matches. This mode requires a player to use the Wii U Gamepad while the other player can either use up to five different controllers. This mode will decrease frames to 30 fps, down from 60 fps.

amiibo functionality

Pokken Tournament also uses amiibo to receive random bonuses such as clothing, titles, and money. When the game first released it included a Shadow Mewtwo card that can unlock Shadow Mewtwo per day until the character unlocks in-game.

Online Battle

Pokken Tournament also provides online functionally where the players can fight against many opponents from many different regions. Online provides the player with Rank Match where the player fights serious matches and determines your rank worldwide, and in rank matches if a player loses a match they lose points which can affect them effectively. Friendly Match is where the player can enjoy a friendly battle without losing any rank points but it does keep a record of wins and losses. Lastly, players can also check points and win ranking and can see a display an amount of points and wins. Pokken also supports LAN if the player has two Wii U and has three different methods in order to use LAN mode.

Pros

Pokken Tournament is an amazing fighter for the Nintendo Wii U even with its small cast of fighters. Each fighter feels unique and different from each other and matches are fair since sometimes players might not know how the fighter fights or used. The soundtrack is wonderful with each stage having a unique music from each stage. Online is smooth with very little lag depending on the players connection and if a player quits a match mid-way they will be punished by losing in game currency.

Lastly, Pokken gives a massive amount of fun for fans who enjoy fighting game and people who are new into playing fighting games are welcomed since the game introduces the mechanic with its fantastic tutorial that teaches players well enough about the mechanics.

Cons

Even with its amazing gameplay the game offers a small amount of content with only providing a small amount of gameplay with no other type of content that other fighting games offer which is slightly disappointed. Stages are also an issue since all stages are different in size certain characters have an advantage that can cause an unfair match for either the player or opponent which can be annoying.

The Ferrum League feels very rushed and its ranking system is very weird since if a player loses one match it can affect the rank the player gets effectively. The online rank system also feels weird since if a player loses a match they lose points really fast which then cause a rank to decrease fast if a player does not win enough.

Lastly, the voice acting in Pokken is very horrible with each character not sounding as their character should and during battles Nia voice actor can be annoying with providing useless info that does not help the player in any way. Thankfully the game provides the option to either change the voice language or just mute her.

Final Thoughts

Even with its small amount of content and roster Pokken is an enjoyable game that is exciting and wonderful for people who enjoy fighting games and with its great amount in detailed in different stages it feels different each stage that the game provides. Pokken is very enjoyable with friends either when playing friendly matches or when going to tournaments which is then a great experience to have.

Pokken Tournament gets a 7/10.