Enter… The Tekken
Tekken 6 is the latest home version of one of the most popular arcade fighting franchises of all time. The game contains all of the content from the original arcade machine and its expanded version, Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion. The franchise is famous for being accessible for new-comers, while still providing unprecedented levels of depth for hardcore players.
New to Tekken in this latest version is "Scenario Mode". Unlike previous entries in the series, where Arcade Mode and Ghost Mode have been paramount, this new more story-driven gameplay is where the bulk of the game lies. Scenario Mode is most easily comparable to "Tekken Force Mode". This mode appeared in Tekken 3 and took the traditional controls and applied them to a Streets of Rage style side-scrolling beat-em-up. This time though there is much more emphasis on this mode (it is the first choice option in the main-menu) and its story as well.
You are shown huge amounts of, often very lengthy, Final Fantasy style cut-scenes, but frankly there are very few people interested in the story in this kind of game. Even more annoyingly, the game has to load at the start and end of every cut-scene, making the gameplay very stop-start. It doesn't help that the stages themselves are also very short, so you spend nearly as much time watching loading screens as you do beating up the bad guys!
Unusually, your fists often aren't your most powerful weapon. Like Streets of Rage (which very clearly is this mode's inspiration) you can pick up weapons such as bars, pipes and even a mini gun. Unfortunately none of these are satisfying to use and the game mode in general feels like a gimmick, tagged-on to differentiate Tekken 6 from recent strong competition in the genre, like Street Fighter IV. There is a lot of gameplay to be had in Scenario Mode, but it is not the kind of gameplay that most people will want to indulge in.
Thankfully the traditional portion of the game remains unharmed. You still get a fantastic Arcade Mode – complete with bonus stage against a huge missile-wielding robot – Ghost Mode, VS, Team Mode, Survival and Practice. All of these offer exactly what you would expect and if you are a Tekken fan you won't be left disappointed. You will also find all of Tekken 5's character customization options are still available, along with hundreds of new items of clothing and accessories that are specific to Tekken 6.
The characters themselves have been selected from the entire Tekken back-catalogue, though the list is most easily comparable to the downloadable PS3 version of Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection. Rounding out the 40 characters available are 8 new fighters. There is Alisa, a robotic, very fast female with hidden chainsaw arms. Lars, who has strong electrical attacks, Bob who is a big guy, with incredibly fast karate attacks and Zafina's specialty is ground-based attacks. Miguel and Leo are both quick fighters and Azazel is an unplayable Arcade Mode boss. Last is NANCY-M1847J, a giant robot and a bonus round boss.
Most of the new characters have a very distinct visual style, but they don't balance very well with the rest of the roster. Some of them are dramatically over-powered and some are far too fast. However, this could be helpful to first time Tekken players, enabling them to hold their own from the get-go. While the huge number of fighters is great for long-time Tekken players who want access to all their favorites, it could be incredibly daunting for new-comers as they try to find the character that best suits them from a potentially over-whelming pool of choice.
Online, Tekken 6 only supports very simple 1v1 matches in ranked and unranked variants. Unfortunately, like Street Fighter IV earlier this year, even the slightest fluctuation in connection speed between the players results in crippling lag which makes the game feel like it's running in slow-motion.
When it is not being slowed-down by lag, or you are playing offline, Tekken 6 looks absolutely gorgeous. The technical achievements in model detail, lighting and animation are unprecedented in this genre. One or two of the backgrounds are lacking in detail, but the awesome graphical standard is maintained almost universally across the game and its modes, without a frame rate hitch in sight, just so long as you are not playing online!
Tekken 6 is a truly brilliant fighting game, but unfortunately, because of the over-emphasis on Scenario Mode and the daunting level of choice for new players, it is difficult to recommend it to everyone. If you are a big fan of the series you should definitely pick this up, as just having The King of Iron Fist Tournament in HD for the first time is hugely satisfying.
Gorgeous graphics and a fantastic Arcade Mode.
Over-emphasis on Scenario Mode and too many characters.