Pokkén Tournament launched on the Wii U as a competent fighting game featuring Game Freak and Nintendo’s popular Pokémon creatures. Although there were over 700 Pokémon at the time, the game’s playable roster had a measly 14 characters plus two alternate versions of fan-favorites Pikachu and Mewtwo. Pokkén Tournament DX for Nintendo Switch added five new Pokémon, including one from its latest mainline entry, Pokémon Sun and Moon. While it’s true that less characters help balance the roster, surely there could have been more, given the 800+ creatures to choose from. Enter the Battle Pack DLC, which adds two playable fighters and a few light extras for $14.99 US. But at that price, is it worth it?
While this is technically a review for the second of the Battle Pack’s two waves, you can’t actually buy any of the content separately – it’s all or nothing. As such, I’ll also include information about the first wave. In total, the Battle Pack adds two characters: the water turtle Blastoise and the sword-and-shield Pokémon Aegislash. There are also four new support Pokémon who aren’t playable but assist the player upon summon, clothing items (eight per gender avatar) that can be color customized, three outfits for your instructor character Nia, and ten titles that you can display online. The cosmetic items aren’t terribly exciting, but the two playable characters and four support Pokémon spice up the gameplay.
Blastoise is the latest roster addition from the DLC’s second wave. Being a first generation Pokémon, he’s likely familiar to many. As a fighter, he’s a bulky type with a playstyle reminiscent of Bowser from the Super Smash Bros. series. Blastoise moves slowly and depends on landing projectile blasts and strong attacks. His ability to withdraw into his turtle shell gives him some depth, and you can play more defensively while firing your water guns and other long-range cannons. Also, it’s fun to maneuver your shell around the field in a rapid spin. He still has some trouble against the numerous faster characters, and he has a frustrating lag to his attacks. But as far as slow, bulky characters go, his playstyle is not too difficult to handle. Plus he has one of the coolest Synergy Bursts; by building enough synergy with his trainer, he becomes Mega Blastoise, with an undeniably awesome cannon mounted on his back.
The previous wave added Aegislash, but even if you only wanted Blastoise, you’d have to purchase them together. Aegislash has a unique playstyle: his main form is a sentient, floating sword with fast slash and swipe attacks, and he has the standout ability to change forms during battle, from sword stance to shield and vice versa. His shield stance is similar to Blastoise’s shell withdrawal, in which Aegislash moves more slowly but sports a higher defense and can fire lasers from afar. He has essentially a dual moveset, making him fun to play as. By switching between the two forms, you can immediately guard or parry, keeping opponents on their toes. Advanced players may prefer Aegislash’s playstyle, as it’s tougher to master and unlike anything else in the game. Both Blastoise and Aegislash feel balanced amongst the other 21 characters, which make them both super effective roster additions.
The remaining new Pokémon carry support roles. The DLC has two sets of two Pokémon each, and creatures within a power must be used together. From the most recent second wave, Celebi and Mew fit into a niche. Instead of attacking, they alter the battle conditions. Celebi’s Time Travel ability forces a Phase Shift during battle, in other words, changing the field from a 3D arena to a traditional 2D fighter perspective and vice versa. Depending on your tactics, this may be handy. On the other hand, Mew is more random, and consequently, less reliable; the creature either randomly increases attack or makes all hits critical. Either way, you get stronger, but I didn’t find Mew as useful as Celebi.
The first wave introduced Mega Rayquaza and Mimikyu as supports. Mega Rayquaza is a standard heavy hitter, delivering an instantaneous ranged attack at foes. Meanwhile, the more disruptive Mimikyu decreases your opponent’s attack and Synergy Burst effectiveness. This set focuses more on strengthening your characters and weakening your opponents’. That being said, the set is more generic and doesn’t bring anything special to the game, especially compared to the specialized Celebi and Mew pair.
Overall, Pokkén Tournament DX’s Battle Pack is lacking for its asking price. Yes, we live in an age where new fighting game characters are costly to make and are subsequently expensive, but it’s hard to recommend this pricey DLC pack unless you are a big fan. If you play competitively, you’ll likely want to dive in to get a better understanding of the meta, but if you’re a casual player, there might not be enough of a draw. You get no new story content, special matches, or bonus stages. The added playable characters – Blastoise and Aegislash – are very fun to use, but they’re not better than what the base game already offers. It’s a shame they aren’t offered individually or at least sold separately from the cosmetic items. As a complete bundle, the Pokkén Tournament DX Battle Pack DLC adds quality characters to a fighting game that needed more of them, but its sparse content just doesn’t justify its cost.
I am a lifelong gamer, having grown up with Nintendo since I was young. My passion for gaming led to one of the greatest moments of my life, my video game themed wedding!