Review by Allyourbase
"More Tekken than you can handle"
There are some games, which come once in a blue moon, that simply feel right from the moment a player pops the CD into the console. After a disappointing outing with Tekken 4, Namco recaptures the glory that has propelled the series into the highest echelon of fighting game awesomeness.
The port of the arcade game comes on the 10th anniversary of the series and Namco does right in packing this game with all sorts of goodies, good and bad. Those still bitter with the letdown from Tekken 4 finally have a reason to play again.
Players get all the bone-crunching action of the arcade and a small trip down memory lane all wrapped up in a nice, neat back.
Tekken 5 makes full use of the PS2's graphic capabilities. It's a flawless transition from the arcade to console. Each of the characters is rendered in meticulous detail. Some of the background, such as the Moonlit Wilderness, are downright beautiful.
There are more than 30 fighters in Tekken 5, from old favorites from previous games such as Bruce Irvin, Paul Phoenix and Nina Williams, to new faces Asuka Kazama, Feng Wei and Raven. Returning charactes have also been retooled. Each character has their own individual strengths and weaknesses, so there's a character for everyone's tastes.
All of the game modes from the previous games -- Vs., Team Battle Survival, Time Attack, Arcade, etc. -- are back and there is also a bonus minigame called "The Devil Within," an action game featuring Jin Kazama. Think of it as sort of like Tekken Force.
The IC customization system from the arcade is also included, so players can create interesting looks for their characters as they see fit. To earn money, players fight in arcade mode and they can also advance in ranks to fight more difficult opponents.
To cap it all off, Namco has included the arcade versions of each of the previous incarnations except Tekken Tag and Tekken 4. Players can take a break from the action to relive old memories and also see how far the series has come since its debut in 1995.
With all that said, it almost seems wrong to nit-pick the game, but it wouldn't be fair for other players to overlook Tekken 5's weaknesses. The character balance issues that hounded the arcade game are still there. Namco could have at least waited to released a patch version. So while it feels Namco was releasing the game early, some might feel it was rushed. While player skill still goes a long way in winning, some characters have it much easier.
The retro Tekken games are fine, but the "Devil Within" game stinks. It's mindlessly boring as you romp around various uninteresting stages and beating the snot out of robots. The game suffers from camera issues as well because it feels counterintuitive manipulating the camera. Sure, beating the game unlocks Devil Jin, but playing 200+ matches in Arcade mode is much easier and worthwhile.
As a final gripe, there aren't any new console-exclusive IC customizations. It's all the same. Some items are ridiculous pricey and in order to get them, it's necessary to play for hours on end, something that gets boring real fast without any live competition.
Thankfully, none of these really detract from the Tekken 5 experience. Hardcore gamers and newbies alike should consider adding the game to their collection. It's worth it. Nothing destroys large amounts of time like having a couple of friend over, some brews and a good amount of Tekken.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/07/05, Updated 11/14/08
Game Release: Tekken 5 (US, 02/24/05)
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