Pokken Tournament DX Review
Pokken Tournament was a much loved game on the Nintendo Wii U, but not one that many people bought into and spent much time with. Trying to bank on the success of the arcade cabinets in Japan, Nintendo made the decision to bring the game to consoles, with much success in Japan, and moderate success in North America. With a subsequent DX release on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo is looking to expand the player base even further, with many new features that will make this a must own for Nintendo Swtich fans, even those skeptical about the title on Wii U!
Our own Daniel Fugate reviewed Pokken Tournament on the Nintendo Wii U last year, and for the most part, enjoyed it, giving the game a 9.5/10. It was a fantastic title and sold modestly well. However, the game didn’t have the legs we all hoped it would, probably because of the lack of solid online features that are now present in the deluxe version of the game.
Everything Open from the Start
Unlike the Wii U release, Nintendo made sure to open up every character from the get-go, allowing you to not only experiment with Pokémon you might not otherwise try, but also let you select your favorite Pokémon right away and begin that investment from the tutorials forward. The tutorials in Pokken Tournament DX are outstanding, and while it seems very complicated as you play through them all, it will come naturally to you as you play.
Chosing to not play through the games tutorials is fine, as the entire world of Pokken Tournament DX is open to you from the beginning. Note, online modes were available at the start, but not accessible as per Nintendo’s direction until launch day. Whether you want to jump into the story and begin playing through the various leagues, or go online, you can do whatever you want after moving past the game’s title screen. Intiially, I was disappointed there wasn’t some type of progression path, but once I saw the benefit of having all 21 Pokémon available from the beginning – 5 more than the original release on Wii U – I realized it was a smart move.
Gameplay Largely the Same
Between the Wii U and Nintendo Switch versions of the game, very little has changed. You still swap between Dual Phase and Field Phase, using specific moves to swap between those modes to best suite your own strategy. In Dual Phase, players will go head-to-head on a 2D plane, allowing for more direct combat opportunities. In Field Phase, players can move around the battle arena freely, which is great for repositioning yourself for the fights next action.
Controls are easy to understand and easy to master as well. You will learn all the basics: strong attack, weak attack, grab attack, and counter attacks. While these moves are the same for every Pokémon, the actual attacks they perform are tailored to the Pokémon you select.
Support Pokémon are back, and include new support not previously available, such as Litten and Popplio. Support Pokémon can be the difference between winning or losing, so taking the time to look through the numerous options and picking what will work best for you is important to your overall success.
Reasons to Keep Playing
Generally, games lock content behind progression to keep you playing, but Nintendo is confident that they’ve provided enough content throughout to have you playing long after launch, without things tied to progression. One of the newest additions to the game is Daily Challenges, an obvious reason to come back day-after-day.
Daily Challenges will give you a specific task that must be completed, with a specific Pokémon. Not only will daily challenges push you to try out and spend time leveling up different Pokémon, but it also gives you a reason to stop in every day and play, even if you only spend 5-10 minutes completing that days challenge.
My new favorite addition to Pokken Tournament DXis the 3v3 battles, which allows players to choose three Pokémon and battle it out until you’ve either defeated all of the enemy Pokémon or lost all of yours. Unlike other games that utilize a multi-character battle format, Pokken Tournament DX allows you to choose which Pokémon will enter the field of battle next, rather than requiring you to set them up prior to the fight starting. This mode has taken up the majority of my time and I cannot recommend it enough.
We cannot assign a score to Pokken Tournament DX yet because of the inability to test out the online features. That being said, Pokken Tournament DX is offering up better, more optimized online content than was available in the Wii U version, including ranked battles online. This will be huge for the hardcore Pokken Tournament fans; I cannot wait to go online myself and see how well I fair against some of the better Pokken players across the world.
If you’ve already played Pokken Tournament on the Wii U, the deluxe version might seem like a hard sell for you. Rest assured, however, that Nintendo went above and beyond to make this a true deluxe experience, with tons of new additions: new battle modes, new Pokémon to play with, new maps to play on, and so much more! We will finalize this review of Pokken Tournament DX just after launch when we have a chance to play with the online features, but for now, we are giving Pokken Tournament DX a score of 8.5/10!