Pokémon battles have been brought to a whole new level with Bandai Namco and The Pokémon Company’s release of “Pokkén Tournament,” a fighting game based off of the Bandai Namco’s game franchise “Tekken.”
“Pokkén Tournament” is a spinoff title where players travel to the new region of Ferrum to compete in the Ferrum League. Upon arrival, players select their partner Pokémon out of 14 available Pokémon, customize their character, and then are brought through a tutorial by the in-game character Nia. After that, the world is open for exploration.
There are six locations players can visit in game: “My Town” where you can customize your player; “Online Battle” where you can battle other players online; “Local Battle” where you can play with a friend using a second controller; “Practice” where you can practice your moves; “Single Battle” where you can battle CPUs; and the “Ferrum League” where you can progress through the games story.
In the Ferrum League, players start off as a Rank D trainer and have to battle through League Matches to level up their rank until they can enter the tournament at Rank 8 or lower. If gamers successfully beat the tournament, they can go on to fight the Promotion Test Leader. If players beat them as well, they can rank up to Rank C, Rank B, and so on.
There are several Leagues starting off with Green League. If players complete all of the leagues, they will become the league champions.
Battling in “Pokkén Tournament” is good for a first time fighting game; however, things could be improved. When player’s Pokémon are knocked down, there is no way to safely recover and get up. The best players can do is try to guard before the opponent can land a hit. Because of this, players can spam certain moves that stagger opponents, making it so they get stuck in an infinite loop of damage with barely any way to escape.
Each player can choose a Support Team to help them throughout the battle. Each support team comes with two support Pokémon. Players can choose one per round, and once their support gauge is full, they can call them in in order to perform a move to either knock back a foe, stun them, lower their attack or defense, along with many more varying effects.
“Synergy” is a new term utilized throughout this game. Players collect synergy throughout a battle, and when their Synergy Gauge is full, they can either mega evolve their Pokémon or have them get an increase in power depending on whether they have a mega form or not. When in Synergy Mode, a player’s Pokémon will have increased stats, new move sets, and they are allowed a Burst Attack where, if it hits, a cut scene starts where they perform their ultimate move.
Overall, “Pokkén Tournament” is a decent fighting style game that is sure to be a lot of fun for long time fans of the franchise. It puts a different perspective on Pokémon battles and really immerses gamers into the battle.