About a couple of years ago, I wrote an article about some of the Pokémon I would personally love to see in the then upcoming fighting game Pokkén Tournament. Now the game is out on the Wii U for everyone to enjoy and, I have to say, I quite liked the roster it has. Some people have complained that it’s too small and some of the character choices don’t make sense (i.e. two Pikachus and two Mewtwos) but I felt it was decent enough, with a good balance of the popular and the unexpected.
That’s not to say, though, that I wouldn’t want to see more playable Pokémon appear either as DLC or in a potential sequel. And now that I’ve actually played the game, I’ve got a better understanding of how the developers ultimately chose which Pokémon to put in. There’s a lot more potential here than you might think. So, here’s a sequel to that aforementioned article with ten more ideas for playable characters.
First, a few ground rules:
- No Pokémon that I already put on the last list (obviously). I want to keep this fresh.
- No Pokémon that are already in the game as Support Pokémon. That’s the role they’ve been given.
- No Pokémon that are in the same evolution line as already playable Pokémon. So no Gallade, Raichu, Delphox and the like.
Now, onto the actual list!
I’m amazed and ashamed that I didn’t put Swampert on the first list I did considering it’s one of my favourite Pokémon ever. When both of the other Hoenn starters managed to get in, I was particularly annoyed to see Swampert completely absent from the roster.
I think Swampert would make an interesting addition. As opposed to Blaziken and Sceptile, it’d be more of a powerhouse character, focused more on dealing as much damage as possible while also being able to tank a lot of hits. Its dual-typing of Water and Ground means it’d have an interesting move pool, capable of delivering attacks both close-up and at a distance. And do I even need to mention its super-buff Mega Evolution? While some may argue that having two of the Hoenn starters is enough, I argue that Swampert just deserves a roster slot.
On the subject of Water starters, how about including Dewott? Gen 5 only had one representative in the form of Chandelure (easily the oddest inclusion in the game) and while Pignite or Emboar would be the more obvious choice due to being part Fighting types, my vote would go to Dewott because 1. We already have three Fire starters on the roster and 2. The Oshawott line is awesome.
I did consider putting Samurott on the list but I decided to go down the evolution line to Dewott because I feel Samurott might be a bit too unwieldy for the kind of game Pokkén Tournament is. Besides, it’s not like Dewott wouldn’t be able to handle itself. It wields two shell-like weapons called scalchops like some kind of ninja or samurai, meaning it could have some neat combo potential. Plus, it’d be nice to have some more Water types in the game.
There are quite a few Tekken references in Pokkén, which isn’t surprising since both games were developed by Bandai Namco. Several playable characters have moves and animations that are nods to the cast of Tekken, which is why I’m surprised they didn’t include a bear Pokémon so as to reference Tekken‘s resident animal Kuma.
While I did include Pangoro on the last list, Ursaring was the first bear Pokémon in the series and probably the perfect shout-out to Kuma in terms of overall look and potential playstyle. It has sharp claws, an intimidating size, big arms with which to grab and squeeze its opponents – hell, maybe it could use Rest as a means of recovering health and then have Snore as a follow-up or counter. Plus, the sight of the Normal-type Ursaring actually hitting Ghost-type Gengar would be amazing.
Speaking of Normal types, how about Zangoose? The thing looks perfectly suited to a fighting game. I don’t know how popular Zangoose is in general amongst the fans but one of the great things about Pokkén is how differently it handles Pokémon compared to the games, infusing them with personality and new means of attacking.
I reckon Zangoose could become a pretty popular Pokémon if it was given more freedom of movement. A fast character that relies on close quarters combat but is super dangerous to get close to because of its razor sharp claws. It could even have multiple ways of boosting its stats mid-battle thanks to the likes of Taunt and Swords Dance and maybe use Detect or Revenge as a mean counter move. You could argue that Weavile already fits the character archetype but, honestly, the game could do with at least one Normal-type in its roster.
I’m still surprised that Zoroark wasn’t even made playable in the newest Super Smash Bros. games, let alone Pokkén. It was one of, if not the first Pokémon to be shown for Gen 5 and was pushed as being super special. You couldn’t catch it or its pre-evolution, Zorua, in the wild in Gen 5. It had a whole movie to itself yet Lucario still gets pushed over it for the fighting games. Maybe it’s time to rectify that?
It’s not like Zoroark wouldn’t be suited to the game. It’s got access to fierce slashing attacks, capable of moving around the arena quickly to keep its opponent on their toes or to suddenly close the gap between them and its Dark typing means it could use moves that could mess with the opponent. Hell, Zoroark’s biggest feature is its Illusion ability that makes it resemble another Pokémon. Maybe it could be incorporated similar to Mortal Kombat‘s Shang Tsung – temporarily turning into other characters to use specific moves. I’m sure Zoroark must have fans of its own crying out for a playable appearance, and a game like this would be the perfect place for it.
One of the things I liked about Pokkén was how it could take some Pokémon that don’t have as much prescence in the main games or spin-off material and give them a chance to be awesome. The likes of Pikachu and Charizard were hardly surprising, but how many people expected or even demanded Chandelure or Weavile? So, I think a few more under-appreciated characters should be included. For example, Mienfoo.
While you may think it’d make more sense to pick its evolution, Mienshao, don’t forget that Mienfoo is still a Fighting-type and, ergo, capable of dealing serious damage. It could use High Jump Kick or Bounce to zoom towards its opponent and bonk them in the face, Drain Punch to heal itself or maybe even Reversal, an attack that does more damage at lower health. Plus, I just love the idea of seeing relatively small Pokémon beating the ever-loving crap out of much larger opponents.
Okay, one more Water-type. I swear, this is the last one. Poliwrath is one of those Pokémon that doesn’t really get talked about a lot yet would be a perfect fit for a fighting game. I remember when Machamp was announced as one of the first playable characters and I was shocked to to realise that I almost forget it existed. Same thing happened with Poliwrath.
Aside from looking mean and having large fists to deal heavy damage at close-range, it could use some Water attacks to keep opponents at a distant. It could be a nice, balanced character for newcomers to start with. It could even have some neat combo moves to set up. Belly Drum could give it a massive attack boost at the cost of health, or it could use Hypnosis to put an opponent to sleep, followed with Wake-Up Slap for heavy damage. With more and more new Pokémon being created, it’s sometimes easy to forget the original ones and something like Pokkén could give those Pokémon their dues.
Sableye may seem like a bizarre choice at first… and you’re right. And that’s kind of the reason why I put it on the list; it’s small, not very strong and has strange movement – who would see it coming?
I imagine Sableye as being one of those really tricky characters to learn. It would be more about disorientating the opponent rather than dealing heavy damage, gradually chipping away at it whilst keeping itself safe. With moves like Fake Out, Mean Look and Shadow Sneak, an expert could keep their opponent completely stunned and not give them a chance to counterattack. The fact that Sableye has since been given a Mega Evolution would help immensely, giving it a nice defense buff and a big-ass gemstone to smack opponents with. And who wouldn’t want to see the tiny Sableye completely dominate Charizard?
I’ve said before that Gen 4 was my least favourite in terms of Pokémon designs but I can’t deny that some of them would fit into Pokkén. Case in point – Poison/Fighting type Toxicroak. Gen 4 arguably has enough representatives but, hey, one more couldn’t hurt, right?
Besides, Toxicroak could be an interesting addition since we don’t have a Poison-type in the current roster. Yeah, Gengar is technically part Poison and Sceptile has one Poison attack, but neither of their playstyles are focused on inflicting negative ailments on the opponent. And Toxicroak has enough physical strength behind it to make it a decent attacker. Street Fighter V introduced a character that was all about using poison to slowly drain health. Having a fighter that’s all about inflicting as many status ailments as possible could be annoying to go up against, but be an absolute joy to play as yourself.
I mentioned in the last list that most, if not all, fighting games always have that one joke character. The character that you take one look at and think “Why are they here?” You could argue that Chandelure fills that role already but Chandelure’s less of a joke character and more of a humourous and unexpected inclusion (plus, it’s a bitch to fight against since it’s stupidly strong). There are lots of other Pokémon that I think would fit that role much better – Clefairy being one of them.
The obvious idea is to have it just use Metronome, giving it access to all manner of ridiculously flashy and powerful moves. However, while Metronome should definitely be incorporated somehow (maybe it’s Synergy Burst attack could copy another playable character’s), Clefairy’s got enough moves of its own to form a genuine moveset. It could even have some moves that, rather than deal damage, focus more on keeping Clefairy healthy or protected from powerful attacks. The likes of Moonlight, Gravity and Lucky Chant could make it very difficult to take it down, even if it takes a tonne of damage.
Frankly, there are probably even more Pokémon that could make the cut that I haven’t even considered. Even if the ones I’ve listed don’t make it, I’d honestly be happy enough seeing what ideas the developers come up with in a sequel, whether it be allowing an already awesome Pokémon to be even more awesome or taking a lesser known one and giving players a new reason to love it.