Pokkén Tournament DX (2017)

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“I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.”
Pokémon the Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back!

 

 

on1 “The following is a guest post by The Valiant Vision Mage.”

Some people never picked up the original title (Pokkén Tournament) in the Wii U era, while others are wondering whether picking up the Nintendo Switch version is worth the double-dip. For the former, I’d recommend it if you enjoy Pokémon. For the latter, if you’re not at least 85% (or so) satisfied with the original, but would like to see the game with some improvements, this should be right up your alley.

Pokkén Tournament DX, while not a Pokémon MMO, is that second game that Pokémon fans had been anticipating for a long time: a real-time Pokémon Fighter. With mostly popular characters from every generation of Pokémon so far, this should be a hit among most fans of the series. All playable characters are shown above.

Being a 2D AND 3D fighter, this game has a lot of depth to it. Its mechanic that shifts between 2D and 3D phases upon a successful grab or special combo also helps to prevent “infinites,” or combos that are impossible to get out of. It does so by changing each players moveset to fit the new phase more appropriately along with sending the player being hit further away. In fact, only one infinite has been found so far to my knowledge, and that was patched-out pretty quickly in the Wii U version. There are still none to be seen in the Nintendo Switch version.

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A new element that arrives on the scene in the original Wii U game is Synergy. Synergy can be collected or earned in battle and used to upgrade your form and use an “ultimate” attack. An “ultimate,” speaking in terms of a general fighting game, is like a super-powered move that can only be used on occasion. In Pokkén Tournament DX, “Synergy Burst” is a form-change executed by pressing L and R while having a full Synergy Gauge simultaneously, and pressing those buttons again once per form-change uses your  “Synergy Burst Attack.” If the attack hits, a considerably powered move is automatically activated.

There’s at least some trivia inside the game as well. For example, did you know that Machamp can punch 1000 times per second according to a Pokédex entry? While that’s not entirely true in this game, his Synergy Burst Attack deals a 1000-hit combo. The next bit, while not trivia of any Pokémon, and is likely a coincidence, is funny nonetheless when thought about in detail. This game’s exclusive form of the Pokémon Mewtwo, being Shadow Mewtwo, has a Synergy Burst Attack that looks like something straight out of an anime and deals a 9999-hit combo. That’s “over 9000” if you didn’t get the joke.

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Even some of the simpler things of Pokémon are in this game as well, along with many elements from Tekken. Every Pokémon has at least one move taken straight from the Tekken series (such as Pikachu having an uppercut-like move that Tekken’s Angel has), and many attacks are actual Pokémon moves (such as Charizard’s Fire-Punch or Mewtwo’s Hyper Beam). Even stat changes and status effects are implemented in a sense, in the form of buffs and de-buffs (power-ups and… power-downs?) through being hit by a move or Support Pokémon, or using a move or Support Pokémon. Support Pokémon will be explained in the “Gameplay” section of the 8-Bit review.

What’s so great about the upgrade from Pokkén Tournament though, besides it being on the Nintendo Switch? This game has everything that matters in multiplayer unlocked from the start, five characters that weren’t in the Wii U version, a new support set, much better multiplayer, new game modes, a replay feature for multiplayer, and a few other minor things. It also will likely have support through updates continued, such as balance-patches.

Now how good is each aspect of the game?

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The 8-Bit Review
visualVisuals: 8/10
I always thought Lucario (on the right) had colored skin, with fur around the middle of his body, but when I got a closer look, I could see that it’s all fur.

The Pokémon (especially the playable fighters) look far better than ever before. Finally having high-definition textures allows one to see what material the exterior of a Pokémon is composed of. Light also reflects off of the main objects/entities in the game appropriately. Scizor is a steel-type, and his armor shines.

The GUI of the game is great also. It simulates what one would see if this was being broadcasted as an eSport.

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The only bad thing about the graphics is the characters in the background. They seem almost like 2-dimensional objects with rotating textures sometimes. With this one exception, the game has excellent graphics!

audioAudio: 9/10
Much of the music in this game is memorable, from “Tellur Town” to “Dragon’s Nest” to the theme of “Synergy Burst”.

The sound-effects are done well also. Seemingly every move has an appropriate sound-effect.

The only bad audio-related aspect is the player’s advisor, Nia, who speaks far too often about obvious or useless things unless you change the settings. Seeing as she can be turned off however, one could then say there’s nothing wrong with the audio.

gameplayGameplay: 10/10
A game of Pokkén Tournament DX (also known as a Ferrum Battle, as it takes place in the Ferrum region) starts with fighter selection (the Pokémon one fights as), Support selection (the Pokémon that can be called in for a bit of help, either by attacking, setting a trap for the opponent, or enhancing the player when the Support gauge is full), Cheer Skill Selection (what bonus one gets between rounds, such as Synergy Gauge up or Support Gauge to maximum), and finally Stage selection (where both players fight).

As the battle starts, the Pokémon make their entry and the player selects the support Pokémon they want that round from their support set. The Field Phase (or time in a certain perspective) for a 3D battle begins. If a player takes enough hits, is hit by a long enough combo, or is hit with certain moves (such as a grab), the phase changes. The other phase is Duel Phase, from a 2D perspective, and can be shifted similarly back to 3D. In the shift from 3D to 2D, if the Pokémon who caused the shift has taken damage recently enough, they may recover some upon the shift. When a Pokémon is knocked out or time runs out, the round is over. Once a player wins two rounds with their Pokémon, they win the game.

Here’s a gameplay demonstration:

And that’s just the core-gameplay, there are two other modes that can be played along with the Ferrum League and Daily Challenge. These modes include Extra Battle, where there are buffs and de-buffs laid over the field at times, and Team battle, where each player picks three Pokémon, and each player’s Pokémon keep going one-at-a-time until all three of one player’s Pokémon are knocked-out.

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The Ferrum League has 4 Leagues and is hiding a few secrets. It also has an achievement system on a per-league basis. The player’s in-game advisor explains how the Ferrum League works above.

My original go-to Pokémon was Pikachu Libre (Pikachu cosplaying as a luchador, a type of Mexican wrestler, found in this form in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire). Pikachu Libre was my favorite form of Pikachu from the games it was in. It had some wrestler style moves that changed the way this alternate Pikachu played almost completely. One of its moves, Double-Team, caused certain moves to phase through it and then it had the option to charge forward by pressing the button again.

accessibilityAccessibility: 7/10
In terms of pulling off one move, this game is somewhere- between the simplicity of the Super Smash Bros. series and most other fighting games. The player must choose a direction (relative to the direction the fighter is facing) and press an attack button or button-combination to unleash an attack. Going in-between phases gives the player mostly different moves to fit the environment of 2D or 3D, such as weak attacks becoming “ranged” attacks and strong attacks becoming “homing” attacks (attacks that automatically track the opponent) when shifting from 2D to 3D, but this also gives the game more depth and strategy.

Special combos are trickier to pull off, though. The direction you’re holding, the button you press, the time you press it, and sometimes how long you hold it down are all things that matter. The game feels like it’s forgiving in terms of input-speed, but this sometimes doesn’t help or may even hinder trying to input a button combination with precise timing, if the input-speed forgiveness is indeed a mechanic.

Something to remember, that is highly recommended but often skipped, is the tutorial section. It can teach the player every move of every character. While not every detail of every move, it at least it tells you all the moves the Pokémon can use.

diffChallenge: 9/10

Difficulty

While the Ferrum League starts out easy, it gets more and more difficult. The first league is almost a breeze, but as one goes on, one must push harder and harder to become better.

Pokkén Tournament only had three selectable difficulties, where Pokkén Tournament DX adds “Very Easy” and “Very Hard” as options. Unfortunately, there’s nothing in-between each two of these five options. The difference between each difficulty may be a bit too much.

An extra challenge can be to learn how to fight at an intermediate level as every character. Part of doing so may be taking part in the daily challenge, where one must win a certain number of matches with the Pokémon being chosen for them on any day the challenge is taken.

multiplayerMultiplayer: 7/10
Multiplayer can be experienced in a few different fashions: Local Play, in which players can either share the first player’s perspective, or split-screen…

Wireless Play, where players can connect two systems and games together, each with their own perspective. Online Play, where one can play Ranked Battle, Friendly Battle where one can set a password and/or limit to friends only, and Group Battle, where one can create their own ranked group. And Event Mode, where a player can hold B, X, Down, and press L+R on the title screen and enter LAN mode.

The multiplayer in this game is fun, but player’s will either have to deal with sharing a perspective, splitting the screen, or having two systems. It’s exciting, just not convenient.

uniqueUniqueness: 9/10
Has a 2D and 3D fighting game ever been developed and become this popular? Has Pokémon ever had an official fighting game? Of course there’s the Tekken series, of course there are 3D fighters, of course there are Pokémon games, but is this our first crossover of even two of the three of them?

pgradeMy Personal Grade: 9/10
Personally, I LOVE Pokkén Tournament DX (except that none of my friends have it). It adds everything I felt was missing from the Wii U title, Pokkén Tournament, which I already liked quite a lot. With updates continuing (supposedly), I’m REALLY excited to get into another tournament sooner or later, as I had been only to a fairly small tournament before. Each tournament setup is in LAN mode, which is ideal for the player by giving them their own screen. I didn’t experience much there, but part of what I did experience was getting to be social with other Pokémon fans. I still have the Pokkén Pro Pad from the Wii U era, which is the only tournament-legal controller. But what I love most is that it uses my favorite franchise as its characters and theme, and even more, sharing the experience with friends.

And what Pokémon fan never wanted to battle their friends in real-time?

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Aggregated Score: 8.5

 

The Valiant Vision Mage wants to be part of changing the future of gaming journalism. He enjoys more than anything the positive interactions with fellow gamers, and hopes to gain more interaction through blogging about his experiences with games. He puts the experience of a game higher than how it looks or sounds. So when it comes to talking about good experiences in gaming, you may run into the Valiant Vision Mage. Read more at lodestarvalor.wordpress.com.

 

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26 thoughts on “Pokkén Tournament DX (2017)

  1. Seems like they gave Pokken Tournament the true “deluxe” treatment with all those add-ons. I never had a WiiU but passed on this as I’m not into fighting games per se, but man, watching the game be played is super exciting. I still think it’s a solid half of a Pokemon MMO that would be amazing, and with the big world of Breath of the Wild they may be on to something here! 😉

    The whole game itself looks amazing and the sheer amount of details that go into Pokemon games never ceases to blow my mind. By the looks of it, it falls into the “easy to pick up, difficult to master” which seems to be the hot spot that every fighter aims to hit. Add to that the Pokemon “vibe” and it’s a great concept in theory. I was happy they remade it for Switch despite my disinterest, since so many missed out on it by not having a WiiU. More money in the pocket = more Pokemon action on the Switch!

    Great review by the way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the feedback!
      It certainly is “easy to pick up, difficult to master,” and I was excited to an unbelievable extent when I saw the announcement of both the Wii U and Switch versions (I own both versions by the way).
      I’m still going to give Pokémon Ultra Moon a try, but I’m certainly excited for whatever the new Switch game ends up being!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Tekken, and have always liked the idea of Pokémon more than the games themselves, so I was excited when this was first announced for the WII U. Kind of wish I’d waited to get it now though, as although the Switch version sounds like an improvement (I was a bit disappointed with the way the local multiplayer worked on the Wii U), I’m not sure I want to shell out for the same game twice. Probably will eventually though!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The thing about Pokken Tournament DX that I love, is that it seems to be easy to play but hard to master in the long run. Plus with over 800, there is potential for growth in future patches.

    I enjoyed reading this review and look forward to more. Pokémon is good and I can only hope they expand on what the next will be on the Switch.

    Stay Cozy and have a nice day!

    Liked by 2 people

      • I will say it varies from generation to generation of how the games themselves have evolved with the franchise. So the idea and concept has been the same since 1996 when it came out, there is very little change other than more emphasis on storytelling…but that is in the main game of course (got side tracked there for a second).

        With Pokken Tournament DX, the idea of Pokémon actually fighting each other in the mostly same style as coloseum…just this being a true fighting game with turn based gameplay? I love it, it’s something I wanted to see since Smash Bros on N64, where I played Pikachu versus a Jigglypuff with my friend. The gameplay on the other hand is very simple in its design, so like Smash Bros, Tekken or Street Fighter, it is easier to get into playing them. Yet there is a clear ceiling of skill level that is required if you want to go Fight Club, rather than staying with the masses of casual fighters.

        What is it for you? Idea/Concept or the gameplay? 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • I enjoy the concept more because it’s allowed the franchise to evolve (it’s tough not to use that word when talking about Pokémon) into more than just the main games, but also these side-games, the TCG, the anime, and the manga (I’ve barely touched this one)

          Liked by 2 people

          • It’s good to see that there’s a slowly but steady increase in viewership of the game. Which potentially can make it more than just a spin-off of the main series.
            However, some may say the manga is good…honestly I got bored of it after about 100 chapters, but I do recommend at least trying it out 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

        • I’m going to chime in on this conversation! 😀 I’ve always felt that the Pokémon RPGs were driven by conceptual gameplay, to combine both thoughts together. Collecting Pokémon and training them is essentially all there is in the core RPGs and that is also the main concept of the game, there are animals you catch and train. It’s supremely addicting simply because there are so many of the creatures to catch. It’s like an RPG based on collection maintenance where you can have a party selected out of several hundred characters. The many, many cheap knock offs of Pokémon prove that the series hit a real measure of success. I mean, Pokémon Go upon launch was unlike anything I’d ever seen in gaming since the schoolyards of the 90’s.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Well said!
            I also find that the concept is more than what’s immediately obvious, as it drives the story of a fictional world. An example would be “What if a Pokémon battle started a forest fire?” That’s where the Pokémon Ranger comes in (I know that’s a side series, but it’s still part of that world).

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oh hey mate, glad you could join in 😁
            I agree that when Pokémon GO went live was an incredible feat for Niantic, the core gameplay on the main games other hand, has become more simplistic and streamlined to a much more wider audience than before. It might also have to do with, that it was their 20th anniversary (man I feel old when thinking about it). Which is why I so hope that the next game will be having a little more in its punches when it releases on the Switch.

            I still enjoy Pokémon to this day, but with the way games have changed. Maybe it could be good for the main series to adapt with it’s more older and mature audiences. However, I’m not an expert on this.
            Here’s to 10 more years with the series and what they have in store 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for the write up and welcome aboard, VV Mage! The release of this game actually passed me right by and I didn’t realize it was out already. It seems like Nintendo has been rocking critically acclaimed 1st party games thus far on the Switch. Have you happened to catch a sniff of the general consensus surrounding this game?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m really not sure, I see plenty of people saying it isn’t worth getting, or isn’t worth the upgrade, but I’ve also seen that many people prefer this over the main games and trading card game (from a competitive point of view)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m thinking along the same lines as the recent Mario Kart 8 Deluxe upgrade from the Wii U version. In that case, a lot of people never owned the Wii U anyway (like me) so the upgrade is a nice chance to snag the game otherwise. I’m not big on fighters otherwise I’d probably pick this up. I AM excited for the Pokémon core RPG they announced for the Switch though!

        Liked by 1 person

        • That sounds about right.
          While I’m also excited for the Switch title, I’m going to give Ultra Sun/Moon a fair chance first. They supposedly aren’t adding as much as even a remake would, but they do seem to be adding more than the frequent “third game.”

          Liked by 1 person

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