Review by fei_603

"A good game but nothing new."

And so the next chapter of the Tekken series begins.

What do I think of when the Tekken series has been mentioned in any conversation? Being a Street Fighter fan from the beginning, many things come to mind, but what baffles me is how my views have changed over time. Just last year, my views of the Tekken series have completely changed into something else.

The difference between how I think now and what I use to think like. When I first started playing the Tekken series, it was way back when it was first released in the arcade. I only had luke-warm feelings for it. This changed a little when a friend of mine imported it from Japan and showed it to me for the first time on the Playstation, keep in mind that the next closest fighting game (graphics wise)I had for the SNES was one of my Street Fighter games or Mortal combat. There was no competition. Anyways to make a long story short, that’s why I got a Playstation and the rest of the Tekken Series up until Tekken Tag Tournament. All of the Tekken series had never been that much fun but always seemed a step up from the last.

During the summer, I met some people who really played this game. They told me it wasn't just a button mashing game (which I believed that it was at the time). I played versus them and got my butt handed to me, not one or twice, but EVERY time I played. So I thought winning wasn't something that anyone could do any more. I went to web pages and move lists, even ask them for help. A month later of practice and learning, I wasn't a newbie at this anymore. Not only that, I found infinitely more depth in the game then what I thought originally, ''Hey, this is fun!'' I thought!

Ok, more talk about the game, that brief run on my history of Tekken still counts as a pretty important part of the review because although this is the fourth Tekken (by title fifth including Tag), it is just Tekken with more moves, better graphics, and some other features. If I had never gotten into the series, this would still apply because you probably thought the same about the game. If you were in the same boat as I was originally this game might not be as ''fun.''

There are many stereo-types to this game, some say it’s a button mashing, some say pure skill. Some say that this game is easy to learn, that’s only partially true in my opinion. To truly enjoy this game, you must really learn it. Find someone who plays it well or read everything you can so you know what is good and what not to do.

This game is pretty fun regardless of skill. The truth is you'd really get more out of this game if you really take the time to practice and play it for more than just a button mashing game.

Ok, now that the pretext of the game has been laid, hardcore game facts. This game when played by experts involves a lot of poking (a quick move that is meant to stop any delayed move/string from being activated). Sidestepping, almost like a dance of moves, much eloquent. Ever since this was first introduced in Tekken 3, the side step has been an integral of a good player’s game. Tekken 4 seems to encourage this more by having an 8-way walk type of side step.

Balance wise, this game could use some help. That comment is true purely because Jin is the best character. Don't try telling me otherwise; don't bother flaming me about it. If you check out any major tournaments of Tekken, you'd see that Jin players out number most others, and that Jin wins most tournaments. In this respect, Tekken suffers some hurt.

There is a small amount of problems with hit detection too. Sometimes it seems that you would swear on your mothers grave that a move would connect, but would magically “wiff” through the other characters body causing no damage. It doesn’t happen often, but then again, it shouldn’t ever happen.

The controls in this series has always been splendid, some may debate it’s a bit slow or sluggish, but that is because these same people are ignorant to the frame rates in which a character is performing a move (during which, nothing else can be done). I feel that moves come out when I want them and as I perform them.

This games speed isn’t as fast as others (DoA2 or SC2 anyone?). This is a mixed blessing of many sorts. The good side is that you can actually see and REACT to what other players do, a plus for skill factor and minus for those who just press buttons fast. This hurts those who are more accustomed to games that are very fast pace like Dead or Alive or Soul Caliber.

What’s new in this edition? For those of you who are familiar with the series, Tekken has been known for arenas without boundaries; new to the series are the added walls. This makes position more important than ever, thus the new move called ''position change'' (a throw that just moves the opponent to another spot around you) is very important, side-stepping has gained tremendous value too. Besides Jin who decided to forget his Mishma fighting style, have all of their old moves and only got more new ones.

Talking about moves, a new breed of moves called “Just Frames” has been introduced. These moves require precise button presses at the FRAME it happens. The result is a very strong and usually unpunishable move. Mastering their execution would strengthen anyone’s game, but don’t expect to be pulling them off in tight situations with ease for many many days to come.

New characters (sort of) include Christie (who is a VERY sexy version of Eddy), Marduk, Steve a boxer type, and Violet (a very style deprived version of Lee). There are still a few more characters that need to be unlocked, but in general, not that many new faces.

Older fans of the series may remember Tekken Force mode. Ever wonder what its like to fight wave after wave of thugs with Tekken style flair? Here’s your chance, Force mode is very fun, and the sad thing is you get nothing when you finally finish it. Come on Namco, throw us a bone here!

All of the standards in today’s fighting games have been added, time attack, vs. mode etc. Nothing really missing, so the complaint would be that nothing has been added. Where is the fun bowling game or volleyball found in the previous versions of this?

When talking about graphics, the only thing to comment is that it’s completely beautiful, stunning, breath-taking. Get the picture? Nothing really to say besides the fact that it’s the standard knock up in graphics that we’ve come to expect in this series.

Sound and music are only ok. The sound is all there, when you hit something, you hear a sound. Not much to say, not that great. The voice acting is embarrassing and really hurts this game, yes I think it’s that bad (poor Julia, why couldn’t you be the silent type). The music is well, less annoying then from Tekken Tag, but not that great. Besides from the SC series, Namco really struggles in the music department it seems.

Keeping in mind that this is a fighting game, it’s more fun with people. If you feel like playing it alone, it loses much value in the replay department. You’ll beat the game enough time to unlock all the characters and see the beautifully rendered “on the run” endings, then play Force mode a few times, and you’d put it away for good. If you had friends who play this, you’ll more than likely play it day in and day out to practice moves, combos, and JF’s in practice mode. Other times you’d be applying your refined skills against your friends for bragging rights. This adds infinitely more replay value to the game. Whether this is a rental or a purchase would have to be based on just that.

If you were a fan, you'd have this game already, why would you be reading this review? As for everyone else, this is a good fighter, it can be very fun. But more than anything else, this game is almost an acquired taste. You'll have to like fighting games, and it would be better if you like competition. Once you learn it well, you’d wonder why you played anything else.

Controls: 9.0
A game that requires skill needs good controls, no disappointment here. Everything works as it should.

Graphics: 9.9
Absolutely breath taking.

Sound: 4.0
Very plain, kinda repetitive, almost annoying.

Entertainment: 8.0
Rehashed game, some new features, I'm sure that this game is not for everyone. But that doesn't make this any less fun for me.

Replay Value: 7.0
A fighting game’s replay value has always lied in human competition, that’s also it’s biggest problem. Not everyone will play this and finding people to play may be hard sometimes.

Point Blank: 7.0

Last Words:
This game is fun, but when you really look beyond the graphics, there isn’t all that much new to the game. If you’ve never played Tekken, give it a shot. If you’ve played Tekken and liked the series, get this too, otherwise don’t worry because you’re not missing all that much.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 10/05/02, Updated 10/05/02

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