Fighting game fans who also happened to be Wii U owners were given one hell of a surprise in 2016, with the release of Pokken Tournament. Fast-forward one year, and the game’s community of followers are eager to hear about the release dates for any potential DLC, possibly arriving in 2017. Below, we’re going to lay out all of the relevant details surrounding these rumors, and hopefully, shed some light on just why Pokken Tournament has become such a popular game.
Even if you’ve never tried this game before, we’re going to bet that you’ll want to, after hearing about it. The Pokemon franchise has never been more popular, and Pokken Tournament has upped the ante in a big way!
Rumors had run rampant about Pokken Tournament before it’s release. Though many fans thought they knew what to expect from the game, few of them anticipated that it was going to be so damn fun. In truth, maybe we all should have! The features and gameplay elements that make up this fighting game have been telegraphed for years, often through other franchises. After all, though Pokken Tournament is populated by familiar characters, they’re hardly in a recognizable gameplay setting.
Unless, of course, you’re a fan of a different franchise…
What is Pokken Tournament?
If you’ve never played it, you might be quick to just call Pokken Tournament another Pokemon game. It has Pokemon in it. They fight in arenas. All of their moves and abilities will be familiar to longtime fans of the franchise.
But interestingly, the similarities end there.
While the Pokemon series has long involved fantasy critters doing battle against one another, traditional Pokemon games involve teams of monsters controlled by a “trainer.” They swap in and out of combat, taking turns attacking each other. Main games in the franchise are more about strategy than they are about quick reflexes. Pokken Tournament, on the other hand, is much more of a traditional fighting game.
In fact, it’s easiest to explain Pokken Tournament not from an examination of the Pokemon franchise, but by looking at another series of games from developer Bandai Namco — Tekken.
The Tekken series has been around since the original PlayStation, and it was one of the first games to embrace both 3D graphics and 3D space in the fighting game genre. Two combatants face off against each other within an arena, but unlike in 2D games, characters can move from side to side, in addition to forward and back. Each fighter had a distinct set of moves and abilities, along with cool backstories and animations. There’s a reason that it’s one of the most beloved franchises on the PlayStation series of consoles.
Pokken Tournament Gameplay
Pokken Tournament, then, follows the exact same formula as Tekken (hence the play on the games’ names.) You pick a single Pokemon monster to fight in the arena, which you’ll control the movement of. You’ll face off against other monsters in traditional fighting game styles, attacking, blocking, countering, and executing button combinations to pull off awesome moves.
It’s much more fast-paced than your usual Pokemon game, but that doesn’t make it bad — that makes it a breath of fresh air that the Pokemon franchise needed.
How Is it Different from Other Pokemon Games?
Just as we’ve stated above, it’d be hard for Pokken Tournament to be more different from a main entry in the Pokemon franchise. In a traditional Pokemon game, you follow a linear storyline, as your trainer travels a region, collecting and battling Pokemon as they go. There are clear antagonists and protagonists, but the primary draw and appeal are the collecting and training of monsters.
That’s not present in Pokken Tournament, which is much more of a traditional fighting game in every sense. On the other hand, it’s not quite as intricate and technical as your usual Tekken game. It strikes a happy medium in difficulty and complexity, which is very important. Many fans of your usual Pokemon games don’t want a game with an exceptionally steep learning curve. They’re looking for something with deep, rich, explorable features, but a more casual sense of difficulty.
Release Date & Reception
Striking that sweet spot did wonders for Pokken Tournament, upon its release. Many doubted whether or not it would be a good game at all, being that neither Pokemon or Tekken fans had asked for it. Regardless of that, the game was something of a sleeper hit in 2016, and the most limiting factor in its success was the console that it released on — the underperforming and lesser-regarded Wii U. An understandable move, since Pokemon games have always lived on Nintendo consoles but disappointing news for owners of other systems.
DLC & Updates
Another thing that Pokken Tournament fans have wanted for a long time is some hint of downloadable content (DLC.) Thus far, Bandai Namco hasn’t released any word of whether or not players should expect any. And unfortunately, we’re not able to shed any extra light on the ambiguity of that situation.
Like many Pokken Tournament fans, all that we’ve got is speculation. And more than a year after the game’s original release on Wii U, the possibility of getting any new DLC is becoming less and less. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t a reason to get excited…
Future Pokken Tournament Games
Without a doubt, the excellent reception of Pokken Tournament was heard by Bandai Namco, as well as Nintendo and Game Freak. All of the companies that had fingers in the development of this title will almost certainly want to replicate that success with the continuation of a spinoff franchise. Therefore, even if there isn’t much hope that we’re going to see any DLC release date for Pokken Tournament, there’s a great chance that we’re going to see a sequel, eventually.
And “eventually” is the operating word, here, because we don’t have any news about when that could be, either. Only a high point of speculation that it’s very likely to happen.
Of course, there are more reasons to be excited than that. Nintendo has been in the news quite a lot, recently, following the landmark success of their most recent console’s release. The Nintendo Switch has been kicking ass to such a degree that hasn’t been seen since the days of the Nintendo Wii. And that’s saying quite a lot. It’s a hybrid home/portable system that’s designed to provide console-quality experiences while players are on the go, and the majority of feedback is that Nintendo has struck gold with the concept.
On top of that, the control schemes are dynamic, tactile, and accurate — everything that you could ask for if you’re designing controls for a fighting game.
Will we see Pokken Tournament on the Nintendo Switch, then? Speculation almost certainly points to “yes,” and since the Switch will be Nintendo’s primary console moving forward, it’s definitely a reason to get hyped!
There’s one thing that you should keep in mind, however — a lack of DLC doesn’t do anything to detract from Pokken Tournament being a very good fighting game. And whether you’ve just started playing it, or you still need convincing, we’ve assembled a few handy tips that will help you to fight better when you come up against difficult opponents.
- Dash Smart: Early in the game, you’ll learn how to dash. It allows you to slip forward and backward — toward and away — from your opponent with a quick burst of speed. However, by taking advantage of a dash right after a counter-attack, you can perform a Counter Attack Dash Cancel (CADC), a popular move in many different fighting games.
- Anti-Air Defense: Most people learn how to defend against head-on attacks, first. They’re easy to read, have exaggerated telegraphs, and are almost always very flashy. Which means that quick aerial attacks can often slip past your defenses. In Pokken Tournament, you beat this with your High Stance. Combine Up with Y to perform an aerial counterattack, and Up with X to perform your own aerial attack, to hopefully slip past your opponent’s defenses.
- Character Perfection: Here’s one that will save your butt in almost every fighting game — learn the moves and abilities of a particular character, the one that you feel you’re the very best with. And with that character, learn how to defend against, and overcome, all of the others. Though it might sound like fun to experience the entire character roster, you’ll become a better Pokken Tournament player if you master one Pokemon, first.
It’s quite possible that we simply won’t see any DLC for Pokken Tournament, in spite it being such a well-received game. No release dates for further content, sequels, or new versions of the game have been announced. Thus, we must suffice with simply having a great fighting game available on the Wii U. And if early adopters of Nintendo’s newest console are lucky, they might just see a version of Pokken Tournament released for that, too. If you have any questions about the game, or want to offer gameplay tips of your own, chime in through the comments section below!