Pokkén Tournament for the Wii U was an underdone but still enjoyable port of its arcade predecessor. Pokkén Tournament DX is more like a crispy, well-baked port of the Wii U version, complete with decorative frosting and topped with features that will be highly enjoyable to some and just okay to others. Metaphors written while hungry aside, there’s actually not a huge amount to say about the Switch port of Pokkén Tournament except that it will likely enjoy a much better lifecycle on the Switch. DX doesn’t really change a whole lot; it’s more of a “complete” edition plus extras, including the missing arcade fighters and a new face from the Sun and Moon generation. If you enjoyed the game on the Wii U, it would be worth picking up again on the Switch.
Side note: I am very disappointed that this got a port before Smash Bros. Wii U. You better have something pretty amazing in the works for that, Nintendo, because Namco Bandai is making you look bad right now.
I struggle to recall exactly the events of the original Pokkén Tournament’s campaign but, as far as I can tell, there’s no significant difference between the Switch and Wii U version in this regard. The game does offer a bunch of new content, however, such as an online ranked battle mode, 3-vs-3 battle mode, new characters, and split-screen local play. None of this really revolutionises the game in any way, it just makes it feel a little more “complete.” To be honest, I didn’t even need or want the new battle modes and could take or leave them, but their inclusion will probably be great for some. The full roster of player characters is also unlocked from the beginning, including Dark Mewtwo, which is something of an annoying trend for Nintendo’s “complete editions” of late. I don’t know, maybe this isn’t an issue for you. It does annoy me when the game takes away the fun of unlocking things.
I assume that the split-screen play was added due to the Switch losing the “second screen” feature that the Wii U had, which is a much-appreciated thought on the developer’s part. The problem is that turning on split-screen smashes the game’s performance power, turning the framerate into the world’s best Pokémon slide show. You can play on the same screen, however, the second player takes the position usually held by AI opponents when you’re playing single player. At that point, your enjoyment depends entirely on the length of your patience with being able to play at such an odd angle at the start of every fight.
Of course, you can always just beat them around until you’re both on equal footing.
The Ranked Online Battles are functional; it works as intended, there’s just not a lot more to say about it than that. I know it sounds like I’m being facetious about this but there really isn’t anything more to it than that. The online mode is just the offline mode but… Online. It is worth noting that online performance is much better than it was on the Wii U, with connection stability having improved significantly. This and a few of the other additional features of DX feel like so many after-thoughts that were chucked in to create the sense of “added value.” None of them are so low in quality that they bring down the whole game, but neither are they anything to go nuts for.
The roster updates are a welcome addition, but most of the “new” characters aren’t quite “new,” so much as they are “new to the console version of the game.” Scizor, Empoleon, Darkrai, and Croagunk were all in the original arcade version, and unused files for their characters have been found in Pokkén Tournament Wii U’s data. Essentially, their inclusion feels like more of a concession than an added bonus for players, given that they probably should have been in there from the start. Rounding out the roster is Decidueye, a decidedly new character to the game and a nod to the new Pokémon generation to have recently started. Time will tell, but I have a hunch that DLC characters may not be far off for this version of the game. For starters, they haven’t been so quick to quash the idea of DLC as they were with the Wii U version of the game. (No mention has been made at the time of writing this, at least.) Second, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan still aren’t in the damn game.
Because when you were thinking, “Hey, let’s make an actual fighting game using Pokemon!” it was Darkrai that came to mind before all other obvious choices?
I think that Pokkén Tournament is a solid game that languished in relative obscurity due to the failing status of the Wii U by the time it was released. Pokkén Tournament DX doesn’t really change anything from the original design, so based on that alone it’s still a good game, regardless of what you may or may not think of the new content. While I have issues with the timing of some content’s inclusion, it only improves the game in the end, signalling the potential for continued support and content updates in the future. It certainly stands to have a better life on the Switch than it did on the Wii U, particularly if it receives some post-release love from the developers. They can start with putting the correct Pokemon into the roster lineup. If you enjoyed the Wii U version, or you wanted to play and never got around to it, it’s worth picking this up for a second go around.