Is Pokken Tournament a "legit competitive " fighting game?

Can a Pokemon themed fighting game be one of the best? Like no one ever was?

The recently released Pokken Tournament has taken players and the Internet by storm. However, anime fighters are not typically deemed as "legitimate" fighting games in the competitive scene -- even though there were already plans for major Pokken tournaments like Evo 2016 and CEO 2016 before the game ever released.

The TL;DR on Pokken Tournament

Pokken Tournament is a Pokemon-themed fighting game. Players pick from a roster of select Pokemon to battle it out one-on-one. This diverse pool of Pokemon isn't just limited to fighting types only. With the inclusion of other Pokemon as support characters, Pokken Tournament has many combinations to choose from so the game doesn't feel stale. For a more in-depth look at the game and how it plays, you can read our Pokken Tournament review.

So why is this even a question?

By design, Pokken Tournament is a fighting game. However, the fighting game community (FGC for short) doesn't feel that Pokken Tournment has "earned its stripes" yet, so to speak. The FGC ranks Pokken Tournment low in the popularity ladder, along with games like Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3.

And while these games are fighting games, they're often too niche to develop a competitive scene. Typically, anime games have low entries --  if any at all -- in FGC major tournaments. Because of this many are skeptical that Pokken Tournament can rise to the ranks of Street Fighter V and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. But to be fair, many naysayers said the same thing about the Super Smash Bros. titles. 

I personally think that underestimating this game is a mistake. Pokken Tournament possesses all the elements of AAA fighting game titles: mix-ups, complicated frame data, combos, and supers are just a few examples.

I also feel like this game has the potential to be an eSports caliber title -- especially with The Pokemon Company backing all of the tournaments so far in North America. Having Pokken in Evo and CEO was a really smart move to get people excited about the game even before it launched, and is one big step towards creating a healthy competitive scene, despite all the talk that nothing will come of it. 

Do you agree that Pokken Tournament is worthy of prime stream time at Evo and CEO? Or do think that its just another party game from Nintendo? Leave your responses in the comment section below!

Published Mar. 23rd 2016
View Comments
  • Luki_5000
    Ashely SSS, But why a fighting game needs to have a technical depth to make it to the competitive scenario? A game called "Rising Thunder" (created by an competitive SF player) is super easy to understand, and still have a great chance to be one played competitively. I've played the game (Pokken) and i saw many things that could easily be part of one competitive fighting game, but yeah, thats my opinion (But the game stills good!!)
  • Ashley SSS
    Associate Editor
    Short answer: No.

    Long answer: It doesn't have the technical depth to make it a competitive fighter.

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