Sunday, November 15, 2009

Game Review: Tekken 6

Over the past 15 years or so, the Tekken franchise from Namco has established itself as one of the premier fighting games in the world, rivaled only (and debatably) by Mortal Kombat and Soul Calibur (don't even try to say Virtua Fighter). So when the programming company announced that their latest version, Tekken 6, would be available for the first time on consoles other than PlayStation, we were curious to see the result.

Well, now the answer is in and it's official: the newest version of Tekken is the best yet.

What makes it so good is the increased depth across the board. First off, just about every character in Tekken history is available to play; while there are some omissions for story reasons, such as Jun Kazama or Doctor Boskonovitch, the game offers a whopping 40 playable characters for enthusiasts to choose from.

The depth is also apparent within each character as well, with most of them possessing over 100 unique moves or combos and some characters boasting over 160 moves. Mastering the playstyle of one specific character would take dedication; figuring out how to play every character to their best capacity would be borderline insane.

As in previous games, each of the 40 characters also comes with their own cinematics and unique storylines, but Tekken 6 adds to the individuality by allowing players to customize the characters with dozens of different outfits and accessories. From cowboy hats to swords to extra chest hair, you can pimp out your character in multiple ways, none of which affect game play but all of which add a layer of fun and interaction for the player.

This is especially helpful when trying out the game's new online mode, where you play against any of the tens of thousands of Tekken enthusiasts around the world. Normally you'd run into hundreds of other, identical characters, but thanks to this customization you can ensure that your Yoshimitsu is unique among the crowd.

Of course, most casual players might be a little fearful of dipping their toes into the online waters where Tekken sharks are likely waiting to pound them into oblivion; nobody enjoys getting stomped in a one-sided game. Lukcily, though, the developers took this into consideration, implementing a ranking system that tracks your wins and losses and what rank your opponents are to ensure that you end up getting matched with other players in your skill range. Better, the game tracks all 40 character separately, so if you've gained a high rank with Lee and want to switch to King, you don't have to worry about being overmatched; with King you'll start back off as a newb and get to build rank with each new character as you learn.

Online mode isn't the only option available, though; the game also offers a story mode, which takes you through the game's storyline in a combination side-scroller/rpg that allows you to gather in-game currency to buy different costumes for your character and also allows you to unlock those items through drops and fight rewards.

Of course, the game isn't perfect and even with so many innovations it does fall flat in a couple areas. The biggest of these is a unusually long load time between battles, which can lead to some frustration and boredom at times; why it takes so long to load each fight is beyond us. The game's story mode also has some issues with game play, as the camera angle (a 3/4 overhead shot) doesn't perform well with moves designed for a side-view fight system. Since the game doesn't allow you to rotate camera angles during story mode, this can lead to some issues when trying to fight mobs.

Overall, though, those are fairly minor nits to pick. If you enjoy Tekken, or fighting games in general, Tekken 6 is a fantastic addition to the genre and one of the most in-depth fighting games ever made.

My Grades: Overall the game gets an A-. That's an A+ for the actual fighting and the customization of the characters; a B- for story mode, which should be awesome but is hindered by linearity and weird controls; and a C- for the stupidly long load times.

Bookmark and Share