Pokémon has been a part of gaming for 20 years now and boy it has come a long way. It feels like just yesterday I was trying to find someone with a link cable to be able to battle it out with my favourite team of Pokémon. Later came Pokémon tournament which took the battles to the next level but still didn’t allow us to go beyond the 4 moves which we carefully chose. Now we have Pokkén Tournament which gives us the opportunity to go above and beyond just being a trainer and telling our Pokémon what to do; now we get to actually be the Pokémon and fight our way to victory using more than just 4 moves.
Starting off with a strong roster of Pokémon we get crowd favorites like Pikachu, Lucario and Charizard but we also get my personal favorite, Gengar! There’s 14 total to choose from at the start as well as another 2 that you can unlock by playing the game’s story line, which is basically climb your way up the tournament league facing more difficult opponents each time. However, there’s a little side story that’s taking place inside this wonderful world of Pokémon: are you able to be the very best and overcome the challenges that present themselves?
When you feel ready you can fight online and to see how well you’ve mastered a character. Each Pokémon plays a little differently, which ranges in terms of starting hit points, damage they inflict per hit or their speed. Make sure you try them all to find out which Pokémon best suits you. There’s a training mode to help you learn each Pokémon’s attacks and combos. Since this is a fighting game it is recommended to learn the combos before fighting at higher difficulties.
You and your Pokémon don’t have to go at it alone because you get to pick a support set of Pokémon that will provide a specific set of skills to help you during your fights. The support sets are a pair of Pokémon that each offer a skill to help you in battle (you get to use these by filling your support bar). There are 3 different support types:
- Attack: offer a wide range of attacks to either help set up a combo or trick play
- Disrupt: can limit the movements or reduce the opponents damage or defence
- Enhance: offer a heal or bonus to attacks or defence
Which support type is best for you is dependent on your play style so experimenting with all the different combinations is the only way to level up your play. Speaking of levelling up, the solo game lets you level up your Pokémon! Take pride in your Pokémon as you raise them from level 1 to 100. Each level up lets you place a point in either Attack (dish out more damage), Defence (take less damage), Support (fill your support gauge faster) or Synergy (fill your synergy bar faster and deal more damage from synergy burst). Synergy burst lets you transform into your mega form and unleash insane amounts of damage (plus mega forms look really awesome!)
Not only do you get to fight and level up your Pokémon but you also get to unlock different titles by completing specific achievements. You can purchase customizations such as clothes and accessories for your trainer, and you get to add things like lighting or fire or hearts to your avatar portrait. The game offers hundreds of appearance customizations for you to purchase with your fight winnings so show off with the most expensive clothes you can buy.
The fighting takes place on a 3D field so you can dodge and use character movements or size to your advantage. Also there are 2 phases of combat which affect the flow of the fight, how proficient you are in both phases will greatly affect if you win or lose. The 3D field and phase shifting will take some getting used to since it breaks the norm of standard 2D fighting games. However, the luxurious 3D fighting arena offers a greater emersion factor for a fighting game as it allows your movements to feel more natural and strategic.
Pokkén Tournament is a great fighting game and will be adored by anyone who has ever wanted to duke it out as their favourite Pokémon. This game should also be appreciated by competitive fighting gamers looking for the next great fight game. Nintendo has a superb track record when it comes to fighting games and Pokkén Tournament continues the trend. So come on all you Pokémon Masters and get your fight on.