PJN in JPN: Hands-on with Pokkén Tournament

With Pokkén Tournament having launched a week ago, I figured it was time for me to try this new arcade game and see how it played. For the trip I also recruited a fellow Pokémon fan and friend to come with me since I knew I’d need an extra pair of hands for filming. We stopped in the Taito Station arcade near Shinjuku station hoping that they would have the new machines. Luckily we saw signs advertising the game right away. There were four game stations and they were all occupied when we got there, but there was a helpful row of stools for those waiting to play.There was also a free pamphlet explaining the game controls and battle techniques which we read while waiting. Please keep in mind for the rest of the article that I’m not familiar with fighting games and casual Super Smash Bros. play is about the extent of my dabbles in the genre.

Out of the eight playable Pokémon (Pikachu, Lucario, Gardevoir, Machamp, Charizard, Weavile, Suicune, and Gengar) I decided to start with the speed-based fighter Weavile. Controls were pretty basic with more advanced combos available. You had a weak attack, strong attack, character attack, jump, block, guard and the option to call in a support Pokémon or use a Burst Attack when their respective gauges filled. Moving around the circular arena wasn’t too difficult, especially with Weavile and its impressive agility. For the first game I absolutely did not know how to do anything. Shamefully, I will admit it was just blind button mashing. Unsurprisingly, I quickly lost two matches to my opponent who was using Suicune.

The controller is incredibly simple in design, featuring a directional pad on the left side, four buttons on the right, a start button in the middle and a left and right trigger on the back. It doesn’t look too pretty, but it gets the job done while playing. I would have preferred an analog stick, but perhaps fighting aficionados would rather have the simple d-pad. Not something I can really comment on and I welcome your feedback on that point below in the comments.

For my second set of matches I chose Gengar who had considerably less mobility, but more interesting attacks. Mega Gengar is also accessible as your Burst Attack and packs more of a punch. There’s also a fun finisher which has him swallowing up an opponent that I unfortunately didn’t get in the video. I really enjoyed pulling off the move in which he stunned the opponent and jumped into the ground in order to pop up behind them and attack. Gengar’s mischievous personality shone through in the moves that he was given and in his fighting style.

IMG_1103I enjoyed the differences in how both Weavile and Gengar played and it definitely made me want to play more in order to really get a feel for how all of the fighters differed and which one might feel the best for me. After the battle you’ll get a score of your performance and also some currency, which I assume can be used to unlock items to customize your experience if you use the passport card.

Matchmaking was quick for each of my battles. The first time I was paired with another player somewhere in Japan, but for the second battle it exceeded the 10 second maximum for opponent searching and paired me with a CPU. While watching others play I saw a similar mixture of both player battles and CPU sparring.

Graphically speaking, the game looks very good. The fighters are well animated and the level of detail is pretty superb. Although we’ve been able to duke it out in Super Smash Bros. as a small number of Pokémon, it is fun to see them take to the ring and face off in something other than a turn-based battle. The game does an excellent job of making these fights look very appealing to watch and satisfying to play. Nintendo and Bandai Namco should have made these shareable online, because I’m sure pro-players would be very fun to watch. We’re in an era of game streaming and it is sometimes baffling to see companies miss big opportunities for free advertising. This game especially opens the franchise to new players who may not traditionally like Pokémon games because of their RPG focus.


Overall, I had a lot of fun getting to try out the game and the fact that it only cost ¥100 per game ($0.80 USD) which consisted of 2 or 3 matches was also a good price. To those who thought, “Wow, this game would be perfect for the Wii U!”: it would be. I have no doubt a wide release on Nintendo’s console would garner a lot of fans for the title. It is a lot closer to the battles we have long seen in the anime with quick dodges and well-timed blocks being able to turn the tide of battle. I didn’t go in expecting much, but I left satisfied with the experience. Using a special card you could save your game data and also customize your trainer icon. Before playing I scoffed at the $4 price tag, but Pokkén Tournament may be getting more of my patronage in the weeks to come and being able to save my data might just be worth the extra cash.

After playing we went downstairs to the UFO catchers and I tried my luck with the one Pokémon-themed machine and, after spending ¥300 yen for 3 tries, I got one of the towels! Yay! If only it had been the Unbound Hoopa one though 🙁 Special shout-out to Adrian for coming at such short notice and helping me out!

<3 PJ

FEATURED DISCUSSION: Who’s interested in an online Pokémon League?!

  1. I’m incredibly happy this game seems to b good. I like fighting games and I love Pokemon so this is just great! I’d b super excited if this game came to home console. I…..I dare say that this game fills me with as much excitement as a main series game fills me with!! Lol

  2. Like Basti said before, this will be coming to select Dave and Busters in America as a location test! That’s actually a great place to have it!


  3. Closest one to me is about 2 hours away, and with 2 jobs, and twins who could come any day now, I can’t make thay trip :/ somebody play it for me!

  4. Alright that was just freaking not cool,
    I all did was provide a valid argument on how Physical attackers get nothing but crap while special attackers never have to worry about anything

    But like that even matters, you guys just treat it as annoying complaints but you damn well know i’m right. no matter what i say you guys just do everything in your power to say otherwise, and when i try to fight for my opinionated rights you just ban me just to shut me down

    just not cool…

    1. If it was on chat, the only person I know of that could have banned you was NL

    2. Just do what I do and run all special attackers so you don’t have to worry about the fact that physical based Pokemon suck because of the hindrances they get. For example, you could run a Marvel Scale Milotic, let that thing get burned and BAM increased defense. Or try some physical Water Veil Pokemon. You complain too much, it’s not like the world revolved around your wishes and desires. A large amount of the top Pokemon are Physical and also bulky (Conkeldur, Garchomp, Dragonite, Landorus, etc.), so the fact that they get Intimidated and Burned against is more than fine by me. Many special sweepers are frail, the ones that come to mind are MManectric, PorygonZ, Serperior. And it’s not like ALL physical Pokemon are hindered by burn either, you’ve got abilities like Guts and Quick Feet. Heck, you’ve even got Defiant on some Pokemon. Try using a Lum Berry once in a while or something. The options are THERE. YOUR problem, is that you like to run mono-ground, mono-fighting or mono-physical, which is EASY bait for will-o-wisp to run rampant or your opponent to take advantage of Intimidate. You’re not going to consistently win running mono teams, much less mono physical teams. You shut yourself down, the meta is pretty balanced imo, maybe give fairy types one extra weakness or something but in all it’s pretty fair. You have no right to complain about the meta and it’s mechanics because you want it to suit YOUR playing style instead of you ADAPTING to the current playing style. This is why you lose battle often, this is why I’ve never lost a battle to you before, because you’re not willing to make the changes needed to win so you instead want to ban and reform the whole meta to suit what you want.

      In summary. Milotic needs a mega, please.

      1. This has nothing to do with me (you ass) i’m just standing up for a unfair part of the meta, that Physical attackers get more crap from burns while Special attackers don’t gotta worry about zilch
        Yes Physical attackers do get a plethora of abilities but maybe it’s to compensate because one burn and it shuts down them
        But my point still stays more valid that Special Attackers need a equal crippling Status effect
        But now everyone’s giving me utter crap just because i’m stating a obvious giving me walls of text on how I need to improve or i have to change my methods or that it’s entirely my fault

        In summery Special Attackers need a equal crippler
        because no matter what you say i have a leg up since burns cut attack while nothing else cuts Sp Atk doesn’t sound fair does it

        1. physical attackers get crippled easily, but physical attackers have more advantages than special attackers
          E.g most physical attackers have better coverage and STAB attacks, such as knock-off, earthquake etc while most special attackers have to rely only on their STABS.
          Physical attackers also have better setup moves, almost all physical attackers can learn swords dance cuz it’s a TM, on the other hand very few Pokemon can learn nasty plot.
          Physical attackers also have dragon dance and abilities such as huge power,tough claws etc
          And in most cases, physical moves are more stronger and reliable Than their special counterparts like how eq is better than earth power and how brave bird is more reliable than hurricane, close combat is better than focus blast..
          Physical attackers also have priority moves such as quick attack,extreme speed,Mach punch,Aqua jet,ice shard while special only has vacuum wave..
          Normal type physical attackers have the reliable return while normal type special attackers have nothing..

      2. oh and one more thing
        there’s only 2-3 Physical Water Veils Floatzel, Huntail and Wailord
        Defiant only applies to stat reduction not status effects
        And Quick Feet does not stop the attack reduction

    3. Why is is that you always start arguments over Pokemon? It’s not like you have the authority to change GameFreak’s mind on the meta game. Why don’t you guys have arguments about logical topics, like world hunger or Donald Trump?

      Arguments about Pokemon clearly show that you have nothing else in your life to talk about or discuss.

    4. Insanity is doing the same thing again an expecting different results.
      You round a mono ground team, its physical, what do you expect?
      Yes I agree with you although I do not play competitively. Specials are more likely to be frail (with a few exceptions) and do no have the bulk like most physical attackers have.
      It’s just that you constantly go on about losing etc when you never seem to learn, or if you do, you do nothing about it. You’re so stubborn and stuck in your ways that you would prefer to lose and whine than actually do something about it.
      Gamefreak isn’t going to listen to one individual about how to change the meta-game, but you need to sometimes stop being so hostile, it does make you come across as an easy target to wind up, which is what people do on this site sometimes.
      And there’s no need to get all angry and cross about stuff like ‘Mega Milotic’, I mean what if it gets a Mega, you gonna boycott the series? I’d like to think you’ll try and find a way to beat it. See it as a challenge, rather than a hindrance.

      1. when did i say anything about me losing?
        all i’m saying i’m peeved with the Special Attackers never having to worry with stat reduction due to status effect, while Burns shut down Physical Attackers
        But still you guys giving me these gigantic walls of text on how it’s all my fault or i gotta change my strategy when i’m just pointing out a clear and present unfairness

  5. So I was Masuda methoding for a shiny riolu and I hatched one finally! I still had eggs though and I just hatched a second one! Anyway, I hope Pokken Tournament comes to more Dave and busters because it looks amazing.

    1. OMG I just found a shiny eevee too! Three shinies in one day! That’s a record for me!

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