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To train them is my cause…

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    Pokken Tournament DX

    Rating: 4.0 – Great

    To train them is my cause…

    I missed out on playing the original version of Pokken Tournament on the Wii U, so I was excited to try it out on Nintendo Switch as Pokken Tournament DX. I really like Tekken games and I really like Pokemon, so the idea of mashing the two franchises together is especially appealing to me. So, what did I think?

    The first thing I noticed about Pokken Tournament was the game’s fantastic graphics. The stages are vibrant and interesting, with plenty of detail and fun quirks to look for. The Pokemon are brilliantly animated and look better than they do in any other game. The fighting is smooth, and the menus are all simple and easy to navigate. While the game cuts corners by having 2D images of NPCs, it works, matches with the art style, and helps players get into the fighting as quickly as possible.

    And as far as fighting goes, Pokken Tournament is one of the most well-designed fighters in recent memory. The game is easy to play, with anyone able to pick up a controller and jump into the action. However, while it’s easy to play, Pokken Tournament is hard to master. The fighting mechanics are deep, with each character vastly different from the next. Mastering the combos and learning the counters will take hours of time.

    Dedicated players can master Pokken Tournament across its various game modes. Most players will probably spend their time in the online multiplayer matches, which are well populated and work well. I had some issues with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s online modes, so I am relieved to see that those issues don’t extend to Pokken Tournament. Throughout my time with both quick play and ranked, the online multiplayer worked perfectly.

    On the flip side, local multiplayer doesn’t work nearly as well. Players can battle each other in split-screen, but instead of just splitting the screen down the middle, it turns both sides of the screen into small boxes where it’s hard to tell what is going on. To effectively play Pokken Tournament’s split-screen multiplayer, players either have to have a huge TV or play close the screen. There’s an alternate choice where the camera only follows one fighter, though this makes the fights unfair for the second player.

    Beyond multiplayer, players can also try training modes and career. The AI is smart and challenging, but also fair, so players won’t feel like they’re being cheated by cheap moves. However, fighting the AI pales in comparison to the thrills of fighting against real players online.

    In the Wii U version of Pokken Tournament, playing the single player content was more worthwhile as it was how players unlocked secret characters. In Pokken Tournament DX, there is nothing to unlock really, which makes playing through the single player content less appealing. This is a consistent issue with the "DX" re-releases of Wii U games on the Switch. Taking away the player’s incentive to play through some of the content is counterproductive, and it makes the single player content a lot less fun.

    Pokken Tournament DX comes with some additions that weren’t in the Wii U version, including four characters that were added to the arcade version, as well as Decidueye, which is exclusive to DX. Decidueye is the only Pokemon Sun and Moon Pokemon in the game, so its inclusion is appreciated, and it’s fun to play as.

    Speaking of Pokemon Sun and Moon, Litten and I believe Popplio have been added as new support Pokemon in Pokken Tournament DX. Support Pokemon, to me, felt superfluous. They didn’t really add much to the experience. Maybe it would help if the two support Pokemon had a theme, but they just seem randomly put together.

    Another addition to Pokken Tournament DX is the Team Battle mode. This mode has three Pokemon on each team, and is a really fun mode. It helps players try out multiple Pokemon in one match. Plus, it feels more like actual Pokemon battles, which almost never consist of one-on-one fights in the main games.

    Pokken Tournament DX is a great fighter, and easily the best fighting game currently available for the Nintendo Switch. The game has great graphics, fun mechanics, and a great online mode. Having all the content unlocked at the start is a little disappointing, and the single player content in general feels a bit lackluster. I would highly recommend Pokken Tournament DX to anyone looking for a fun fighting game on the Switch.

    Rating:   4.0 – Great

    Product Release: Pokken Tournament DX (US, 09/22/17)

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