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‘Pokken: A new way to Pokemon

Mar 18, 2016

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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PokkenWhat do you get when you mash up Tekken and Pokemon? You get Pokkén Tournament, an arcade brawler in which you don’t have to “catch them all” but instead you have to beat them all…to a pulp.

Well, not exactly, as Pokkén Tournament is a family friendly title where the Pokemon battles are for fun and glory not to maim and destroy like, let’s say, Mortal Kombat.

When picking a battle, you have the choice of competing against the A.I. in championship tournaments, taking on players from around the world or sparring against a pal or family member in a local battle. The bouts can be friendly or ranked.

PokkenOn the Ferrum Region map, you can also go to My Town, your base of operations, where you can change your Pokemon, check your battle record and employ any of the unlockables you have collected.

As a trainer, you have a roster of 14 starter Pokemon. They are Blaziken, Pikachu, Lucario, Gardevoir, Sceptile, Gengar, Machamp, Braixen, Chandelure, Suicune, Weavile, Charizard and Garchomp. The game also comes with a Shadow Mewtwo amiibo card.

You also have Support Sets of Pokemon. The Supports Sets are in pairs. You begin with Emolga and Fennekin, and, Snivy and Lapras. You can unlock more Support Sets on your way to becoming a League Champion.

Set in different environments and settings, which don’t seem to alter the powers of the Pokemon, the skirmishes are held in arenas bordered by an impenetrable force field. In the Tekken-ish combat, you can jump, use ranged, close quarters attacks and powerful combos that power up as you pound your enemy into submission.

PokkenIf you build up the Support metre enough, you can call in one of your allies to deliver a blistering attack. Powering up the Synergy Gauge allows you to mega evolve your Pokemon on the battlefield and unleash devastating special attacks.

It should be noted that the traditional rock, paper, scissors element to Pokemon combat doesn’t seem to have any effect in Pokkén Tournament as far as the type of Pokemon, at least there was none I could see. Instead, it is the type of attack you choose that figures into that element. For instance, Normal Attacks always lose out to Counter Attacks.

Just like the various games in the Pokemon series, each League has a Pokemon Master and there can also be a boss battle. When you defeat the Green League Pokemon Master, Shadow Mewtwo arrives in a spectacular fashion to put you to the test. All of the 3-D renderings and animated attacks look fantastic and are in keeping with the characters fans have known and loved for 20 years.

PokkenOne new wrinkle Pokken adds to the traditional brawler formula is your advisor, Nia. Part cheerleader, part mentor, part pain in the butt, Nia never fades away offering advice and wisdom during and after battles. Her encouragement can have an effect on the battle though. Her actions can fill the Synergy Gauge faster or allow you to call in your Support Pokemon immediately. Although she is as annoying as Chansey, she is also indispensable as she can often give you that competitive edge you may need.

If you happen to have any amiibos, they will come in handy too as you can scan them in to receive daily bonuses and collectibles.

Even though it is not the comprehensive Pokemon experience that the Wii’s Pokemon Battle Revolution was, Pokken Tournament for the Wii U has all the full-tilt action and intensity that will have fighting game fans gleefully mashing their controllers.

PokkenPokken Tournament
Format: Wii U
Publisher: The Pokémon Company
Developer: Bandai Namco Entertainment
ESRB Rating: E 10+

Official Site:

Rating: 7 / 10

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