Tekken 6 holds a position as one of the most controversial releases of 2009.
Previously a PlayStation exclusive title, Namco announced at the Tokyo Game Show in 2008 that they would finally bring the game to Xbox as well, thus sparking disagreement amongst PlayStation 3 fans. So naturally, we'd better take a look at how this transition has been managed.
Thankfully I have a reasonable argument with which I hope to reduce the fury of the PlayStation fans reading this. Tekken 6 still feels, and always will feel like a PlayStation title, however myself and many more console owners around the globe now also have the privilege of enjoying it. To be honest, I think Namco made a good choice broadening their Tekken audience. It makes the game accessible to millions more people, and should give the series a much larger fan base. It feels just like the classic Tekken games too, even on the Xbox 360.
A frustratingly difficult story to follow (as seen in previous Tekken games) is finally made somewhat clearer with the new Scenario Campaign mode. We have seen this type of gameplay before, but it has never told the story as well as it should have. You explore the game world in a third-person role-playing style through a series of stages and cut scenes. This helps to develop a clear picture of what the game is really about, as well as offering a few bonuses (customizable items, character endings for example) to keep you occupied.
A brief history lesson covering the story from the original Tekken right through to the present starts the campaign mode off, trying hard to force knowledge of the ‘King of Iron Fist Tournament’ into your already bored heads. I say this because the story mode just feels extremely slow and… well, boring. The cut scenes feel as if they would only particularly appeal to those who enjoy watching anime-inspired cartoons, and the bulk of the gameplay (with the exception of the Arena) in the story mode feels bland and a little clumsy. There is no fluidity to any of the movements and I still don’t fully understand what is going on.
This leaves a lot to be desired from the Scenario Campaign, however fortunately the rest of the game is exactly how Tekken should be. In a word, superb. Basically it feels as though the old Tekken classics have been brought up from the past, refurbished, and then vastly improved to create the newest and possibly greatest Tekken game to date. It makes you want to play it more and more - like a drug. It’s this addictive gameplay featured in this series that many grew fond of, and Tekken 6 brings out the best in it.
The gameplay of the classic arcade game modes (Arcade, Versus, Team Battle, Time Attack and Survival) is what you would expect them to feel like with the exception of the new and beautiful visuals on top of destructible and interactive environments. This is a next-gen fighting title at its finest. Practice mode still remains as well, giving you the ability to fine tune your fighting style with individual characters. Recently added to the series, Ghost Battle is again present in Tekken 6 adding more value to the hours of entertainment already on hand.
For anyone new to Tekken, Ghost Battle was introduced to compliment the new ranking and unlocks system. With this system, players can earn higher ranks for individual characters as well as acquiring fight money which can be spent on endless customization of your characters. The Ghost Battle game mode gives the player a continuous stream of opponents to consistently earn ranks and money.
Customization in this latest release is greatly enhanced over previous versions, and for the enthusiasts makes it a very difficult challenge to unlock as many items as you can. When equipped by a character, these items are also visible to opponents online, giving you the cheek of flaunting your best gear to everyone else. Since we are one the subject, I better say a word or two about the online side of Tekken 6. This and the Scenario Campaign are the negative factors of the game unfortunately. Online Multiplayer is neat in the sense that, unlike the early Tekken games, you can now take on opponents outside of your living room. The action of the online play however feels slow and unresponsive as you have to synchronize with other players around the world and the exchange between internet connections is much, much slower than that of your controller to your console (obviously).
Therefore you are fighting a little behind the usual pace, and it ruins a lot of the experience, though it is still rewarding taking down real human beings. That being said, it remains a lot more fun taking on mates in the same vicinity as yourself.
The only real upside to the online component of Tekken 6 is the ability to download replays and ghost data of other players. The ghost data in particular, as it uses this downloaded content to give a bit more dynamics to the opponents that you face up against in Ghost Battle.
Back to the good stuff; Tekken 6 offers a large variety of characters with the introduction of a few new faces. Familiar characters such as Jin, Yoshimitsu, Ling Xiaoyu, Law, Nina Williams, King and most of the originals are still present (forgive me if I did not mention your favourites). The new list however, includes the likes of Alisa Boskonovitch, Zafina, Lars Alexandersson and a few more. These names may make absolutely no sense to you now, but as soon as you get into the game you will experience how each individual differs with the variety of combat techniques found throughout the Tekken series.
An interesting new game changing feature in Tekken 6 is the Rage System. Basically, when your characters vitality or health becomes critical, you get a sudden boost to your damage per hit, meaning you can change the tide of battle a little easier now. This system works great, as it is not overpowered and gives that little bit of assistance to somewhat less fortunate players.
There is a handful of further content shoved into the Tekken 6 package, the Gallery mode for example is still there for you to watch back over cut scenes and character endings. However, all of this will be awfully familiar to anyone who has ever played a Tekken game and is better left for you to enjoy yourself.
So some of the new features may seem off-putting to a lot of the early Tekken fans out there, but the core gameplay is still there. Even on the Xbox 360, I was able to easily translate how I had always played the game on PlayStation consoles directly into Tekken 6 and it felt the same as I had remembered. I've played Tekken 6 on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 now, and the configuration was identical on both platforms.
For anyone who played and loved the originals, Tekken 6 is a must have. Even if you are new to fighting games in general, Tekken is always a great place to start. The Scenario Campaign and Online Multiplayer leave a little to be desired and drag the game down slightly, however the bulk of what Tekken is all about remains and it’s a franchise with the status of one of the top fighting series of all time.
Tekken 6 continues an amazing series and pushes the boundaries even further.