7 September 2010 | rjcmanahan
A slight mess...yet a mess that still excels, nonetheless
I have enjoyed the Tekken series since the third game. There's probably not a single Tekken game that I've credited while remaining unbiased. Tekken 6 is no exception.
Here's MY review...
Tekken 6 sees the return of ever lovable veterans, from the self-conflicted Jin Kazama to the ruthless yet miraculously honorable Nina Williams and her flirtatious sister Anna to the hot-blooded and bumbling Paul Phoenix, and the introduction of fresh and likable faces, Lars Alexandersson and Alisa Bosconovitch. With a roster spanning approximately 40 characters, this game surpasses Tekken Tag for the largest roster in the series. Each one has a distinct personality and separate reason for participating.
Music for Tekken retains the "Big Beat" style starting from Tekken 3 while adding its blend of a range of rustic, orchestral, techno, trance, eurobeat or comic influences in the mix. No matter where you fight, or what mood the melody may set, you'll always be throwing out punches and kicks to a great beat. Some BGM may not be accepted by certain people (Hidden Retreat for example), but that's simply a matter of taste and fascination.
Combat for Tekken 6 is classic Tekken combat; four buttons, with each one associated to a separate limb of the human body. But this game introduces the new (both interesting and unnecessary) "Bound" and "Rage" Systems. Tekken has always been known for a combatant trying to gain the upper hand and keeping his/her opponent airborne with a series of attacks. The Bound System forces a knocked down opponent to recoil violently on the ground, making the lower body lift upwards, thus presenting opportunities to further continue the assault. When at a 1/8 threshold of health, the character will glow red as if enraged, hence the Rage System, and increase in strength. As a last resort, this system can be very powerful, and has often led to many miraculous comebacks. That being said, the Bound and Rage Systems can and will often lead to repetitiveness and imbalance, respectively. With combos being the best way to victory, players will often develop the notion of trying to perform them as often as possible. Paired with the Rage system, this means unfair amounts of health lost per combo. In terms of learning curve, Tekken 6 remains true to the 'easy to learn, hard to master' mentality commonplace to fighting games.
Being the very first Namco game to utilize the Octave Game Engine, Tekken has improved with its character model designs and visual presentation. While there are others that surpass this game in said department, the backgrounds, character designs and elaborate menu are still a treat to stare at.
Many modes are available on the fly for the player. These include the New Scenario Campaign beat 'em up and the classics: Arcade, Versus, Time Attack, Team Battle, Survival, Ghost Battle, Practice, Customize (under the Profile option) and Gallery. All modes will give you a feel for the mechanics of Tekken, plus the opportunity to witness CGI cut scenes after clearing certain conditions and gain an insight on each combatant's life outside the arena. Not to mention give your favorite fighters a dazzling look (from sunglasses to wristbands to swords to name a few, some of which are even usable) when they DO enter the arena.
The story continues on from Tekken 5. Emerging victorious at the last tournament, Jin Kazama sits on the Mishima Zaibatsu throne and declares an all-out war against the entire world! Many of the combatants have a personal agenda with Jin, and drives them to clench their fists. The story remains decent and gripping, with its recurring theme being family matters and conflict taken to extremes. Some areas will be convoluted and confusing, but are all presented very well thanks to informative cut scenes and above average dialog.
Speaking of the story...
The only real disappointment I have is in the Scenario Campaign. Following Lars and Alisa, this mode replaces Arcade Mode as the main storyteller. Stage designs for the most part are bland and uninspired, as are the enemies encountered on your adventure. Regular enemies and bosses tend to be infuriatingly difficult. Camera controls can feel clumsy; you might not be able to find scattered items or an enemy approaching you. What's more, the combat controls overlap. Until you actually encounter an enemy, only then will the regular combat controls apply. Otherwise, it's a just-as-badly executed exploration experience.
Online mode is another issue. Often a typical online fun fight turns into a hellish slide show presentation; games can and most definitely will lag back and forth, making combos, let alone single commands, difficult to do. Thus they shouldn't be treated the same way as a typical 1-on-1 battle.
While the loading may be an issue, this is easily bypassed simply by installing the game into the console.
Overall...Tekken 6 shines. Several factors hold it back from being one of the best 3D fighting game experiences ever. As usual, it's best to rent a copy before making a purchase.