Review by willmeadows
"The Iron Fist Tournament 6 arrives at last- but is it a tournament worth attending?"
It's back. After a long wait, especially for Xbox owners, Tekken has finally entered the next gen. But is the age old series newest title worthy of its heritage, or is it merely a poor man's Street Fighter? Read on to find out.
The graphics are largely a mixed bag. While some stages and characters can look gorgeous, others look distinctly ropey and bland. New Tekken 6 poster-boy Lars, for example, looks great, with a good looking default costume design and an overall smooth graphical appearance. Other characters (particularly some of the more unpopular ones, such as Ganryu and Lee) look pretty ugly, with some off-looking textures ruining their appearance. One or two of the stages also suffer from this lack of care, though most of the stages are very pleasing in an aesthetic sense. For the most part, however, the graphics are very nice, and run at a smooth 60 frames per second.
The reason the graphics have received such a low rating is simple: the Streets of Rage-esque Scenario Campaign mode looks terrible. Every stage looks scruffy, the textures are poor, the basic enemies you face all look waxy and half finished- it really does look awful. I would normally not downgrade a game's overall graphics score because of one mode, but since it is the primary single player mode and the main mode to unlock character customisation items in, the score will have to reflect these graphical shortcomings.
Ah, Tekken. Good old Tekken. How little has changed. As soon as I went into practice mode and nailed Bryans 10 hit combo from Tekken 3, I knew that this game was more of the same. And, in this case, the same really is as good as you remember it. Every punch feels solid, every kick hits hard, and every throw is a bone breaker. Combos are nice and easy to string together, ensuring the game is enjoyable to both noobs like me and seasoned veterans of the series. And best of all, every character is simply a joy to use, whether playing as a heavy hitter such as robot Jack-6, or a more graceful, quicker character like Xiaoyu.
Speaking of the characters, a major part of every serious fighting game is balance. Without it, you'd be left with a fun, albeit shallow, button bashing experience. Fortunately, Tekken 6 is, from both my experience and the experience of others, a supremely balanced fighting game. Obviously, there are some characters that are inherently better than others, and some that are worse, but overall every member of the (very large) cast of characters looks, sounds and, most importantly, feels dangerous. (Apart from possibly Roger, the boxing kangaroo)
So, then, Tekken is virtually flawless in action. It's smooth, the characters are well balanced, and overall the game is just plain fun for both masters and newcomers to the series regardless of which character you use. Before you read any further, I'll just say something right now: are you planning to play this game primarily offline? Do you not care for character customisation or single player? If the answer to both of those is 'yes', then Tekken 6 comes highly recommended and is pretty much a 10/10 fighting game rivalling even the great Street Fighter 4. If, however, you are mainly an online gamer, then I have some bad news to break to you.
Online experience: 4/10
Before you say I have exaggerated the score, let me assure you that the online portion of the game is, at the moment, largely broken. Even matches with the best of connections sometimes lag to a large degree, and it sometimes even feels that the game is running at half the speed that it should be running at. Disconnections are common, due to both poor connectivity and rage quitters, and the ranked matchmaking is horrible, with the game just throwing you to any random opponent regardless of connection quality.
The only reason the online portion of the game is ranked as high as it is is simply because the online functionality is excellent- in terms of features, it far outstrips Street Fighter 4's poor 1 on 1 lobby system with 4 player lobbies and similar, though quicker, matchmaking. All of this is largely for nothing, however, as the vast majority of matches online are virtually unplayable. In a world where online play is the most popular area of gaming, Tekken 6 is simply not good enough in this respect.
Scenario Campaign: 6/10
Before finishing this review off, I'll briefly review the Scenario Campaign mode by itself. The easiest way of describing this mode is 'Streets of Rage, but not as fun. Oh, and with no multiplayer either'. Why on earth Namco decided to forsake a cooperative mode, I'll never know, but Scenario Campaign suffers for it. It's a very long, lonely journey for a single player to complete this mode, with around 35 stages of playable but severely flawed gameplay to hack through. Another player would have at least helped to reduce the tedium. Unfortunately, if you are an achievement junkie or a fan of character customisation, then you will *have* to play through this mode.
The actual gameplay of the mode itself isn't too bad, though it becomes very bland very quickly. There really isn't much to explain here- it's just a good old fashioned beat em up, made more fiddly and annoying by the complex moves of each character and the fact that controlling your character is far more difficult than it should be. Sometimes enjoyable, sometimes not, for the most part the Scenario Campaign adds nothing of real value to the game. Also, the story is as convoluted and just plain stupid as ever, and the campaign doesn't fix this issue.
As excellent as the game is at its core, Tekken 6 is a game that is hard to recommend to the average gamer. As mentioned earlier, for anyone intending to play this game offline, I can wholeheartedly tell you to purchase it for the brilliance of its classic gameplay alone. However, since the average gamer nowadays depends on online multiplayer to play with others, I cannot one hundred percent recommend the game, as the Scenario Campaign mode adds little longevity to the game. Though there is word of a patch coming out soon to fix the online play, at the moment Tekken 6 is not a truly worthy purchase if you plan to play online often. So, in conclusion: offline player? Buy it now. Online player? Maybe wait for a patch and a reduction in price.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/05/09
Game Release: Tekken 6 (EU, 10/30/09)
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