Pokken Tournament - What Fans Have Wanted for Years

By Westin Montano

Have you ever wanted to see your beloved Pikachu in crisp, realistic graphics? Or maybe your Charizard that you raised from a mere Charmander, your first Pokemon? In the 2016 Pokemon game “Pokken Tournament”, this is all possible, as battles are presented in stunning graphics, revolutionizing the traditional formula of Pokemon. Unlike the turn-based Pokemon games we’ve come to know and love, Pokken Tournament features a three-dimensional, real time combat system that works phenomenally to fit fans’ imaginations of how an actual Pokemon battle would occur.

Pokken Tournament features a wide variety of Pokemon to fight with, all with unique abilities which you can use throughout the game’s story, with friends, and even online against players around the world. Taking into consideration Pokken Tournament’s unique style of combat, it is surprising to see fighting types like Machamp and Blaziken alongside diverse Pokemon such as Gardevoir, a psychic-fairy type, Charizard, a fire-flying type, or Gengar, a ghost-poison type.

In the game’s story mode, you play as a trainer with access to a limited amount of Pokemon, and your goal is to advance from D rank all the way to S rank, battling more powerful opponents along your journey until you finally conquer the Pokemon League, just like in the more traditional Pokemon games. Pokken Tournament differs from its handheld counterparts, however, in that throughout the story, you discover a powerful variant of Mewtwo consumed by dark energy- Shadow Mewtwo. This corrupted legendary Pokemon controls power capable of destroying the world, and while battling enemies during the game’s story, you also search for a means of defeating this antagonist.

Pokken Tournament’s most defining characteristics include the revolutionary (in terms of Pokemon) real-time combat system, and the stunning graphics. The game’s visuals in particular cannot be stressed enough: fur can be seen on Pokemon like Pikachu or Braixen, and the texture of Garchomp’s skin is clearly visible- something previously impossible in Pokemon games, even on the newer 3DS systems. The textures and shadows of Pokemon, and the astounding amounts of detail which are put into battlefields and scenery as you travel, all testify to the passion and effort put forth into making this game.

There is much to praise this game for, including graphics, combat and replayability, but just like any other game, Pokken Tournament has flaws. Character development throughout the game’s story is poor at best, and nonexistent at worst- not even your trainer’s personality shows development. Your guide during the story is also much too quick to hold your hand and talk you through everything, which can cause some frustration when you just want to figure the game out yourself, but this can luckily be disabled in the game’s settings. Finally, Pokken Tournament’s roster is very lacking, considering the many hundreds of Pokemon available to us in the handheld counterparts, and hopefully this can be changed with future updates.

Despite its downfalls, Pokken Tournament appeals to long time Pokemon fans’ imaginations with a revolutionary combat system, breathtaking graphics, fun mechanics, and lore which stays true to Pokemon. Compared to other Pokemon spin-off games, Pokken Tournament is certainly above average and deserves any Pokemon fan’s time.