Pokken Tournament is a creative new look at the classic Pokemon franchise, taking the RPG into the Fighting game genre. Prior to the game’s release, the most interesting thing to think about the game was “which Pokemon will they include?”
The current roster features 16 Pokemon: Pikachu, Pikachu Libre, Charizard, Lucario, Blaziken, Sceptile, Suicune, Machamp, Weavile, Gardevoir, Gengar, Garchomp, Braxien, Chandelure, Mewtwo, and Shadow Mewtwo.
I personally feel like a good chunk of this list was a missed opportunity—that is to say that there were Pokemon that could have fit better into the game. Pokemon that don’t get much attention, especially fighting types.
Before I get started, I want to make clear my criteria for why a Pokemon would fit in more than others. Pokken Tournament is a unique opportunity to give Pokemon who aren’t often given attention a new time to shine. These don’t have to be exclusively Fighting type Pokemon, but when the criteria for how and why a Pokemon is good in the main games is such a thin line, it only makes sense to want to give other Pokemon some attention.
The best example of what I’m looking for, is Machamp. Machamp gets almost no love in Pokemon games. His stats aren’t great, he has essentially one competitive strategy and it’s not a very good strategy at that. Not to mention he’s a trade to evolve Pokemon, so it’s extra effort for a mediocre Pokemon.
But as a fighting game character? He’s perfect. Despite all of his flaws, Machamp is the quintessential fighting type—he embodies everything the type stands for. This is exactly what Pokken Tournament should have utilized more of: under-appreciated and fighting type Pokemon.
The other Pokemon in the game which I feel is a great fit is Pikachu Libre.
Pikachu Libre, or Cosplay Pikachu was introduced in Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, and I can’t think of a better game to utilize it in than Pokken Tournament. It’s such a great fit, and it brings so much personality that matches the tone of Pokken Tournament. It actually makes me wish regular Pikachu wasn’t in the game. Frankly, I think the only reason regular Pikachu was in the game at all was because it’s the mascot.
Moving on, lets look at Pokemon that could or should have included!
First up, Gallade.
This one is a no brainer, and it actually astonishes me that Gardevoir made it in and Gallade didn’t. Gallade is from the same evolutionary line, only he’s a fighting type! Using moves like Psycho Cut, and Zen Headbutt, he would have made for an interesting fighter. I understand that long range fighters were needed, and Gardevoir fits that, but honestly it feels like they used Gardevoir to add more feminine characters to the game, which is kind of weird in it’s own right.
Next, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan.
After Machamp, these are the Pokemon people think of when you think about fighting type Pokemon. Based off the martial artists Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, it’s shocking that these two were left out! Hitmonchan is the defensive boxer, with a variety of elemental punches, while Hitmonlee is the glass cannon, moving fast with powerful hits but can easily hurt himself in the process. I can see an emphasis on counter hits with Hitmonchan, and with Hitmonlee fast attacks with a long reach where he stretches his legs from a distance. There’s a lot of potential with these two.
Number 3, Scizor
Out of the current cast, Pokken Tournament is missing 4 types, Bug, Steel, Normal, and Rock, and Scizor covers two of those! Scizor is a lot more popular in the main games than a lot of these Pokemon, but he still would have been an interesting fit for Pokken Tournament. In traditional Pokemon, Scizor can take advantage of a wide variety of moves—Bullet Punch, Metal Claw, X Scissor, U-turn, Acrobatics, and there’s also the potential to take advantage of his wings! One of the great things about Pokken Tournament is the ability to use a Pokemon’s physical features as gameplay mechanics. For example, Charizard can hang in the air with his wings, Sceptile can hang using a vine, and I think Scizor hovering with his wings would work perfectly.
OK last one, Deoxys.
This one admittedly is more of a dream Pokemon, but I also feel like it fits the criteria that I’ve been looking for. Despite being a legendary, Deoxys has rarely gotten that much attention. Since his reveal in Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen, he’s been relatively absent until the latest games, and not until the post story. Now, again, this is the dreamer in me talking but the idea of being able to switch between all 4 Deoxys forms in battle would be incredibly interesting, or maybe have the base form be it’s standard, and it transforms with each attack! I think realistically, attack form (far left in the image) is the prime candidate, but with Deoxys being one of the most uniquely designed Pokemon, I think it has a lot of potential for Pokken Tournament.
It might seem odd to make this list after Pokken Tournament has come out, but honestly with the potential for DLC anything is possible. What prompted me to make this list wasn’t just what Pokemon I wanted to see in the game, or what Pokemon I feel deserved to be in, but I really thought about it more when I saw how many Pokemon didn’t fit in as well as they could have. Pikachu and Charizard are the ones that come to mind the most. They’re mascots, they’re the ones that everybody knows but in a game like Pokken Tournament, it just feels like they could have done more, which honestly sums up my opinions on the game itself.