Monday, April 14, 2008

The King of Iron Fist Tournament returns again.... The Tekken 6 (ARC) Review

Please note: This is the review for the arcade version of Tekken 6 not the upcoming PS3 version.

Namco Bandai brought back the Tekken games to their glory with Tekken 5 and its upgrade, Dark Resurrection. It focused on what made them great and also delivered on the storyline, which I think does the best job at it in the fighting game genre. Tekken 6 is the latest entry in Namco's famed fighting series and continues the story of the Mishima bloodline with Jin Kazama now heading the Mishima Zaibatsu, which was once owned by Heihachi in Tekken 5, and currently taking over the world being independent from the rest of them. The only other entity that can oppose Jin's company is the G Corporation and they offered up a huge price for anyone to capture Jin alive. All of this war and chaos starts the 6th King of the Iron Fist tournament for those fighters who want vengeance, the fame, and the power. While some may call Tekken 6 simply Tekken in high definition, its new gameplay changes make it enough of a different game for new players to learn new moves, combos, and strategies with their favorite characters, and that to me what makes the game fun.

The character lineup for Tekken 6 is a staggering amount, which is 40. The new characters are actually fun to play as and also high among the current tier list. Among them are, Leo, who is actually a girl going after Kazuya for killing her mother, Miguel, a Spanish brawler, Zafina, a spiritual lady with an unorthodox fighting style, and Bob, a fat dude who knows karate. The returning characters are all from Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection with favorites like Marshall Law, Paul Phoenix, Bryan Fury, the Williams sisters, Christie, Steve, King, and more. For veterans of the series, the old characters are still play the same way with the same moves, but some of them have different animations, which gives Tekken 6 some sense of freshness. Then you have your boss characters, which is a totally different story I will mention later.

The single player game for Tekken 6 remains the same of fighting a set of characters till the last boss. Along the way, a bonus fight may occur with a huge robot named Nancy, which is an example of the wackiness the Tekken series had provided over the years. The last bosses were kind of cheap most of the time and Tekken 6 is no different with Azazel, a huge dragon that fills up nearly half the screen that can use rock-like projectiles and its size to its advantage. Other than that, the difficulty for the single player game is around the same as Dark Resurrection, which is not that hard, but the computer A.I. can give a fight most of the time. Let's just say be prepared to lose some quarters if you are really determined to beat Azazel. but he is beatable like past Tekken bosses such as Jinpachi from the last game.

The overall gameplay mechanics for Tekken 6 is still the same Tekken you know and love with some new additions. One of them is the bound system which refers to the juggle combos. This usually happens when you use a slam-type move to the ground during a juggle which gives you another chance to continue the combo with a low or mid attack. Sometimes, using these bound-type moves will cause the ground to break in certain stages that are multi-leveled to a lower level. The other major addition and often controversial before its arcade release is the rage system. Your character will be in rage when he or she is low in health and some signs of red glow will show up as seen in the screenshot above. Once in rage, you can inflict more damage to your opponent than normal and vice versa if your opponent is in rage. This usually can lead to comebacks in certain situations and rare death combos which makes the last seconds of a match more intense kicking in the nerves of not making a mistake. Despite those new additions, Tekken 6 is still a juggle festival for high-level players and fun for casual players because of its flashiness compared to other 3D fighters.

The arcade version of Tekken 6 uses a card system similar to Tekken 5 and DR. One card is a character of your choice and customize it to your liking as long you win matches for more money. You still gain money from losing matches against human opponents, but not that much. The character customization is still the same from Tekken 5 of various color changes and additional clothing. New to this game is more weapons (Bryan's shotgun for example in one of the first videos shown) that can be used during fights, but for no damage which is another example of Tekken's wackiness. Even though it is a little pricey to purchase a card (well from the place I play Tekken 6), it is worth it in the long run to brag about your winning record and show off a cool customization.

Graphically, Tekken 6 looks pretty sharp. For those who think it is Tekken 5 HD, think again because it improves significantly. The characters look great with more details added to them than previous games. The environments also look beautiful and diverse, which is a staple of the franchise. From an open snow stage, a graveyard with thunder in the background, a water stage similar to Tekken 4, and more. The ground does receive damage and will break as mentioned earlier meaning there are destructible elements in some stages and look great as well. The water effects also improved from previous games with splashes acting like splashes. Performance wise, the only time of slowdown is during the character screen at rare occasions. Despite that, the fights run at a smooth 60 frames per second with no sense of any slowdown.

The sound for Tekken 6 is the usual expectations of the franchise. Blocking sounds different now which seems harder than previous games and the hits still sound the same. There is little character voice acting when they are introduced before fights, but they seem accurate to their personalities which is good enough to me. Musically, Tekken games deliver great soundtracks and this one is no different of various rock, electronic, and orchestral. Even the announcer sounds better and not as annoying as some would say.

Overall, Tekken 6 is another great entry to Namco's successful franchise. The new gameplay additions make the fights more entertaining and intense giving players to new ways to mess with your favorite characters. It looks sharp in high definition and sounds great as expected. The wackiness that the series has maintained since its inception is still here in various places with a cheap boss and playing as a bear. The card system still remains addicting for the arcade scene of showing off a customized character and maintaining a winning record. Quite simply, Tekken 6 is flat out fun to play at the arcade which is a rare opportunity these days since only a handful of arcades here at the United States have the game.

Score = 9 / 10 

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