Review by Derkin

"Tekken is back... with a vengeance? No, not really."

After Tekken 4 I was kinda worried that the Tekken series had gone the way of the Dodo. Seriously, Tekken 4 disappointed alot of fans. However, in the fifth installment of Namco's arcade fighter, it looks like they went back to Tekken 3's style, the pinnacle of the series. Alot of the Tekken 3 characters are back with a couple of new faces with new fighting styles. Is the game worth shelling out another $50 bucks? Your call, I'm just gonna try to point you in the right direction.

Graphics: 9/10

With either Soul Calibur or Tekken, Namco always does a great job in the graphics department. There really isn't much to say about it. Animations are smooth, the characters look good and the backgrounds are quite pretty. It is hard to give the graphics a 10 after playing MGS 3, however. That game pushed the envelope for PS2 graphics and only the Tekken 5 cutscenes seem to match it's beauty. The PS2's version doesn't seem to look as good as it's arcade cousin but thats pretty marginal.

As is to be expected, the character movements are smooth as can be. Your fighter is really going from one move to the next as opposed to just coughing out attacks randomly, which really adds to the fluidity. Even some of the slower characters look smooth while fighting. Overall, even after the fifth installment Tekken 5 isn't looking worse with age.

Controls: 9/10

Thankfully dropping that damned wall push that some how slept it's way into Tekken 4, this game's controls feel alot more comfortable then it's older brother. The "Just Frame" concept allows the player to use his/her favorite character to the fullest, while merely spitting out one's favorite moves can still get the job done. With the load of moves for each character at the player's disposal, the uniqueness among each character is rivaled by the different fighting styles a player can use with the same character. Two people can play the same character two completely different ways and still get decent results. The player is truly in-control of his/her chosen fighter. This has always been Tekken's strong point, most fighting games are stale in the sense that each fighter has to be played in a certain way or you'll be having to learn the best moves to use while staring at the sky.

Sound: 5/10

Ouch. I honestly think 5 is a high mark for this category. Once again Namco introduces an abysmal voice acting. Seriously, Steve Fox is supposed to be English yet he sounds like one of the guys that does the dubbing for old Chinese Martial Arts films. Oddly enough, his English accent is lacking as much as his VA's talent. How come after yelling "FWEEZE!" in Tekken 4 Lei Wulong suddenly has triumphed over his laughable accent? The new voice for Lei really doesn't fit, not even a little. Most characters' VA sounds as if the actors simply are reading straight from the script. It sounds like a highschool reading of The Great Gatsby; slow, emotionless in the "we don't really care" type attitude. The only upside to this is that Jin/Hworang have remembered their native tongues, they don't sound forced like they did last installment. They actually... sound real. Marshall Law uses his Bruce Lee impression to a annoyingly high level. At the beginning of each fight, he gets into his stance, and randomly yells "WAH!" for absolutely no reason. Is Namco truly that in love with this sound-bite? It has already been over-used since Tekken 3. The soundtrack is enough to make your ears bleed, mute it for sanity's sake.

Gameplay: 9/10 or 5/10

This game, as is always the case with Tekken, is a multiplayer game at heart. Sure, you can keep yourself occupied by honing your skills with your favorite fighter while flying solo but these games always quickly become stale after a while unless you have some friends to beat up on. If you're thinking of buying this game but doubt you'll be playing much multi-player, this game is a definite rental. It just can't stand on its own without some friends. There is really a reason that this game is introduced in the arcade before it hits the home version. The mini-games still don't compare to Tekken 3's, even then they were lackluster (however, a welcome addition to break the fighting monotony). Namco always has big promises for it's "adventure mini-game", but they always fall short. This year's "Devil Within" is simply repetitive. You'll find yourself playing it twice to unlock secret fighter/items then forgetting about its existence completely.

Story Mode: 3/10

... ugh. Yes, 3/10. I hate it that much. Namco tries desperately to give Tekken a story, one that the players will care about and appreciate. They fail, again. The story needs to be dropped. Why will Christy enter the King of Iron Fist Tournament 6? Free ho-ish outfit to the victor? We already know Jin's bloodline is far more dysfunctional then any trailer-trash that fell off wagon onto Jerry Springer. Seriously, drop the story. It does nothing but make people roll their eyes each time we're forced to sit through it. If I want story, I'll play an RPG or an action-adventure game. I want fighting a fighting game, next time I want a crappy story I'll go rent Gigli. What is with the final boss? He has got to be the most cheesy opponent in a fighting game for as long as I can remember. He has more unblockable attacks then any character which ends up leaving you with the feeling of "I wonder how high I can make my controller bounce off of the ground?".

Overall: 7/10

If this game is purely being played as multiplayer, my score would be higher. However, for some people it just isn't possible to sit around with some friends and play this game. The graphics are great but unless they're so bad that they deter your ability to play, they shouldn't really impact the score. Sound is basic, however the voice-acting is atrocious. Gameplay, as always with Tekken games, is very solid. It is the reason this is one of the top fighting series. The new characters are pretty cool, some people will find new favorites while others will stick to the ones they know best. The final boss is annoying, in more ways then one... yet above all the crap, this is still one of the most solid fighting games you can find.

Rent or Buy?

Do you hang out with your friends alot? Looking to practice to own the kids at the arcade down the street? Buy it.
If your Saturday nights are going to be spent alone playing a video game, this one is best reserved for a rental or two... it won't hold your interest long enough to justify a purchase. Rent it.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/03/05


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