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December 16, 2009
Tekken 6 - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
5/11/2009Namco BandaiNamco BandaiNamco Bandai1-22
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Character models in Tekken 6 are stunning.
It's almost comical these days to look at the old promotional posters or gameplay footage of the very first Tekken, and to think that it was ground-breaking when it first came out; not only in terms of visuals, but also gameplay mechanics also. And who would've thought too, that the very first King of Iron Fist Tournament, with only 8 characters could have spawned off 5 sequels, and a storyline that could rival the most twisted of daytime soap operas. Enter Tekken 6; Namco Bandai's latest offering for the series, which boasts dozens of playable characters, and the long-awaited online play.

The storyline which has spanned the entirety of the Tekken series is long and tangled, and in true Tekken form it continues in Tekken 6. In a nutshell, a wide range of fighters are gathered together chance to win the King of Iron Fist Tournament 6; each with their own unique agendas. Thankfully for those who came in late, there's an extremely tasteful art-book style storytelling component of the scenario campaign, lasting almost a half-hour. This fills in the backlog of the story since the very first King of Iron Fist tournament, with details that even experienced Tekken fans may have forgotten; it's a very welcome addition for both newbies and veterans to the series alike.

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Marshall Law looks fit in Tekken 6.
In the event that you've been hiding under a rock for the last 15 years and haven't yet witnessed Tekken, it's a 3D flighting game, in a similar vein to Sega's Virtua Fighter series. The controls have been kept constant throughout the earlier titles of the series and Tekken 6 is no different. Rather than have separate buttons for light, medium and heavy attacks, the four face buttons are mapped to your character's limbs; it's a simple distinguishing feature of Tekken, and makes combos and moves slightly more intuitive. Also rather than dwelling on finger-numbing quarter-circle combos that tie your fingers in knots, Tekken tends to focus moreso on timing of combos, with juggling and 'bouncing' of hit opponents being the key to mastery here.

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Anna and Lili battle it out in Tekken 6!
The Tekken franchise has always prided itself on how there's little common overlap across its wide range of unique characters, a feat which was certainly easy with a measly 8 characters in the first title alone. How times have changed though; enter Tekken 6 where there you have a choice from 41 fighters; indeed at first this is a tad overwhelming, but old favourites way back from the very first Tekken on the Playstation over 15 years ago are a welcome return for original fans. Of all the characters, 6 of them are new to the PS3 version, so even complete masters of the game will have some new challengers to learn.

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Why is there sheep in Tekken 6?
Aside from the customary arcade fighting mode which is standard fare, Tekken 6 also has a rather substantial Scenario Campaign mode, which at first glance seems similar to the Tekken Force and Devil Within brawlers that we've seen accompanying the previous two Tekken titles. The gameplay is similar to Double Dragon (or perhaps Dynasty Warriors if you've got less grey hairs than I do), where you follow the storyline of Lars and Alisa, two new characters, all while beating up waves of enemies. Personally I found the gameplay here a bit iffy on a fully-3D plane, as compared to the 2.5D plane of the arcade mode, but it's definitely worth playing this mode for the pickups that you gain in order to customise and improve characters in Tekken 6, as well as to view the complete character movies and the aforementioned Tekken history. In addition to this, Survival, Time Attack, Practice and 2-player Versus/Team Battle modes are also available, and all behave similarly to what we've seen in earlier Tekken titles.

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This is the Campaign Mode in Tekken 6.
While the single player and local multiplayer in Tekken 6 are as solid as they've ever been, it's a shame that the netcode behind the online multiplayer of Tekken 6 is weak enough that lag is apparent regardless of your connection. Particularly given the online direction that multiplayer gaming is taking, it's not really acceptable that a game which requires such lightning-quick reflexes has constant, and I mean *constant* lag. Honestly, you have to pre-empt absolutely all of your moves and button presses, so much so that you'll only really want to play this mode for the trophies, and then forget it ever happened.

They say pictures tell a thousand words, and the screenshots of Tekken 6 make particular use of 'sexy', 'sleek' and 'jaw-dropping', and conveniently look even better when the game is in motion. Both character models and backgrounds alike are heavily detailed, both in textures and models, and are backed with flashy lighting effects and a new motion-blur feature which adds some visual uniqueness to the game. It's particularly welcoming to see those characters who have stepped fresh out of a time machine having never seen the light of day since the original Playstation (and Namco's System 11) hardware such as Ganryu. Then to polish off the visuals, the menu system is sleek and there's plenty of production-quality FMV in the form of the game's introduction and ending movies for each of the characters.

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Females in Tekken 6 look quite special.
In hindsight however, the high level of detail has harmed the game concurrently; loading after the character select screen can take a tad longer than expected, and in-game the few low-res textures that have slipped through really do stand out.

To go with the top notch visuals, the sound in Tekken 6 equally doesn't disappoint. Not only are the sound effects beefy and bone-crunching with different effects depending on how hard you hit your opponent, but also depend upon what type of surface they're landing on (and from how high). The usual techno-rock soundtrack is back too, with varying tunes that suit each of the stages nicely.

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The range of moves in Tekken 6 is impressive.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm a Tekken fanboy, and have been since the first schoolyard 3D-fighter arguments arose, pitting Tekken, Virtua Fighter and Toshinden all against each other. So, as you might have expected through this review, I've been incredibly pleased with the service Tekken 6 has done both to fans of the series as well as newbies.

Not only is the game easy to pick up and fun to play for newciners, but no disservice is done to veteran fans of the whole series either, remaining true to its roots. Unfortunately I think the latter is what lets Tekken 6 down; remaining more of the same without branching or innovating that little bit more except for the online play which really doesn't work. Online play and load time issues aside, Tekken 6 is a very worthy title in the franchise, and if you have what it takes to enter the King of Iron Fist tournament, you won't be disappointed.

Review By: Chris Gobbett

GRAPHICSClassy visuals all around, with only afew oddly textured models.
SOUNDIt wouldn't be Tekken without techno-rock + bone-crunching effects.
GAMEPLAYArcade and Local Multiplayer are top notch, unlike Online play...
VALUEOver 40 characters, multiple game modes and unlockable movies.
OVERALLAdmittedly Tekken 6 isn't perfect, but if you've ever had the smallest soft-spot for Tekken (or any fighter for that matter), you'll be right at home with the latest King of Iron Fist Tournament; pick it up, you won't be disappointed.

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