Pokken Tournament Releases March 18th

In the ongoing 20th anniversary celebration of the original Pokemon games, Nintendo have announced that Pokken Tournament will be ready to fight on the 18th of March. Pokken Tournament is a 1v1 fighting game, where many of your favourite Pokemon gear up to beat the ever-loving tar out of each other, without being constrained to only using 4 moves and politely waiting for their opponent to finish their turn before attacking you. It’s being pitched as somewhere between Tekken and the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm games, by having a 3D arena with plenty of combos for players to pull off, but also having screen filled special moves and assist Pokemon that can buff your character or debuff the enemy.

Personally, I doubt it is going to be a proper competitive fighter on the same lines as Tekken, seeing as it has all of these assists and crazy special moves which make Pokken Tournament seem more like a fun party fighter, with some kind of detailed single player mode like most Pokemon games. It’s probably going to to be balanced towards fun rather than competitive viability, so I don’t imagine we’ll see Pokken Tournament on the roster at EVO any time soon. It isn’t helped by the current control method for Pokken, where the special licensed controller made by Hori and modeled off the arcade controller, can only be used by one player while the other is forced to use the gamepad and tablet screen. This is mainly due to Pokken’s camera being focused in a third person view behind your Pokemon, rather than giving you a side on view of both fighters where you can clearly see what each fighter is doing. Unless this control issue is rectified or there is a special ‘Tournament’ mode where Pokken switches to the traditional fighting game side on view, I can’t see it becoming a rival to the likes of Street Fighter or even Smash.

You cannot fault Pokken’s roster however, containing a massive swathe of different Pocket Monsters. Some make clear sense like Lucario, Blaziken and Machamp while fighters like Suicine and Chandelure seem like incredibly weird picks for a fighting game. How can a floating lighting fixture go up against Mewtwo or a jet dragon like Garchomp? There seems like there are more characters yet to be announced so my hopes for Hitmonchan, Hitmonlee and Hawlucha are still alive for now. Expect a few more bits of information about Pokken Tournament, before its release in early March.