Nintendo Pokemon Switch

Pokkén Tournament DX Review

Return to the Ferrum Region on your Nintendo Switch for another round of Pokkén Tournament. The DX version doesn’t really improve on the original’s flaws, but it’s perfect if you’re craving more ringside action from the world of Pokémon.

Developed by Bandai Namco Studios, Pokkén Tournament released for the Wii U in 2016. Combining Tekken with Game Freak’s adorable Pokémon seemed like an odd decision at first, but punctuating traditional fighting gameplay with a quick Flamethrower or a Psybeam was incredibly satisfying. With this Nintendo Switch release, Bandai Namco have created the definitive way to play Pokkén.

Pokkén Tournament jumped from arcades to the Wii U back in early 2016, but the console version never received the countless updates that came to arcades. DX rectifies this by adding the four playable Pokémon that never made the transition. This means that Nintendo Switch owners will finally get their hands on the intimidating Scizor, the poisonous Croagunk, the powerful Emploeon and the terrifying Darkrai. Each of these Pokémon have their strengths and weaknesses to experiment with, so even the most experienced Wii U players have something to sink their teeth into. However, Decidueye is the most exciting addition. Making his Pokkén debut, the Grass / Ghost type first appeared in Pokémon Sun and Moon late last year. He isn’t the only addition from Alola either, both Popplio and Litten have been added as Support Pokémon.  It would obviously would have been great to have a few more newcomers, but DX brings the roster up to a reasonable 21 fighters. Wii U veterans will also appreciate that all 21 fighters are unlocked immediately, but some players will undoubtedly miss the excitement of unlocking new characters as they progress.

 

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Alongside the new Pokémon, DX features two major new battle types to try and master. Daily Challenges offer rewards for meeting certain criteria in a set battle. Unlike other modes, each Daily Challenge forces you to play as a specific Pokémon, so it’s a good way to test out new fighters. The other new mode is Team Battle. Reminiscent of the traditional Pokémon RPGs, Team Battles give each Trainer a team of three Pokémon to switch between. It completely changes Pokkén’s dynamic, so veterans will certainly appreciate its addition.

As well as the Wii U’s multiplayer options, DX takes advantage of the Nintendo Switch’s portability to add local wireless battles. However, it’s the Joy-Con controls that Nintendo have been rightfully focusing on their marketing. It means you can pass a Joy-Con to a friend for immediate head-to-head matches. While it initially seems daunting to control such a complex fighting game with the tiny Joy-Con, Bandai Namco have done an excellent job translating the inputs to such a simplistic controller.

 

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Graphically, DX hasn’t noticeably improved from the Wii U version. However, the original Pokkén was gorgeous, so a visual upgrade was hardly necessary. We’ve never seen such highly detailed models of each Pokémon and they all look great. The new Pokémon each have incredibly creative battle animations too, Decidueye’s arrow-based attacks are particularly impressive. The Wii U version suffered from occasional framerate drops during local multiplayer battles, but the issue seems to have been resolved for this rerelease of the game.

Pokkén Tournament DX is a great package. If you didn’t visit the Ferrum Region the first time around, the Nintendo Switch version is the definitive way to play. There isn’t a huge amount of new content for Wii U veterans, but the Switch’s portability alone makes DX a must-buy for dedicated Pokémon Masters.

8/10

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28 comments

  1. I bought the wiiu version on its release… It was ok, but I’m not a beat em up fan, it got boring very quickly like after a week and I not played it since lol also I’m not big on Pokémon :/ … If it had like 100 fighters maybe lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand the confusion but this technically isn’t a “beat em up” game. This is a 3D fighting game with a 2D mode function as a twist. A beat em up is when you run through a level as 1 character and, well, beat up a load of characters like in Streets of Rage and Golden Axe.
      And I’m going to assume the 100 Fighters comment was a joke as it ended with “lol”.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. And still no arcade mode!

    Why is that so hard? You pick a character and then you fight eight DIFFERENT opponents in a row.

    Even ARMS knows what that is.

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      1. Also random.

        In an arcade mode, there’s usually 8-10 different opponents, and then a final boss (either Darkrai or Mewtwo).

        Even the original arcade mode doesn’t make you fight repeats in a rank-based system.

        At least we still have Type:Wild.

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    1. Arcade mode is usually the story mode. Pokken has one, and it has more battles than a traditional arcade mode, as well as a more developed plot. While its true that every character has their own plot in traditional arcade modes, that just doesn’t make sense in Pokken. YOU are the character, not the Pokemon you choose. The plot is based on YOUR decisions as the trainer, not your Pokemon’s decisions. Giving a separate plot to each of the mons makes no sense unless they fully remove your character, and leave the mons acting on their own volition.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So I THE CHARACTER, have to fight a dozen repeats just for that.

        Why should I get the DX version then when the original is so tedious?

        Wake me when the nearest Dave & Busters gets this game or when Pokemon Snap 2 and Pokemon Stadium 3 (not colosseum, XD, or Battle Revolution) land on the Switch. I’ll be in for a long cryo-sleep.

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    2. Going through the leagues and fighting the occasional Dark Mewtwo boss fights is Pokken’s take on Arcade Mode.
      They go pretty far beyond it, even if I prefer the casual pick-up-and-play nature of the traditional kind.

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      1. Personally, I’d rather play Tatsunoko vs Capcom (the last traditional fighting game on a Nintendo system before it).

        At least there’s no tedium, no level system, and no lack of indication on when you would be able to stand a chance against Shadow Mewtwo.

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      2. Well yeah, much better game. Different kind of fighter entirely though.
        Actually thinking about it, that final Okami boss ain’t too great and no amount of indication will help that…
        But that doesn’t matter, just a very good game. Really hope MvCI eventually lives up to it, unlike 3.
        While they’re doing ports anyway imagine a remastered TvC for Switch.
        No huge drops on Burning Wasteland or Orbital Ring, just reliable madness, and that RAPV is perfect for it.

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    1. I get your point, and I agree, though in this particular case it’s an arcade port – not a Wii U port.
      The small (though meta-wise huge) differences are the same kind as you see with console ports of the various arcade iterations of fighting games like Street Fighter II, III and IV.

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  3. The only reason I’m getting it on the Switch is because I passed on the Wii U version. I do agree with some of the people here, I wish that Pokkén Tournament DX would’ve had a bit more content but since I only played the demo on the Wii U it’s no big deal. I’m definitely buying it

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    1. I bought it for Wii U, and I’m getting it for Switch this Friday. If they’d had all of the new characters as paid DLC, it would’ve been close to $25 in new mons alone (about $4.99 a mon), now imagine that the new support set would’ve probably been attached to Decidueye, and would have added $1-2 to Decidueye.

      If you factor in development costs to increase resolution and modify how multiplayer displayed the screens, as well as balancing for Decidueye and the Litten/Popplio support set, I guarantee that the game would have been about $40 as a port without any content that the Wii U lacked. Factor in the $25-28 of DLC the Wii U would have had and it comes to $65-68. We’re getting it for $60. It sounds like a better value to me.

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  4. Pokken was pretty bad tbh. Got bored faster than probably any game I’ve gotten in the past couple years, plus battling in general is extremely jank. I’m not paying 60 bucks again for this, but maybe if the game actually goes strong for awhile and we get more content I’ll try it again.

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  5. I’m surprised this game got an 8/10 here. No story mode or arcade mode. When you compare this game to others in the genre it just doesn’t hold up in any way. It’s extremely shallow fighting and I got bored with the game very quickly. Comparing this game to injustice 2 is like comparing lead to gold. The ONLY thing it has going for it is that you can play it on the Switch.

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    1. It does actually have a story mode, it’s shallow but does exist. I ended up buying the game and the Ferrum League is a great single player mode! It kinda plays like the Pokemon World Tournament.

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    2. Injustice 2 is a good contender sure, but Pokken is much deeper and more complex than say SFV – so it’s not like it can’t keep up with the genre. (unrelated it does have a story/arcade mode)

      Also Pokken is a 3D fighter, akin to Tekken, DoA or Soul Calibur.
      There being better 2D fighters the likes of GuiltyGear/KoF//Marvel or better clunk fighters like MK/Injustice/KI might just not matter as there’s some apples/oranges stuff going on. Fans of one might not care for the others at all.

      Like

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