Tekken 6 PS3 Review

The Tekken series is now 15 years old and in that timeframe the character roster has become near bloated and new modes have been introduced. Tekken 4, however, is the only instance where there has really been any changes that have had a great bearing on the core fighting mechanics. Fans didn’t take too well to it though, so as a result Tekken 5 played it safely and returned to the series’ roots. It was known as a return to form for the series and perhaps a sign to Namco that fans didn’t want their beloved fighting mechanics messed around with too much.

Tekken 6 unsurprisingly is far from an overhaul. It’s still the 4 button (one for each appendage) combo focussed fighter it always has been. There‘s still an emphasis on memorising long combinations of buttons to really leave your opponents bumped and bruised. Fights are still rather stiffly animated and all the famous faces are present. The new additions to the mechanics largely don’t have a profound effect on the fighting, which will appease a lot of fans, particularly those who were left disappointed with Tekken 4’s more unfamiliar approach.

A new addition is the rage system, which activates when your health drops to dangerous levels and makes your attacks stronger, which allows for easier comebacks. Thankfully, since it triggers when you’re just a hit or two from defeat, it’s rarely to the extent that it feels cheap and in regards to the receiver, not often to the level that it feels infuriating beyond belief, either.

Another new mechanic is the bound system, which further places the emphasis on juggles, this obviously is something that isn’t going to please series critics. Each character has a handful of attacks, which, if used during a juggle, will smash their opponents into the ground, once again sending them into the air and further leaving them open to deadly juggles.

This time around there are 42 characters, all immediately accessible, without having to first unlock them. Existing characters have been tweaked, but the likes of Yoshimisu go beyond that, being reworked to such an extent that he can almost be classed as a new character. There are 6 new faces, including Miguel the hard hitting Spaniard, Alisa a cyborg female, the rotund but speedy Bob, Zafina a member of a secret organization, Leo a German martial artist seeking revenge for the death of his mother and finally Lars a character with connections to the Mishima’s. They all further complement the already impressive roster, and you would have to be really picky to not be able to find one that suits you.

The generosity with the character selection, extends into other areas of content. There’s an arcade mode (complete with the obligatory teeth grindingly frustrating final boss) a team battle mode, a time attack mode, a survival mode: all pretty self explanatory for anyone with a knowledge of fighting games. The ghost battle mode deserves a bit more explanation. This is a fight against an endless stream of opponents, the behaviour of which is based on some of Tekken’s most proficient of players. So with all that in mind, there‘s certainly plenty of ways to keep even solo players occupied.

Slightly less ordinary for the genre, but not so for Tekken, is the scenario campaign. It’s yet another scrolling fighting game like effort, which is reasonably sized but sadly not very good, though the accompanying story can be entertaining on occasion and is certainly much more substantial than most fighting game efforts.

One acceptable reason to head to this mode is the arena mode, which essentially functions like the arcade mode of old: a series of fights, culminating with a unique bite sized ending for the chosen character, many of which are well worth watching, either for some spectacular action or comedic elements, or perhaps a combination of both.

Character appearances can be customised both in and outside the scenario campaign with items dropped by defeated enemies and purchased with won money, but in the case of the campaign this is more than merely just cosmetic and actually has an effect on the stats of the character, which is one of the better elements of what is otherwise a painfully dull and plainly cobbled together mode.

The online was seemingly a bit of an afterthought, too. Much of the key components are there, but sadly not what really matters: great netcode. In my experience it was rarely of the slideshow variety, but there’s a noticeable delay with many button inputs, of which is the biggest crime that can be committed from a game that demands split second timing. Hopefully the incoming patch will turn this weakness in the package into a strength.

A lesser issue, but nonetheless a frustrating one, are the game’s loading times. Just simply selecting your character will be met with a longer wait than is necessary, and that’s before the battle even begins to load. There’s the option to install the game for both versions, but this merely alleviates the problem rather than eradicating it altogether.

Tekken 6 may be the same old Tekken, but in this case that’s in no way a bad thing and in combination with the tweaks, new mechanics and generous level of content it’s the best, most refined iteration of the series yet, resulting in a game that’s easily up there with the cream of the crop of the increasingly reawakening fighting genre.