Review by Blood Knight

"Like a phoenix, the Tekken series rises from the ashes of mediocrity"

I'm sure a lot of Tekken fans remember Tekken 4...or don't want to. Anyway, it tried a lot of new things:walls, uneven surfaces, position changing etc. It also brought back Tekken Force mode. Overall, it wasn't the Tekken we all know and have grown to love as it met with awkward feelings. Now, Tekken 5 does its best to make us forget Tekken 4 ever happened...because after playing this, you probably will.

STORY(or the gist of it):

Kazuya and Heihachi Mishima are attacked by a swarm of JACK robots. At first, they help each other survive the ordeal until Kazuya throws Heihachi to the attackers. After Heihachi is overpowered, a JACK appears in front of him, and detonates. Raven enters the scene contacting an unknown source... "Heihachi Mishima...is dead.". And then, there's a cool movie about all the other characters that tells just a little about some of their backgrounds, which is pretty much the cue to press start.

GRAPHICS:9/10

Whoever said PS2 games couldn't look this good can now eat their crow. New techniques have been used to construct a graphical engine that displays Tekken 5 in some of the most amazing visuals ever seen on the PS2. From a burning temple to a moonlit garden, Tekken 5 feeds a lot of eye candy. There has also been new graphical effects added, such as ground breaking when a character lands, or glass cracking. This makes the fighting in the game look more painful. Why not a 10 then? Because the gound effects disappear after consecutive effects appear, which doesn't look right. But it's a minor thing.

SOUNDS:7/10

If you've played any other Tekken, you'll notice the sound effects didn't change very much. The background music however, sounds great, and the stages seem to go well with them. The announcer is pretty quiet, and doesn't annoy the heck out of you.

GAMEPLAY:9/10

The controls respond very well in this game. The fighting engine has changed from Tekken 4, and now resembles Tekken 3 in terms of speed, and juggling ability. Many characters have returned from old Tekken games, such as Baek, Bruce and Ganryu, and all of them have had a few upgrades made to their move lists to round them out against the new fighters like Raven, Asuka and Feng Wei. The matches in general, don't last very long(about 20 seconds on average), but I personally like the speed of the matches. It's not that a ton of damage is done with every move, it's because of the game's speed allowing players to dish out a lot of pain in a short time.

You have the standard game modes like time attack and team battle, along with arcade, story battle, the new minigame devil within, customize and arcade history. Arcade mode is an endless free battle with which you can earn money to customize your characters and increase your character's individual rank. Story battle is different however, as it covers the story of your desired character through a series of bouts, leading up to the supposed sponsor of the iron fist tournament, Jinpachi Mishima, and then a movie at the end. Jinpachi is a very powerful opponent, and you may spend more than one match fighting him, but it's in most cases worth it, as you unlock different characters and endings to view later.

Arcade history contains arcade versions of Tekken, Tekken 2, and Tekken 3. these versions do not contain any console exclusive extras, and all hidden characters are unlocked at the start. There's also a test mode(basically an options menu), that you can play around with. This starts the arcade game over, but at least you have the ability to customize your arcade experience a little. People who don't appreciate the classic games won't have much reason to play this mode. The games are still worth playing for those who wanted to know what Tekken was like a decade ago, or for those of us who wanted to relive the good old days playing Tekken at the arcades(without the wasting of money).

The new game called devil within is a bonus game starring Jin, as he unravels the past of the Mishima clan. The game is a 3D action platformer. Jin has many moves at his disposal(but not his original move list), and he can turn into devil Jin, shoot lasers and beat the crap out of people. Unfortunately, the form drains your life, but fortunately it's not that much(if you don't get hit anyway). The game controls very well, and Jin can move freely and beat up enemies with ease. What keeps devil within from being a great bonus, is that the enviroments are very bland(and don't change very often), and considering the amount of time you have to spend in this mode to get devil Jin among other unlockables, this isn't a good thing. Not to mention, the game is kind of challenging from stage 2 on, and there are 5 stages, each with at least 3 sub stages or more. It takes around a half hour to clear the first 2 stages, then the rest may take almost an hour. Fortunately though, you can save, but these areas aren't blatantly obvious, there aren't very many in a stage(I only counted 1 in each stage so far) and it's easy to miss a save point(and once you go to another sub stage, in most cases you can't go back). Oh, and don't use the restart option. Ever. You'll just start over on your last save.

The game boils down to beat up a group of enemies, go to next corridor, beat up more enemies, open a door through beating enough enemies or solving a puzzle, repeat until you get to boss, over and over, although the puzzles and enemies get tougher as you progress. The camera at some points can get a bit obscured, but luckily you can fix it with the right analog stick. Nonetheless, it is a refreshing change from the normal fighting in the main modes and despite what most people say, it isn't THAT bad(much better than Mortal Kombat Deception's Konquest mode, that's for sure). If you go in with low expectations, this minigame might actually be a little fun(I went through many times and I like playing it still). It also earns you a lot of money, depending on your ranking after completing each stage.

The customizing option allows you to outfit your character with different items unique to each character, provided you have the money. This gives you a lot of freedom, as you can not only change your character's outfit color, but also give them accessories like wings, horns, sunglasses, shinguards etc. Extra costumes are also unlocked in this manner.

OVERALL:8/10

With the ability to customize your characters as you see fit, the minigame devil within, and the arcade history mode, Tekken 5 gives a lot of replay value. On top of the already spectacular fighting modes, this is a worthy purchase for any fighting game fan.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/07/05


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