Review by striker64

"Phenomenal."

As strange as this may sound, I never was a huge Tekken fan in the past. I always had my roots in Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, then branched off to other genres and pretty much missed the Tekken series with the exception of Tekken Tag Tournament. A few months back I played Tekken 5 in the arcades with a buddy of mine and absolutely fell in love, and picked it up on the launch. I am completely blown away by what Namco has done. You're getting more than just Tekken.

Let me begin with the sheer gameplay. From the start, you get a Story Mode, which you can play through with any character and learn stories about the character's history and why there are fighting in this King of the Iron Fist tournament, and so on. Your opponents progressively get harder as you go on, in classic fighting game fashion, until you meet the final boss, who is incredibly cheap. He's my one gripe about the game so far - he has a stun-fireball-stun combo that instantly zaps 50% of your health. In addition to Story Mode, of course we have the classic Arcade Mode. Moving down the list, we add VS Mode, Team Battle, and Survival, all cornerstones of fighting games. Then, the game gets truly unique. Included in Tekken 5 is your own character configuration, where you can buy new clothing, accessories, and other things to customize every character in the game and create new costumes (to a limit, of course). You can even put new weapons on and remove clothing, for some characters. Earn money for this by playing through Arcade Mode.

It gets even better from there. Next down is an Adventure Mode (called Devil Within) where you take Jin through a 3-D Tekken fighting adventure to learn more about his past. It is setup very much like Final Fight, but it does get tedious after a while with more or less fighting the same guys over and over. Finally, in what I believe really makes this game shine, outside of everything else, Namco decided to add an Arcade History mode, offering the player the opportunity to play the arcade versions of Tekken, Tekken 2, and Tekken 3, with all characters unlocked. Truly amazing for a bit of nostalgia.

The game features many characters, from old favorites as Hwoarang, Steve, Lei Wulong, and King, and new favorites mixed in as well. Every character has his/her own unique own fighting styles with well over 50 moves per character (with some characters reaching over 150 moves) for you to master. Every character requires a different span of attention to master, as no two characters are the same.

Graphically, the game offers some of the most lush and beautiful backgrounds that I have ever seen for a console game. Every intricate detail is included, including something so simple as a fighter's clothing whipping through the wind. Background levels add visual beauty to every fight without taking away from anything. When a fighter lands hard on the ground, the ground cracks and breaks and the fighter stays down a little longer. Very nice.

Overall, Tekken 5 is well worth your time. Whether you're a long time fan of the decade-spanning series or a relative newcomer like myself, you'll love every aspect of the game, from the fighting styles to the little things that Namco was cool enough to put in there. If you like fighting games, you'll love Tekken 5. Pick it up.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/28/05


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