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Pokken Tournament (2015)

Games like Super Smash Bros. help to settle disputes by allowing fans to pit some of the most iconic characters in gaming against one another in an all out brawl. While Nintendo mainstays like Mario and Link are no-brainer additions to that roster, however, narrowing down which Pokemon will be playable is a much more challenging task.

Every iteration of the crossover-fueled beat ‘em up has to leave a lot of Pocket Monsters by the wayside, and understandably so, which is why a Pokemon-exclusive fighting game is something fans have wanted for quite some time – cue Pokken Tournament.

It’s for this reason that fans were understandably excited by the prospect of Pokken Tournament. The new title being spearheaded by Bandai Namco and a pair of legendary producers for the Tekken and Soul Calibur series, Katsuhiro Harada and Masaaki Hoshino, has only been confirmed to arrive in Japanese arcades thus far. That said, a slew of new details have arrived that confirm three new additions to the game’s lineup of playable characters, a few more tidbits of gameplay information, and evidence that this new fight title is being built with the Wii U in mind.

First and foremost, it was announced that Pikachu, Gardevoir and Suicune would all be joining the list of controllable combatants. Given the prominence of Pikachu (Pokemon‘s cutesy yellow mascot) there was little doubt that the creature would be playable in Pokken Tournament, while the fan-favorite Gardevoir is another addition that many won’t find shocking. Suicune, on the other hand, was a bit of a surprising announcement, and it seems to indicate that the Pokemon is still riding on the fact that it was the cover star of Pokemon Crystal.

As was touched on earlier, it’s just not possible to feature a playable iteration of every single Pokemon because there are just too many of them. Still, the team at Bandai Namco will be implementing as many creatures as they can in the form of support characters. During the live stream that confirmed all of this new game info, it was announced that Lapras, Emolga, Snivy, and Fenniken will all be assist options for players; so they can be summoned into battle to help give players the upper-hand.

Meanwhile, Bandai Namco also demonstrated just how the new fighting game will play. As it turns out, it’ll be much different from Tekken, utilizing a more three-dimensional field of movement during some portions of the fight. This is aspect of play is initiated during the beginning of match and is known as ‘field phase’ mode, but the game will jump into a more traditional sideview once the two hostile Pokemon get closer to one another – this is called ‘dual phase’ mode.

Shielding will also be different in order to deal with the difference in size between each character, instead function much more like Super Smash Bros. than traditional fighting games. What this means is that a monster’s block will erode over time and can diminish if it takes too many hits. Given the rock, paper, scissors philosophy that’s in play within Pokken Tournament (blocks beat strikes,  grabs beat blocks, and strikes beat grabs) this seems like the most engaging route for the title to take.

Pokken Tournament Controller

Last, but not least, the controller for the upcoming Pokken Tournament arcade cabinets was shown off, and its layout will look very familiar to Wii U owners. The buttons on the controller are almost identical to the GamePad, which means that it’s very likely the game will eventually be brought to Nintendo’s current home console. Of course, the Big N and The Pokemon Company have yet to confirm that it will be ported, but it would be a bizarre move to keep the fighting game an arcade exclusive.

What do you think of the new additions to Pokken Tournament‘s roster? Would you pick up a Wii U version of the game?

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