Developer: Namco Bandai / Publisher: Namco Bandai / ESRB: Teen (Alcohol Reference, Crude Humor, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence) / Played on: PS3 / Price: $19.99
It’s been over four years since the last King of Iron Fist Tournament but the series is finally back with Tekken 6. With its plethora of characters and play modes, Tekken 6 is looking to offer more to the player than just arcade fighting. Does the fire still burn for the King of Iron Fist Tournament or has that fighting spirit died out?
Fighting games do not usually have intricate and engaging storylines but a lot of effort has gone into making the story of Tekken 6 one to remember. The previous King of Iron Fist Tournament champion Jin Kazama has taken over the Mishima Zaibatsu, previously owned by Jin’s grandfather Heihachi Mishima. Between the time of the fifth and sixth tournament, Jin and the Mishima Zaibatsu have begun taking over most of the world, with the majority of resistance coming from a rival company know as the G Corporation which is lead by Jin’s father Kazuya Mishima. You take the role of one of the Mishima Zaibatsu’s henchmen Lars Alexandersson and after a firefight and a bit of amnesia, Lars befriends the mysterious robot-girl Alisa Boskonovitch and together the two of them travel to discover a way to put an end to Jin’s attempts at global domination. The story plays out through the series’ new campaign mode, an extension of the ideas presented in Tekken 5’s Devil Within mode. The campaign mode plays like a beat-em up implementing all of the characters and moves from the main game to advance the story. Though the story follows Lars, you can opt to play as any of the Tekken characters available in the game the story and cut scenes will play out with Lars and Alisa as the main roles. When compared to the previous stories in other Tekken games, Tekken 6 isn’t bad at all, with some genuine story elements that will make you want to play more. The inclusion of a comic book style recap of the previous Tekken’s storylines at the beginning of the campaign mode helps to catch players up to speed to what is going on, but the story can be convoluted at parts, and you might find yourself not knowing what exactly is happening.
Since the first Tekken came out for the original PlayStation the series has always offered a variety of moves and combos for each character and Tekken 6 is no exception. The main mechanics that made the fighting series popular are still here including punches, kicks, throws, and combos. As far as fighting games go Tekken 6 lays it on thick with a roster of 40 playable characters at the start of the game, including six new characters making their introduction to the series. New characters like the heavyset American Bob and the mysterious Zafina fit in perfectly with the returning characters like Marshall Law and Eddy Gordo. Each combatant is capable of pulling of strings of moves that lead into one another to create intricate combos and juggles, and this is really where the core elements of Tekken 6 lie. If you’ve played a Tekken game in the past, then you know exactly what to expect from Tekken 6, as the game doesn’t take many deviations from the standard formula. That being said, the game is still exceptionally balanced in terms of fighters and their capabilities and moves, with no one fighter standing out as being simply stronger than the other. Aside from the previously mentioned campaign mode a multitude of play modes are available. You’ve got your standard offline arcade mode, vs. mode, survival mode, team mode, and practice. The new mode to look at in Tekken 6 is the game’s online mode, where you can participate in friendly matches or ranked matches to move up on the leader boards. This is something the series has needed and is great to have, but this also comes as the game’s biggest flaw. The online mode suffers from a horrendous amount of lag, and with a game where timing is everything it can make certain matches downright unplayable. It’s a shame the online mode isn’t as perfect as it could have been, but if you can find those few games that don’t suffer from the lag issues then you’ll enjoy what Tekken 6 has to offer immensely. While the online mode detracts a bit from the experience, nothing but praise can be said about the games graphics. Tekken 6 is hands-down one of the best looking fighting games on the market. The sheer amount of detail and texture that went into every character model is astounding, and seeing the game in motion is absolutely incredible.
With a lot more emphasis on story, there is a lot more voice acting in Tekken 6, and it is done quite well. A neat aspect to the game’s story lies in each character being from a unique background, which reflects in their dialogue. For example Hwoarang hails from Korea and thus speaks fluent Korean in all of his dialogues, while Jin Kazama and many others speak Japanese. These portions of the game are subtitled so everyone knows what is going on, but this still makes the game sound all the more authentic. The sounds of the fights themselves are also superb with bones crunching and the ground shattering and making noise as bodies slam into it. One particular scene involved the players being slammed through a glass floor and plummeting to the lower portion of the stage while the glass shattered and clanged as it hit the ground below. The background music fits each stage exceptionally well, blending in elements of the location’s local culture and history. One stage is set during Spain’s tomato festival and has the entire ground covered in smashed tomatoes, while another stage is on a giant roulette wheel with slot machines and the sounds of poker chips filling in the background.
Spot on controls and an intuitive fighting system help make Tekken 6 a great fighting game. Veterans will pick up the system from the start, and new players will find the game quite easy to understand and handle. Punches are designated to the square and triangle buttons with kicks given to X and circle. Controls are as responsive as ever and make pulling off the most ridiculous combos for each character a cinch. The game handles the 3D elements well, involving moves that attack from both the front and sides. Character movement can be done with either the D-Pad or the analog stick, and players can run forward and backwards as well as into the foreground or background. There are many complicated combos and moves to pull off in Tekken 6 but the easy and many times forgiving control system makes actually pulling these moves off easy and rewarding. Both newbies and pros will agree Tekken 6 is a fun game to pick up and play but a difficult game to master.
At its roots Tekken 6 is all about the fighting, and that is truly what the game handles best. It is a shame the campaign mode is a little clunky and the online mode isn’t where one would want it to be, but the feeling of a good one-on-one fight is still exhilarating. Being able to play as all 40 characters from the start of the game allows you to delve right into the fighting action while the campaign mode lets you earn rewards and new outfits to customize your characters. The game doesn’t offering anything new or groundbreaking to the series yet it still offers up the same great fighting it has seen in the past. Anyone looking for a 3D fighting game for home consoles would be hard pressed to find one as visually stunning and fun to play as Tekken 6. If you’ve been yearning to get back into the ring and throw down with a few good friends, then Tekken 6 is the game for you.